Ryan.

You were born on August 29, 1995 and even now, fourteen years later, it was the greatest day of my life.  Every other day all put together cannot measure up to that day.

It started as a typical day:  The sun came up.  After that, things got crazy.

I awoke with Sandy shaking me, laughing hysterically.  “My water broke,” she was yelling.  I immediately started laughing as well.  We were going to have a baby.  That day.

My boss was traveling, so I called my first boss at the company and left him a voice mail.  “Sandy’s water just broke,” I said.  “Looks like today is going to be the day.  I have no idea what comes next, or how long everything will take, but I’ll touch base when I can.”

Then, we drove to the hospital.  I believe I drove kind of quickly.

When we arrived, we went into our “birthing room” and eventually a doctor came in to check Sandy out.  She was having contractions, but they were pretty far apart, and things were going to take time.

I don’t remember much of what came after that, other than it took a long time.  Part of me sort of remembers actually going home with Sandy to wait, although I don’t know for sure if that happened or not.  I could ask Sandy – she’d remember – but I kind of wanted to write this entry without any outside help.

We had made the incredibly asinine decision to try and have a completely natural childbirth, and as such we missed the time frame during which Sandy could have had an epidural to help ease the pain of the contractions.  Eventually, when it came time for Sandy to push, the doctors realized that you were coming out face up instead of face down, which was causing all sorts of problems.  Sandy was in a lot of pain.

Eventually, after hours and hours of labor, Sandy was delirious and sweating, in agony and completely out of energy, so the doctor decided that she needed to have some sort of medication to put her to sleep inbetween contractions.  Since she was hooked up to a machine that measured the strength of her contractions, I could see what was going to happen – she’d be sound asleep and then I’d see the numbers start to rise.  When the machine got to a certain number, the pain would jolt Sandy awake.  For a few seconds she’d be completely bewildered, not knowing where she was or what was causing the pain.  Then she’d realize, steady herself, and push through the contraction.  As soon as the contraction was over, she’d fall back to sleep, only to repeat the process again a minute or two later.

Watching it broke my heart every two minutes, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better.  

But eventually you decided to join us, and when you came out, it was as if somebody flipped a switch in my brain.

I was not the most enthusiastic expectant father in the world.  I was in love with my record label, I was driven by my dayjob, and enjoyed our lifestyle.  Having a baby was an uncertainty.  I wasn’t sure what would change, or how it would change – all I knew was that it was going to change.  And I sort of resented the idea.

But when I looked at your face and held you for the first time, I got it.  You were this tiny little person, and I was responsible for you.  And I was going to give you everything.  I wanted to give you everything right then and there.

There’s just no way to describe the amount of love that was pouring out of me that day, and hasn’t stopped pouring out of me every day since.  

That night we watched the Yankees beat the tar out of the California Angels, winning the game 14-4.  The win kicked off a five-game winning streak and a race to the wild card that saw the Yankees end the season on a 20-6 run that would secure their playoff spot.  I watched that game at Sandy’s bedside, holding your tiny hand, beaming.

After the game I went home and poured myself a glass of wine and lit a cigar in my driveway, sitting there, gazing at nothing, absorbing everything.

We named you Ryan, after Nolan Ryan, the pitcher who proved that even if you’re not the youngest or most physically gifted, if you work hard, you can accomplish anything.  Sandy insisted that your middle name be Albert, after me.  

I get more proud of you every day.  You are my hero.

~ by Al on September 5, 2009.

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