Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Time Slips Away

When the dear and patient wife and I were expecting AJ, an acquaintance, a new father himself, explained the kind of feelings he was experiencing. Having a child, he said, was "like finding a new color in the rainbow."

Well, I get enough inquiries about my sexuality to embrace such philosophy, but there's truth there. The truth is that you can never prepare yourself for what you are going to feel when that child arrives. It is a foreign concept until you experience it.

AJ arrived four years ago today.

This shriveled little thing comes screaming into a too brightly-lit world, covered in some kind of gelantinous packaging and instantly becomes the center of your entire existence.

At that moment, your life is over. You lose options, like hurrying down to the Quik-E-Mart before 2 a.m. to get another bottle of Jager.

At that moment, your life has just begun. Your every decision is now filtered through The Boy. Your every hope and dream has a new central character and it is no longer you.

You can't prepare, can only react. You laugh at how much you sound like your own parents and, for the first time, fully appreciate the lengths they went to raise you. It takes some getting used to, this wholesale responsibility for a helpless other. There are trials, smells, fear and unparalleled wonder. For hours, you simply sit and stare, prod them for recognition, goad them into a smile.

They grow fast these kids. Faster than you can document their daily changes. Always something new, something no child before could have accomplished or will ever duplicate. AJ walks early, before he's even a year old, and falls with equal aplomb. He's married to his pacifier, will never give it up. Until one day, he just does.

He's more like a person now. The way he screws his face up when you act silly. The way he measures his answers to difficult questions, beginning with a "Well," pausing to order his thoughts. He's much smarter than I, my mother never ceases to remind. He is more patient in his tasks, working them out, suprising his mother and I with his inginuity. We shake our heads and marvel, "How did he know that?"

He's funny and he knows it, at least knows what can get a laugh out of the adults. He never stops talking, narrarating his life, demanding you know even the tiniest details of his day. I never tire of listening.

He's gone through cycles, just like everyone. Times when he's horrible, or inconsolable and yes, purposefully insolent. But he's good. Deep within himself, he's good.

Our days are numbered, his mother and I. It won't be long before his social circle will include people far more important than us. When we will be afterthoughts, embarassments even. For now though, he remains loving. "Daddy, will you play with me?" "Mommy? Hug?" Forever and ever.

Once we moved him out of his crib, we tried very hard to keep him from joining us every night in our bed. Now, with age 4 looming, he continues to crawl between us regularly. It's been a while since we've sent him away. Been a while since we've complained about his kicking and snoring. Whatever his motivation, his fears or concerns, he wants to be with Mommy and Daddy. And we let him, for as long as he wants.

Happy Birthday, Goose. Slow down with the whole growin' up thing though, will ya?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Lincoln Log house to build.


At 9:57 PM, Blogger April said...

Happy Birthday AJ!

At 10:14 PM, Blogger Irritable Male Syndrome said...

Stop this whole "making me think children aren't the debil" thing. I don't neeeeed to knoowwww.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger BryGy said...

First of all Happy Birthday AJ!

Secondly, I have never conveyed so succinctly my own thoughts of being a father as you did. We have 3 now (Tyler 6, Mackenzie 4, and Kaitlyn 2) and 1 on the way. I can't wait to start those feelings over again.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger TenMile said...

And Happy Birthday to you and your wife, also.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger BadBlood said...

Happy Birthday wishes from the Bloodclan! If you lived closer, miniBlood would invite AJ over for some GameCube and poker.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

In the middle of admiring how well you captured my own feelings on fatherhood, I couldn't help but think....but he's raising him an A's fan.

But I'm just twisted I guess.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Happy Birthday, AJ!

Thanks for reminding me why I became a father. My daughter Shannon turns one in September.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Poker Nerd said...

Happy birthday, AJ!

They're worth all the trouble, aren't they?

At 7:20 AM, Blogger The Bracelet said...


I just wanted you to know that I've taken some time out of my day, which is extremely busy because I'm the 860th greatest poker player in the world (as of 6/3/05 ranking me even higher than your old man!) to wish you a Happy Birthday!

You probably don't know much about how big a deal it is to get a birthday wish from a celebrity yet, but that's ok cause you're still young. I am dedicating my next $5 Omaha8 SNG to you. I plan on crushing the field in the name of AJ! Pretty neat, huh.

Some words of advice before I head off to the local bookstore to sign printed off copies of my Truckin articles. (I'm an esteemed author!!!)

You have only 5 seconds to pick up food from the floor before germs have a chance to latch on.

No matter what your daddy tells you, it wasn't his high school coach that held him back from the pros, it was lack of skill.

Always carry a fitty or a hundy on the outside of your bill fold. Stuff it with lots of ones underneath though to give the appearance you are rich. Girls are dumb and will fall for this every time.

Well, that's all I have for you AJ, I hope your birthday is Sturiffic. That's the combination of Stupendous and Terrific. It doesn't get much better than that!

Bobby Bracelet
860th Greatest Poker player in the World!
(as of 6/3/05)

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How very cool. Totally identifying with you as I read your post, thinking about my son who turns! Happy birthday AJ (and Joe).


At 8:50 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Happy Birthday AJ!

Little Drizz turns 2 on Sunday and I'm amazed everyday how he talks and talks but we understand about one in 50 words.

Kinda like his dad.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger obp1000 said...

wow...4 years old? Think I completely missed years 2 and 3.

I remember year 1, AJ was all you could talk about.
"Hey, how about those A's?"
"Oh yeah, but did I tell you what AJ did?" ;)

Anyway, Happy Birthday AJ.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post makes me want to go home, down a sixer and knock up the wife.

Happy Birthday, AJ!

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

L'il Otis turns one on Aug 14. Finally, I know what you and everybody else has been talking about.

Happy Birthday, AJ.


At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! You really are gay.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday AJ!!

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought this was a poker blog. nw

At 11:49 AM, Blogger JasonSpaceman said...

Awwwwwww...he looks so cool in the A's hat! Happy b'day, AJ.

(And happy dadhood, Joe.)

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Bazkar said...

Happy Birthday AJ! Our oldest boy turns 4 tomorrow......your write-up was perfect! We've since added 2 (a 2 1/2 year old and 5 month old) so we are continually in all the stages you talk's great!

Enjoy the day!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Julio said...

lame, what does this have to do with poker?



poke her

you poked her and got her pregnant and had a kid and his birthday is today.


no wait... not "cool"

but not lame... it's not quite the opposite of lame...

i got it,

it's less lame. ISoP

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Pauly said...

I'm waiting for AJ's first guest post... ;)

Happy birthday Kiddo.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Greg said...

For those that didn't think anything could get gayer than the rainbow comment, I dare say we all SERIOUSLY underestimated Jules. hfg

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Julio said...

well the jerk store called.

good catch on the simpson's reference. you're awesome. hfg


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