I remember Lisa texting me a year ago that she thought it was happening. We were already a week overdue, and I had fed Lisa all the burritos I could to get Rory to come out. I think we were beginning to wonder if he’d ever come out, but my Apple watch gave me an alert to a text message, and I told my Science Fiction class that I had to go—I was about to become a father.

I raced home as fast as I (safely) could and found my wife moaning on the bed with our concerned dogs laying around her. She was in pain but I wasn’t sure what to do. I called my hospital, and Ms. Ratchet said we needed to wait longer because the contractions were too far apart. I said OK, called my NP sister who told me to go, and off we went.

The hospital is about a 12 minute drive but to Lisa, who was swearing at me with every bump, said it felt closer to 30. We arrived, got to the baby unit, and I told them, very panicky, that my wife was having a baby. The reception nurse thought I said I needed a refill instead of my wife was having a baby and casually took her time to admit us. They finally took us back, gave Lisa drugs that didn’t work, then finally gave her the epidural she needed to stop staring daggers into me.

From there, it happened so incredibly quickly I can’t tell if it was two hours or two minutes. All of the sudden the doctor was telling Lisa to push and then BOOM! we had a son. We didn’t cry—we were mostly in shock. But Rory was now in our lives. We had a baby!

Today, that little nugget turned one. I know every parent says they can’t believe it but I can’t! We had a special COVID birthday for him by taking him to the zoo. We thought he’d be excited about feeding the giraffes…he wasn’t. We also had to wake him up from two naps for the zoo and his party, so he was a little grumpy.

Today being his birthday, I made some time for reflection. Rory makes our lives significantly more challenging compared to when we were childless. We have to sacrifice so many of our own interests and desires for him. Our lives changed so drastically 12 months ago but man, I wouldn’t change a thing. When Rory sees me in the morning, his smile fills my heart with utter joy—joy I had never felt before him. His laughter and goofiness and giggles are what I live for.

Today was the first of many birthdays for Rory. Hopefully our next one will involve some cousins to play with, more cake smashing, and less face masks. But it was a great day because he is my son. Just a great, great day.

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