At roughly this time five years ago, I was on the phone to Jeff saying that I didn't think I wanted to have a baby anymore. Of course, the reason for this was because Heidi was in her 26th hour of labor, had hallucinated exploding teddy bears when given Stadol to help with the labor pains (didn't help the pain at all, according to her) and everyone was completely and utterly exhausted, waiting for a child that just didn't seem to want to make her entrance into the world.
But eventually, she made it. It took 43 hours of labor, and about 3 hours of active pushing, but Heidi narrowly dodged a C-section and our daughter was born 5 years ago tomorrow. And how fast the time has flown. But first, a couple shots from that day. Because some day, Anna will berate me for showing these pictures to anyone, let alone posting them on the blog.
That's Anna, moments after her birth 5 years ago. Direct from the planet Remulak. Look at the cone on that kid! This was supposed to be the picture where we showed me cutting her umbilical cord, but it quickly became and will always be known as "Anna's conehead picture." After they got her cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, they quickly put her in a little pink hat until the conehead subsided.
That's Anna, still doped out on drugs from the delivery. It was the only time she ever slept in the isolette. The rest of the time, she demanded to be held by the nurses. It was a foretaste of what was to come.
Being Anna's parents has been something that is equal parts wonderful and equal parts "what the heck did I sign on for?" I barely remember her as an infant - partially because the change in my life did an number on my depression management at the time, and because, well, she was an infant for such a short period of time. From the get go, Anna seemed irritated by being a baby. There was so much she wanted to do, so much she wanted to see, and this sitting in a bouncy seat or swing just was something she was not going to tolerate. She did, however, want to be held. A lot. Like constantly. There was a brief period of time when the only person that she allowed to hold her was Heidi, and that about drove the missus over the edge. We held Anna all the time. She would wake up in the middle of the night and after she was done eating, she'd fuss in the bed until one of us got up and carried her. And it was never good enough to rock her. You had to WALK AROUND WITH HER. At 3AM. When you had to be to work in the morning.
In the meantime, she's grown up a lot, experienced a lot in her so far short life. We've seen her Hollywood aspirations dashed by a rather unfortunate (and completely accidental) encounter with Blair (our black cat.) Witness exhibit A:
And to show that kids really do bounce back, here's what she looked like a week after that.
She's taught me a lot. She's taught me the true meaning of the word "sacrifice." When you have a kid, you really do end up putting their needs in front of yours a good majority of the time. It is, however, the reason I really think that kids need TWO parents, be it a mom and dad, two dads or two moms. It's impossible to deny your own needs forever, and when you end up having to be selfish and put yourself first again, the other parent can take over.
She's taught me to not take life so seriously, because sometimes, it really is just as simple as "Daddy, do you wanna play with me?"
And I've taught her to love Madge and Cher (her first song that she ever sang was "I Found Someone" - singing the "maybe, baby, maybe, baby" part) and Kylie. I've introduced her to a lot of the books I loved growing up. And with every passing day, she gets a little more interesting. No two days are really the same. Before I knew it, "free" morphed into "three" as she got her "th" sound down. Truth be told, I really miss "free." And I'll never be able to look into a mirror without thinking about how, in Anna's world, I was seeing my "erflection."
She's a great kid. I really won the lottery when it came to kids. Some days are more trying than others, but no one ever said parenting would be a party all the time. You mostly just do the best you can - knowing it's all you can do.
I love you Anna. You melt my heart every time you say to me "you're my favorite dad." Happy birthday!
And in an interesting side bar - Happy Birthday to Confessions on a Dance Floor! It turns one tomorrow as well. That's right folks, Madge completely overshadowed my daughter's fourth birthday last year. But no worries, she's making up for that and then some with her birthday party THIS year.