My youngest turned 7 this year. 

I didn’t fully understand the idea behind birthdays until I had children of my own. 

Prior to that, when I became a certain age, the event didn’t strike me as a necessary thing to have happen. We give someone a gift because they managed to survive another year on this mortal coil? Could there be any other societal event that is more eye-roll inducing? Tolkien was right, it should be the other way around. The Birthday Boy/Girl should give the attendees of said party gifts. 

Other things we shouldn’t do is set a precedent for having a party for a child every. fucking. birthday. 

My wife and I learned that early on. Not only was it a pain in the ass wrangling people (typically family members, and once the kids became school aged, classmates) but it also proved to be fucking expensive. Doubly so once we had more than one baby. 

While it can be a daunting thing planning a party for someone you created (let alone having to sit through it and suffer any temper tantrums that may come…) that is lacking in the social skills that you yourself have, it should be kept in mind that a birthday party, from the parenting point of view, isn’t solely about the child being celebrated: it’s about celebrating their growth. 

My youngest turned 7 at the end of June. While I try to not delve too hard into the “favorite child” stigma of being a parent, our last child truly is one of a kind. 

Happy, fiercely independent (almost to a fault), loving and loves her family (regardless of the shit she may be talking about her brother and sister at the time) and unbelievably intelligent (It’s fair to assume I’m being biased: you can go fuck a goat. She taught herself to read by the time she was 4 and currently reads at a 5th grade level. Additionally, she’s been teaching herself multiplication recently. How’s that for bias?)…. All of that wrapped up in a pretty package. 

When I look at her, I don’t see the little worm that I’d get up before the ass crack of dawn to feed only to have the both of us pass the fuck out on the couch. I see the young lady that she is and am astounded at the young woman she could turn out to be. 

  

On my son’s birthday.

My son turned 9 years old Saturday.

Not a monumental occasion. At least not for most of you. Kids turn 9 everyday of the week.

For me, his birthday has served as a reminder, like all of the other birthdays before it that fatherhood is quite a mind-blowing adventure.

Truth be told I had never thought that I would be a father, let alone be any good as one. I don’t have any specific data to back that claim up, it’s just the way that I always felt about the subject.

I remember when The Wife was told me she was pregnantI always thought it was strange what your mind let’s you remember about a specific event that happened in your life. I can still remember what the weather was like on that day. I remember exactly where I was at when I found out. And I remember knocking back a bag of Doritos when I came home from work like some absent-minded stoner.

I remember the day he was born. The weather was shit. I remember how every muscle in my body froze when the Mid-Wife told me that I would be helping with the delivery, acting as one half of a human stirrups (I held one of the wife’s legs up while a nurse held up the other). All through out the pregnancy, I made a point of politely mentioning that I didn’t want to be anywhere near Wife’s nether regions during the actual delivery. I saw a vagina do things that day that a lifetime of watching porno will never prepare you for.

For me the highlight of the whole event was watching the Mid-Wife extract my son from my Wife. One minute, I’m watching Wife’s face turn all shades of red. I turn my head and I see my son, mid-air (in the capable hands of the Mid-Wife) pissing and shitting at the same time. The look on his face almost said ‘Heeeeeeyyyy! What the FUCK?!!?’

I remember the day that I gave him his first train. As anyone who knows him at all, trains were his bread and butter.

Yes, it’s a train whistle. That’s how hardcore he was about them. He fell asleep with it in his mouth.

We were living in Tremont at the time. It was a Saturday and we were all going somewhere. Where exactly, I can’t remember. Before we all got in the car, I grabbed the mail and took it with me. One of the things that I got that day was a package from Toys R’ Us. For some reason they sent me a complimentary Thomas the Tank Engine. It was just a small wooden train. I still remember rolling my eyes at the wife when she brought up that his older sister might have liked it.

I remember the time that he made me go ass-over-tea-kettle whilst trying to ride a two-wheeler bike. Despite The Wife’s protestations that I was ‘doing it wrong’, I had finally gotten him to the point where I could give him a running start and he could kind of do it on his own. This particular time, he jerked the handlebars and we both went down. He managed to land on his feet (like a good bike rider). I was a rolling ball of arms and legs. I came up laughing because I thought it was awesome. He, however, was not laughing. He was rather bummed that he had hurt me (even though I was fine and I had told him so).

I remember the numerous times that his penchant for being naked got him huge laughs.One time I was doing the dishes. The wife had just finished giving him a bath and he was horsing around with his oldest sister. The next thing that I know, Finn comes barreling into the kitchen, butt-naked and upends the old duffle bag I used to hold all of our plastic shopping bags. Before I can turn the water off and say ‘What the Hell?’Finn’s flopping into the gigantic pile of blue bags, ass first, trying to get a good tail of them stuck in his butt cheeks. He succeeds and proceeds to run all through the apartment. Hands down one of the funniest things I have seen in my life. 

Those are just some of the things that I remember. While there are many more of him and the rest of my family that make fatherhood just as grand of an adventure, these are the ones that come to mind when I think of who my son is and who he might turn out to be. 

Happy Birthday, Juicebox.