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.