Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday, Joseph

I should have started this post earlier, but I didn't.

It's Joseph's fourth birthday today. He came five weeks early. I had been working for a local outsourcing call center for two months, and I was in the process of trying to get them to approve my "paternity" leave. On the 3rd of January, Kristy thought she was in labor and we went to the hospital. They told us that she wasn't, and sent us home. The next morning, we went back and they decided that maybe she was after all. A few hours later, we had an extremely skinny, but otherwise healthy and full-sized baby boy.

(2007-01-04) Baby Joe's First Day 022

Being Joseph's father has been more challenging than I expected. It's forced me to become better than I was, and we're both getting better every day.

A year ago, I felt like Joseph's personality and his level of interaction was very limited. Now, he's talking a bit, we're starting to understand more about his motivations and we're learning how we can help him overcome his challenges. I think if I he was someone else's child and I hadn't seen him for this whole year, he'd be barely recognizable to me.

To Joseph:

My son, you amaze me. Every day, I am proud of your persistence and perseverance. A year ago, you were a blank slate to me, with apparently no more personality than a newborn. Getting to know you and watching you develop as a person since then has been wonderful. Every day I see more evidence that you're totally aware of what's going on around you, and that you understand far more than we had thought you did. I'm both anxious and excited to see what kind of man you become and I can't wait to have a conversation with you and find out what is going on in that lumpy head of yours.

Though sometimes you decide you won't eat your dinner, and sometimes you become frustrated and lash out at us physically, I know that you're an infinitely sweet and caring child who is enthusiastic about discovering everything the whole world has to offer. This is why you smear a whole brand-new tube of toothpaste all over the bathroom sink, or sift through the cat's litter box at your grandmother's. I know that all of this is at least as difficult for you as it is for us, but somehow we will manage together, as a family.

For as long as I can remember, I've had trouble relating to people. I know that is probably going to be a challenge for you as well, probably much more so (though already you seem more popular with your classmates than I can recall being myself). I hope that we can make this mutual challenge into something that will bind us together.


  1. Happy birthday, Joseph! You sure were a beautiful newborn!

    (Nice, Joe. Think I will go write a note to our firstborn - who left today to return to college. *sniff*)


  2. Happy Birthday little guy ...