10 years ago today Heidi went into labor. It was our first labor, but we had some idea what to expect. We had gone to the birthing class, where we were surrounded by other first-time parents who were also trying to prepare themselves for the inevitable — birth. I’m not sure what the rest of those parents who were there would say today, but I remember thinking that there was so much to process and to filter that I had no idea where to begin.
I still have no idea.
I do remember this day 10 years ago though. I got the call while I was teaching. The kids were ready too. I prepared them for it all year up to that point, letting them know that when the time came I would be gone. That day I was grading their presentations when the phone rang and they all were locked onto every single syllable I said. Of course they had a pool going on when the kid would come, and I could see one of the girls in the back grinning from ear to ear. I think she had the 27th.
Anyway, from there it was a hop, skip, and a jump back here to pick up my wife, who was already counting the time between contractions. She was always so efficient. See, that class wasn’t a waste of time after all. We took our time getting up to Cooperstown because the road conditions aren’t usually great this time of year, and it was no different that year. Besides, we knew we had plenty of time before the kid would really make its appearance into the world. Everyone knows that your first usually takes the longest time. At least we hoped so, at least on the drive there.
It would take all night, until 6:28 the next morning, before our little bundle of Joy (Alexa Joy, that is) finally emerged alertly into the bright lights of this harsh world. She made me believe in love at first sight. I still can’t believe that was 10 years ago. It seems like just yesterday at times, and at others I can’t even remember what the world was like before she was in it. 10 years ago I got the job that will be with me for the rest of my life, a job that comes with the ultimate responsibility and the emotional toll that can’t help but join in along the way.
Thinking back on that night, when we were on our way to Cooperstown, the final night we would be just husband and wife, before we would be labeled parents forever, I was just hoping that Heidi wouldn’t feel too much pain. I was trying to transfer my sense of peace and calmness to her, because it had been a tumultuous pregnancy where pretty much everything that could happen did. And yet we had been oh so lucky that we had even gotten to that point. It was an arduous journey just to make it down that road. But the light at the end of the tunnel was so brilliant.
And she still is. 10 years later.
Happy birthday, my little angel.