Ten years ago was a top five day in my life.
It was a beautiful late afternoon on a warm day in winter. My very pregnant wife and I were sitting outside under a tulip magnolia that had bloomed that day. We’d just moved into our house the summer before, and had never experienced our yard in spring. At the time, we didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl. Looking back, the tulip magnolia’s bright pink blossoms were probably a sign. Around four, Tina’s eyes became saucers as she grabbed her belly with both hands – it was time. I went up into the attic. We still can’t figure out why I went up into the attic exactly, but I frantically banged around up there for a few minutes before rushing down, grabbing my wife and her overnight bag and heading to the hospital. On the way there I didn’t drive fast or recklessly, but I laid on the horn and had the hazards going the whole time. I was actually hoping that a cop would pull me over so that we could get a high-speed escort. But they didn’t.
I wheeled into the hospital’s drop off area, leapt out and shouted to some orderlies, “You there! My wife is having a baby!” They ran over and helped her into a wheelchair. She was huffing. I was beaming. I parked the car then ran through the hospital shouting ‘Where’s the maternity ward?’ to anyone within earshot. I knew damn well where the maternity ward was, since we took lamas at the hospital, but I wanted everyone to know I WAS ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY WHO WAS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
Darkness fell. Hours passed. And then a few minutes after 10, I watched my best friend push our first daughter out of her body and pull her up onto to her chest where she took her first breath in life. I was like, whoa. And then I cut the cord.
We watched Letterman that night while eating cheeseburgers from the hospital commissary.
Happy first decade, Agatha Rose. Happy first birth day, Tina.