Why?

I left off on my last entry with the question of why – why did your mother and I choose to have you?  We could live comfortable and enjoyable lives without you.  Let’s be honest, it would be easier, we’ll need less money, we could do whatever we’d like to do (aside from having kids).  We chose to expand our family to include you in it and take on the responsibilities of raising a human being.

I’m not really sure there’s a very deep and philosophical reason for this.  The truth is, quite frankly, we want kids and we want a family.  I don’t know that I can pinpoint one reason in particular or even name them all if I seriously tried.  I will try to list a few though – let’s see how it goes.

  1. My life would feel incomplete without my family.  I know that sounds crazy but it’s true.  Maybe it’s the impact of the society I’ve grown up in or simply a natural instinct but I can’t imagine living a life without kids around.  Raising you, teaching you to be a good person, hopefully imparting in you the ability to make good, proper choices is important to me.  The experience of life is truly precious and you should always remember that it is an honor to partake in it.  Similarly, it is an honor for me to be granted the chance to give this opportunity to you.  I look forward to watching you grow.
  2. You’ll make me a better person.  You’re going to see me at my best and at my worst.  Someday you’ll see me as a flawed character and not the larger-than-life individual you once thought me to be.  Even so, by that point you’ll have made me a better person.  I think you will put certain aspects of my life into perspective and help me to let things go.  I think focusing on you will help me to understand what is important and what is ephemeral.
  3. I like kids.  Kids are cute, innocent, and pure-hearted.  They say/do things that are hysterical – even when they piss people off.  I’m looking forward to watching you do the same.
  4. I don’t think there is a purer form of love that exists than a parent’s love for his/her child.  I don’t know you yet but I already love you.  Honestly, it sounds crazy but it’s true.  It’s a great feeling – a surreal feeling.  And I’m so happy to have it in my life.

I could go on but, as I read back, I realize that I’m forcing myself to identify reasons.  The only reason I know is that I want to have you as my child.  You’re going to make the world a better place – you’re going to make MY world a better place.  I’m going to try my hardest to do the same for you as well.  And I’m just excited to have that opportunity with you.  I know this because, in trying to define the reasons I want you to exist, I find myself basking in the joy that you will someday exist.

  

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Your Bad@$$ Momma

I was just about to get into bed this evening when I took a moment to look over at your mother.  She was (and is) passed out in bed next to me and, quite honestly, she looks beautiful.

These days, with Faloo in her belly, sleep is a pretty valuable commodity for her.  She’s 22 weeks into the pregnancy and her belly is stretching and growing to accommodate for Faloo’s growth; this causes pain in her side and around the belly.  Because of the added weight (she’s obviously heavier than she’s ever been to this point in her life) and maybe some other causes, her feet swell up and her back hurts.  To put it mildly, she’s in constant discomfort these days.  In fact, when sleeping she can no longer lie on her stomach (as she prefers) but instead must lay on her side.  Unfortunately, this is still difficult for her due to the growing baby bump.  To ease some of this discomfort she now has something called a Snoogle to sleep with (hopefully that link still works 16 yrs from now; if not see photo below).  Her head goes on the top of the “C”, her belly rests on the side of the “C” (or in the gap and she uses a folded t-shirt to support it), and her legs straddle the bottom of the “C” – really it’s quite unusual until you realize that it’s somewhat effective.

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On top of those pains, Faloo is quite the active little one.  Clearly he takes after both his parents – neither of us would sit still as kids, we were constantly active.  All his moving around – pushing with his arms, kicking with his legs, and probably somersaulting his entire body – cause a lot of discomfort to her.

I don’t give her enough credit but it’s really amazing what she is putting herself through for you.  It’s hard, being uncomfortable for so many months, and yet it’s really one of the most selfless acts a person can do.  Sure, we want to have you all but few desires require a person to so readily put herself through such discomfort like a mother-to-be.  I get tired taking on extra chores but she goes to work, runs some errands, does some household chores, and grows a human being inside of her on any given day…it just doesn’t even compare.

I don’t really know when you all, our kids, will read this blog and truly appreciate what’s been written.  Perhaps, if you mature faster than I did, you’ll taken them to heart by the time you go to college.  If you’re like me, it might not be until you’re nearing (or in) your 30s that you truly begin to recognize the less obvious things your parents have done for you.  I feel this way about my parents; it’s amazing what they’ve done so selflessly for my brother and me (same goes for your mother’s parents with her and her sister).  When it comes to your mother, though, you should understand this:

From the beginning, your mother has made incredible sacrifices for you.  The level of discomfort, sacrifice and daily fatigue has been insane.  I am honestly in awe of her and what she’s doing and she has no idea how strong she is to have put herself through this.  Honestly, it makes me love her and appreciate her even more than I already do.  But what’s crazy to me is that this is only the beginning.  By the time you read this blog, another 10+ years will probably have passed…and that’s just for Faloo; it’ll have been even longer for our younger children.  Take a moment now and really think about this and allow yourself to truly appreciate her for what she has done during this time.  The next time you get upset with her or think she wants anything less than what’s best for you, think about the kind of pain and discomfort she put herself through just to bring you into existence and then raise you.  Then reconsider your opinions.  As I write this, I, myself, have come to realize that I need to appreciate her more for what she’s going through.  I plan to do this beginning right now; I hope you do too.

In the meantime, I can’t help but feel a question push its way to the front of my mind.  Why?  Why the pain, why the discomfort?  Ultimately, why kids – why do we want all of you?  It’s a good question and one that I think I’ll ponder over in my next entry.  As for you, go tell your mother you love her 🙂

The Old Man and the Banana Hammock

There’s an old man at this resort with rubber skin – he clearly spends far too much time in the sun and it has taken its toll on his skin.  Every morning he’s out early to secure his favorite spot, a lounge chair by the pool that faces the resort restaurant.  By the time we get to breakfast, he is sprawled out on his chair trying to catch as much sun as he possibly can.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except that he is clad in only a banana hammock.

I would call it a speedo but that would be far too modest a description for this decorative loin cloth.  He wears a different one every day – in 5 days I have not seen it repeated once.  I wish I could tell you that I hadn’t noticed but, unfortunately, his chair faces our breakfast table. Each time I look up after a bite, he’s there etching an unwanted sight into my memory.

There is already a lot on this blog that is formulated based on opinion or the perspective I’ve gained after 34 years of life.  The advice I’m about to give you, however, is a fact; please trust me on this.

DO NOT wear a speedo or anything like it – ever.  Unless you are a competitive swimmer and they have banned swim shorts, pants, and bodysuits, you should not wear these garments.  If I ever wear one in public (or even in private for that matter), you have my approval to admit me into a mental institution.

Thank you.

Storm Clouds in Barbados

Before I begin, I just want to note that, for conveniences I may stop referring to everyone as they relate to you. This is for no reason other than it is easier to write names or relations to me than it is to my kids. Anyway, on to this entry.

Between last night and this morning we heard some very sad news about the father of one of my closest friends (we’ll abbreviate the names of the couple to whom I’m about to refer to V and A). I’ll skip the details here but, tragically, A lost her father.

The past 18 months have been very difficult for us and for our friends. Your grandfather has been going through treatment for cancer, as has another friend’s father. Three of my close friends (including A) have lost their fathers as well. Also, your great-grandmother, my mom’s mom, passed away.

For all I have been through thus far in life (which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things), death is one area in which I am thankful that I don’t have much wisdom in. That said, these 18 months have forced me to think about the mortality of us all – from my parents, to me, and even to you. To be honest, this played a big part in why I started writing this blog. God forbid, should something happen to me, I hope these messages live on for you to read and reread, as lasting communications from me to you – all of my children.

I wish I had advice to give you, a way to never feel loss in your lives but, unfortunately, this is something that I don’t have the answer to. Perhaps dealing with death is part of the experience of living – I don’t know – but I do know that this is easy for me to say without facing this experience myself. I also know that the loss of a close loved one will be extremely difficult, will hurt tremendously, and may change me in ways I cannot imagine. This is why it pains me to think about A and what she and her family are going through.

Back in 2006, I learned of a back injury that I supposedly had since birth. This back injury has led to the misalignment of my back, occasional pain, and a lot of self-consciousness about its impact on me. At the time I learned of the injury, I thought a lot about my love of dance, my love of basketball, and how much longer I would be able to partake in these passions before they were taken from me. It was difficult and, I didn’t realize it then, but it took its toll on me. V & A clearly saw this. One evening, during the week, the doorbell rang and I found them at the door. They said they were in the neighborhood and thought they’d stop by to say hello. Still, I know the truth is that they came to check upon me and to cheer me up, even if for a moment.

I have never forgotten this moment of kindness on their parts and I’m reminded of it today, at a time when A feels something far worse than I did back in 2006. If A read this, she would jokingly argue that I remember everything, which is really why I remember this, but the truth is that their gesture meant the world to me. I feel sorry that I am in Barbados when I could be helping and I want to be there for her as she and V were for me.

It’s difficult to know how to really be there for someone at a time like this. Some people want space, while others want to talk about it – I don’t really think there’s a right answer. I do feel though that saying something is better than saying nothing, because I think I’d appreciate even the smallest thought from my friends in that situation. Beyond that, I think it is important for us to be patient and wait for our time to contribute. We can’t let our desire to contribute become a burden on those whom we want to help. While I haven’t spoken to A, I’ve been in touch with V. I’m glad she has the support of V, her family, and her closer friends to rely upon as needed. V is great in times like these and will know exactly how to be there for her, of this I have no doubt. When we finally see A, I hope I do right by her – whether it be acting like an idiot to make her laugh (clearly my specialty is acting like an idiot), listening, or just going about as we normally would.

I am truly sorry that this has happened and I honestly wish I could make it better for them. A, please know that you and your family have constantly been in our thoughts and that we are here for you whenever you need us.

The Babymoon

Faloo, take a nice look at the photo above.  Take it all in, the perspective from which I took this shot, the surroundings, everything.  Now tell me, what comes to mind?  If you say my hairy legs, you’re grounded for life.  This is the southern coast of Barbados, the location your mom and I chose for a babymoon.  In other words, this is perhaps the only time you’ll ever be the source of peace, relaxation, and pleasure for the rest of our lives.  I kid I kid, there’s a chance that one day, when you’re 50 and I’m 85, you’ll send me off on an all-expenses paid vacation to some island so that I get out of your hair for a few days.  I’ll take it.

Seriously though this IS our babymoon.  What’s a babymoon?  It’s basically an excuse for people expecting a baby to take a trip and spend money and blame it on an unborn human being because he or she cannot fight back.  Don’t feel bad though, I promise you that we’ll do the same thing if/when your siblings are on their way.

So far the trip has been awesome.  We are staying at the Oceans Two resort and the staff has been incredibly nice.  I would actually recommend this place to anyone looking to travel to the islands for a getaway.  I can already see us coming back here sometime in the future.

Anyway, as I sit here, let me take a moment to tell you how excited we are that you’ll be joining us soon.  We spent a weekend in Atlanta with friends, all of whom have kids, right before coming to Barbados.  While their mornings and days were certainly hectic at times, there were moments when their time with their kids were extremely precious.   Little things like a tired child looking to rest in his or her parents arms or the pure laughter of a happy baby are things that make them smile.  They make me smile too – not just because it’s an adorable moment, but because I know one day I’ll be smiling at the same things when my kids do them.

You’re probably rolling your eyes right now in embarrassment of my sappiness. But let’s put that aside for a moment and be totally honest.  If nothing else, you (meaning all my kids) are my most substantial contribution to this world.   And I’ll have spent much of my lifetime concerned about your wellbeing and your development.  No person can ever truly be successful at something if his heart isn’t into it.  And my heart is into your development – just like it is my job, my marriage, and my relationships.   I’ll always feel a sense of pride in your successes and a sense of introspection in your failures.

So, if you see me smiling at you, know that it’s not because I’m your creepy old dad.  If I seem upset or frustrated with you after you make a stupid mistake, it’s not because I like you less – it’s because I’m invested in you and your life.  I would be equally upset or frustrated with myself if I had done the same thing; it doesn’t mean you need to fear us when you have a problem.  In the meantime, I look forward to watching you grow – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I’m excited to relax with you in my arms when you’re a baby, teach you to take your first basketball shot or solve your first math problem, and advise you on what we feel are life’s greatest paradoxes (and tell you what paradoxes means when you read this).

Let me end this by saying that these are the thoughts of someone who doesn’t yet have a child.  While I believe them to be true, it’ll be interesting to see how much of this changes after you come along and test my every belief.   I have no doubt that I’ll someday have a blog entry titled, “My Child is a Monster.” For now though, you’ve given me this:



(No I don’t mean the old man in red)

Faloo it is…

So your mother was right (that’s probably a line I’ll be using for many years to come)…you’re a boy (Please call me immediately if this revelation is a surprise to you)!  I think I mentioned earlier that I thought you’d be a girl and she thought you’d be a boy.  If I didn’t, well there it is. 

The appointment was this past Tuesday at the hospital.  Honestly, these ultrasound moments are so great – pure joy on our faces as we get to look at you.  You might not appreciate this until you’re in our shoes but it really is amazing to see the very existence of your child appear right before your eyes!

Anyway, you’re at about 11 ounces now.  In fact you’re big enough that they no longer measure you from head to rump but instead use a number of measurements to come up with a weight.  We actually saw some arms, hands, and legs pretty clearly this time as the tech focused in on different parts of you.  They even tried to do a 3D ultrasound for us but we couldn’t get a good view of your face.  Being the son of a punk like me, I bet you thought you were being funny.  We’ll have to work on your sense of humor 😉

Before the ultrasound started we asked that the tech not tell us what sex you are.  Your mom had a pretty good idea actually – have them place the answer in an envelope and, later that night, we would open it while on a Google Hangout* with the rest of our family (your grandparents and aunts/uncles).  

Anyway that night we held the Hangout – your Kaka and I thought you’d be a girl; your mom, her dad, and my mom thought you’d be a boy.  Just FYI, my dad and your mom’s mom did not guess – they just said they wanted a healthy baby (I think that’s a cop out – obviously we all want you to be healthy!).  Anyway, the whole thing was a bit of a crazy affair.  Your grandparents (mom’s side) somehow shut the sound off on their computer so they couldn’t hear us. We ended up keeping them on the phone also but, by doing that, our voices caused an echo every time we spoke.  To any other children of mine reading this,  I can promise you that next time we’ll do something a bit simpler.

Of course we have more ultrasound pics but I won’t be posting these here.

Alright people, I’m going to wrap this up.  We have been sitting on a flight for the past hour after a crazy day of weather and delays trying to get to Atlanta.  Unfortunately your mom isn’t even sitting next to me (I guess that means she and Faloo are not next to me). Flight should be taking off soon – I just hope it goes smoothly/safely.  My next post will likely be related to (or from) Barbados!

*I have no idea when you’ll read this so let me explain what a Hangout is.  In our day, people could video chat in a group on an app called Hangouts.  No these are not holograms and the quality isn’t HD (or 4K or whatever you get) but it’s pretty reasonable.  Admittedly we had some trouble getting your grandparents to use it properly…it was kind of funny actually.