Happy 1st Birthday Will!

Today my little boy turns 1. And unfortunately, I won’t even see him to celebrate.

This isn’t quite how I pictured his first birthday, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I’ve talked about our good friends Alicia, Vic and Baby Vic (my godson) and how special they are to us. They live in North Carolina where Vic is stationed. Unfortunately, Vic’s mom isn’t doing so well and her aggressive form of Cancer has left her with precious little time. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to lose a parent, and I know that Alicia and Vic are having a really hard time with this.

Alicia and MJ have been friends since…well, forever. And best friends are always there for each other. Period. End of story. So even though Will’s first birthday is today and MJ’s birthday is tomorrow, there was never a moment’s hesitation with the decision for MJ and Will to fly down there so MJ can take over some household duties for them and look after little Vic.

Will I miss my boy and my wife this week? Yes. Am I a little disappointed that I won’t even get to see my son on his first birthday? Absolutely. But do I regret the decision to send them down there? Hell no. I only wish I had the time to take off so I could go down there myself and help out.

Even though Will won’t remember this birthday, I’m actually very proud of him. You see, there are very few traits of mine that I hope to pass on to Will. But one of them is dedication and loyalty when it comes to friends and family. More than anything, I want to instill in my son the need for selflessness when it comes to helping out those you love. MJ is the same exact way.

There are parents who obsess over their kid’s first birthday. They throw elaborate theme parties and buy them mountains of presents. I don’t have statistics to back this up, but I’m willing to bet most parents would NEVER allow their kids to skip town on their first birthday. But when I think back to Will’s first birthday, it will be with a sense of pride mixed with some sadness. The sadness isn’t for me, it’s for Vic, Alicia and little Vic who’s losing a grandmother. My heart breaks for all of them. I can only hope my cute little 1-year-old will turn on that smile and warm some hearts during an otherwise somber occasion. If he lessens the load of any grieving relatives then it’s a birthday well spent. Not to mention my saintly wife who is doing the exact same thing.

So Happy Birthday little man. Your present is that you’re learning at an early age that there’s nothing more important than the people you love. This is your first lesson that it’s always better to give of yourself and always get the backs of your friends, even though I have to admit I almost didn’t let you go when it was time for you to leave. There were no tears because we all know guys don’t cry, but if we did…well, this might’ve been an occasion where a tear or two slips out. Is it dusty in here??

I miss you already and I hope you have a great birthday. And don’t worry, your party and that mountain of presents will be waiting for you when you get back! I love you and I want you to know that being your dad has been the best experience of my life.

And whether you’re religious or not, keep the Banks family in your thoughts and prayers too.

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33 thoughts on “Happy 1st Birthday Will!

  1. Happy birthday Will!
    You are right that he won’t remember. I never understand the big parties with all that stuff for a 1 year old, honestly. We did have a small party for each of my kids but it was more for the relatives than for the kids.
    I’m so sorry for your friends.

  2. My wife made a big deal out of my daughter’s first and she (daughter) wound up being scared of the candle. I didn’t get the fuss, but in the end it was about people celebrating her presence in this world, not about giving her a Super Sweet One.

    Sorry for the time you’re currently going through. A lot of this seems to be going around. Both of my wife’s grandmothers aren’t doing well.

    PS – I replied to your comment on my blog. Madoff, AIG, media – clarified it a bit. Hope I didn’t offend.

  3. I got to wish Will a Happy Birthday this morning, and gave him an extra little kiss for his Daddy! To Alicia and Vic and little Vic – our love and prayers go out to you.

  4. Happy Birthday Will!

    Also, my sympathy for the difficult times that you and your friends are going through. I’ve been there and it’s rough but it’s amazing that you’re all doing your most to make things easier. That’s what friends and family are all about. Being there for the hard times as well as the good.

  5. Happy 1st Birthday Will!!!!

    I’m sorry to hear about your friends and happy to see how supportive you all are for each other.

    Take care

  6. You got it right man. A very difficult sacrifice, but it is for the greater good. Our thoughts are with the Banks–I hate cancer.

  7. Happy first birthday Will. That is a great, albeit difficult, life lesson, but one that will surely shape him into a fine young man. I’m not the religious type either, but your friends and their family are in our thoughts.

  8. Jerry…you’re solid. MJ is the best and Will is blessed to have you both.
    You’re doing what so many parents don’t; how to live by an example of selflessness.

    Happy Birthday Will!

    Banks Family, here’s some solace and serenity in this trying time.

  9. Happy Birthday to Will! My lil boy will turn one on Tuesday. How the heck did a year go by like that, huh?!
    Sorry for your friends. That’s great that your wife was able to go be with them and help.
    Just curious, is this Will’s first plane ride? Did you buy him a seat or was MJ just holding him on her lap. I have to get my hubby and son on a plane to go meet aunts and uncles of mine and am a lil intimidated by the concept of flying with the lil man. We probably won’t go until fall as it’ll quickly become to warm to go to AZ but it’s been on my mind for some time. Thx.

  10. First of all….Happy Birthday Will!! Can’t believe it’s been a year already!

    Secondly, my heart goes out to Alicia and her family. I had the pleasure of meeting her once at MJ’s back in the day (longer ago than I would like to admit) but I remember envying their friendship even then. I am glad they are still the same.

    And finally, on flying with a little one…I have had the opportunity to fly with my son on a few occassions already (he’s almost 2) and here is my two cents for Graceful, if your son is one and walking I would suggest buying him a seat on the plane if you can afford it (I could not). Before he was walking, flying with him was easy- lots of toys and hopefully a flight at nap time. The last time we flew however was just after he turned one and it was very difficult. He wanted to stretch, walk, and sit on his own and I couldn’t blame him. The flight was only 2 hours and it felt like 5. If you, like me, have to do it this way I would say…bring as many toys as you can and be prepared to get creative!! Good luck!

  11. I know that it is a bittersweet day for you. Your son may not remember his birthday, but he will remember his father’s compassion.

  12. That is a future story (and life lesson) to share with Will someday, how we should help those dearest to us, even if it means sacrificing a birthday, or a vacation, or whatever. It’s harder for children to understand that, but as thoughtful and caring adults they’ll get it. Many thoughts and prayers for the Banks family (and yours as well).

  13. Happy 1st Birthday Will.
    My thoughts and prayers are with your wife’s friends family Aaron. Sorry they are going with this such a hard time. Nice to know your wife is extra supportive of her friends.

  14. I know how fondly you speak of the Banks family in your posts and it saddens me to think they are going through a tough time right now. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

    “You see, there are very few traits of mine that I hope to pass on to Will. But one of them is dedication and loyalty when it comes to friends and family. More than anything, I want to instill in my son the need for selflessness when it comes to helping out those you love. MJ is the same exact way.”

    I hope Will gets this trait as well…we need more people like you guys in the world.

  15. happy birthday, will!

    i think you have given him a great birthday present. you’ve given him the gift of compassion and knowing what friendship/love is all about. he may not know that now, but he will someday. my thoughts are w the banks family. i wish you could take time off, too.

    p.s. i have never thrown a theme party for my kids. i’ve never obsessed over a birthday. life is precious. it’s not how much you do, but the quality of what you do, that kids will remember. :)

  16. We hired a sitter, to play with the kids upstairs, while the adults had cocktails downstairs. All this, because we thought, “our kid wont remember, so lets have fun”…Happy 1st Birthday Little One!

  17. Happy 1st birthday Will!

    I will keep your friends in my thoughts and prayers.

  18. Riley is wishing cousin Will a happy birthday! And our thoughts definitely go out to Alicia and Vic!!

  19. Happy Birthday, Will! you are indeed getting the best birthday present ever. What a lucky little guy to have such giving parents. May you grow up to keep this lesson close to your heart, knowing without a doubt that the greatest joy is in giving, not receiving.

    And my prayers are going out right now to the Banks family.

  20. Happy Birthday Will!!

    Many prayers are going out to your friends. Hope MJ and Will have safe travels.

  21. Wow. This speaks volumes about the kind of people you and your wife are and also about your friends that they are surrounded by such people in their lives. Prayers will be said. All I can say is wow!

  22. Absolutely beautiful how you convey the love you have for Will even though personal sadness of being far away for his birthday. Having you there to teach him that sometimes being a better man for himself and others means a little self-sadness is what makes you a great dad.

    Happy 1st birthday, Will.

  23. Happy Birthday Will! Thanks for this great post. There was something I learned a few years ago which helps me so much on these so called “special occasions.” I am a single Dad and was sick on Christmas day and unable to see my two kids. I was crushed, until a friend said to me, “It’s not about a day, it’s about a way of life.” That statement has helped me so much to not put so much stock in a single day, but show my kids how much I love them by living it as a way of life.

  24. As a mother, I would always want to have a party for my baby’s birthday. Thanks to my sisters and friends for helping me in celebrating my baby’s birthday.

    Happy Birthday Will!!

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