This is Liam. You have seen his face before. You may have even heard his story. But you haven’t heard me tell it. And, if nothing else, I am a storyteller.
[Well, not literally. As my wife has found out on numerous occasions, I am absolutely horrible at improvising and telling stories. I like to have the time to hone them, to perfect them and make sure every detail is just right. Hence, writing has become my preferred method of story delivery. I am already writing several stories for us to read to Liam when he gets older — stories that I might one day share with the rest of the world as well. When he’s old enough to ask his Papa to tell him a story, I will have no shortage of stories to tell him. And when the rest of the world reads them, he will know that he heard them first.]
[Speaking of, I can’t wait to introduce Liam to Rodger Davies, swashbuckler extraordinaire. But I digress.]
Liam is a special little boy. He touches the life of everyone he experiences, and I am certain that his smile could end wars. I see a little of myself in him. I see a little of my wife in him. But, mostly, I just see him. He is his own little man — a blessing and a gift to this world.
Liam came into that world a little earlier than expected. Two and a half months early, to be precise. [Of course, we could get into the fact that, from a different point of view, he came into the world a few years earlier than expected, but we’ll leave that for another time. He’s here, and I wouldn’t change a thing about that.] It’s plain to see that the world had plans for him, and it simply couldn’t go another day without his presence in it. And, as we have learned over and over again, the world doesn’t seem to care about our plans.
After he was born, he had a hard road ahead of him. He spent a little over two months in the neonatal intensive care unit. There, he was kept alive by tubes and lulled to sleep by beeping monitors and reassuring words. His nurses, whom we jokingly referred to as his “ladies,” took excellent care of him and grew to love him during the time he was there. I would like to think that he was always their favorite. For a time, he was the only baby in the NICU. I believe that was where he got his first taste of undivided attention, a taste he continues to crave to this day.
Once he came home, we realized that we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. Here we were, entrusted with caring for this beautiful little (and I do mean little) boy, and we panicked. We were not ready to be parents, but that didn’t matter. Ready or not, parenthood had found us. Thankfully, we were both madly in love with him.
It hasn’t always been an easy time. But nothing worth writing about is ever easy.
Even when everything else seems to be falling apart, I can find peace in his face and love in his embrace. Nothing else matters when I am holding him.
He has changed my life completely. He has given me a purpose; he has given me the drive I need to pursue my dreams — if only to provide a better life for him. He has forced me to shift my focus and see the world differently than I saw it before. Now I look out the window and see the world as a father. I no longer see the world that I inhabit; I see a place that my son will one day inherit from me.
I only have a few short years to help him become the man he is supposed to be. After that, it will be time for me to let go. And on that day, I will tell him one thing. I will say to him, “Okay, son … now it’s your turn. Go out there and change the world.”
And I will mean it.