Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Braden

Before you came along my favorite male companion was a dog.
Before you came along my favorite late night snack was beer.
Before you came along I didn't watch cartoons.
Before you came along I hadn't played with hot wheels in decades.
Before you came along I didn't ever sit in the floor.
Before you came along I didn't read aloud.
Before you came along I didn't change diapers or give baths.
Before you came along I always slept through the night.
Before you came along I had never been to a pumpkin patch.
Before you came along our house was generally quiet.
Before you came along I had never folded tiny clothes.
Before you came along I had never fed another person.
Before you came along I had a pool table.

Now I am in the floor every night in the area where a pool table once stood playing with cars and putting together puzzles. I read. I watch cartoons. I eat cereal. Our house is loud all the time and toys are scattered across the floor. I am now educated on many things about raising a baby and I am almost always tired.

For people without kids that last paragraph probably reads like a Stephen King novel. For those of you with children it sounds all too familiar. I guess that is one of the biggest changes brought on by parenthood, the change in perception.

In two years with Braden I have learned that my perception of what my life with children would be like was about as accurate as the once strongly held belief that the Earth was flat. I had this misconstrued idea that Braden's life would fit nicely inside the molds that had been formed by my experiences and Arica's experiences.

Well parenting has taught me that the exact opposite is true. As parents our lives will be lived inside of the boundaries formed by Braden's experiences. It has already started to happen. You can see that by reading the list above. I am eating Honey Combs. I have learned the names of every character on Cars from Mater to Snot Rod. I am reading Dr. Seuss and singing along with Mickey Mouse. I am living in Braden's world.

I wrote a post not long ago that got some attention over at Reddit  titled You Haven't Lived. A couple commenters thought it was a bit insensitive for me to insinuate that people without children haven't lived a full life. Of course that was not my intention. I am certainly not conceited enough to think that I know what is the fullest way for other people to live their lives. Everyone has their own journey.

I should have said "I haven't lived" because that is the absolute truth. I had been to France, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and Thailand. I had been to Fenway, Wrigley Field, and the old Yankee Stadium. I followed the Hogs to three bowl games, an SEC championship game, and both the SEC and SWC basketball tournaments. I had been to the beach on four continents. I partied for the better part of a decade. I had even conned the most beautiful girl in the world into marrying me. Anyone that has been around a while can plainly see that was my greatest achievement.

Yet, despite all that, I hadn't truly lived until Braden was born. I know Arica feels the same way. So, Braden, thanks for letting us live in your little world. It is an honor to be your parents.

Happy 2nd Birthday Braden! We love you!


Tom said...

Happy Birthday to Braden!

You're absolutely right in that you "haven't lived" until you've had kids. It's true. I don't care what anyone else says. Being a parent is like another step in a person's maturity, in their evolution (to use a word I don't like in general). People who own dogs say they're like their children. I disagree. I've owned dogs, and I've had kids. With kids, you lead an entirely different life. You don't go off and leave them at home with a bowl of kibble. You can't board them at a kennel when you go on a trip. You can't keep them content with a squeaky toy and a daily walk, and you can't whap their nose with a rolled-up newspaper when they make a mess on the carpet.
You're raising another person, you're creating another member of society, and getting to experience life from the beginning all over again. I can't say enough - thank you for this post!

Eric said...

Happy Birthday Big Guy!!

Katherine said...

Wow. This one brought tears to my eyes. You have such an amazing way of putting your thoughts into words.

You couldn't have said it better. I see everyday how my life is lived within the confines of Ethan's boundaries. I stand up and dance to Spongebob Squarepants because Ethan asks (tells) me to. And I love doing it!

Great post. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Braden....prepare yourself. Ethan did one of those overnight changes at 2.

My Bottle's Up! said...

Happy birthday Braden!!! Lots of cake and smiles to you.

Tim Riley said...

I always enjoy reading your blog-you do a great job of expressing what a lot of Dad's are feeling. I have these same thoughts on my kids' birthdays.

Enjoy celebrating with Braden.

Keith Wilcox said...

It's true that people without kids can't understand our world. The difference between them and us is that we've lived in their world, but they haven't lived in ours. We know what it's like to be single or married without kids, but they wouldn't know the first thing about how we operate. It's not unfair to compare that and truthfully say, based on that criteria alone, that we've experienced more. I wouldn't pull back from that. You're right. I have a much deeper understanding of life now than I did before kids. I think that for any intelligent and introspective parent that that's true.

seashore subjects said...

Happy Birthday to Braden!!
It is amazing how quickly a life can change and a toddler's kiss and giggle can be better than an evening out with friends.

Brian Miller said...

Happy birthday Braden!

dud there is nothing like having kids and it only gets better from here....

James (SeattleDad) said...

Happy Birthday Braden. Man, that age is simply the very best. Enjoy

James (SeattleDad) said...

Happy Birthday Braden. Man, that age is simply the very best. Enjoy

Old School/New School Mom said...

What a sweet piece! I can completely relate. I, too, have travelled a lot and feel like I've lived, but it's so true, you experience a very different part of life when you have a child. Happy 2nd Birthday Braden! Hope you get tons of cars! Ari says Happy Birfffday!

KWG said...

Amen, brother. Happy Birthday Braden!

WeaselMomma said...

Happy Birthday Braden! Your parents are lucky to have you.

john cave osborne said...

awesome. just awesome. in a lot of your posts you cleverly juxtapose life before and after braden. i enjoy that greatly, and you always find a different and clever way to do it. this was wonderful. happy late bady to braden!

BellaDaddy said...

Every birthday, same thing...BellaDaddy in tears...right there with ya...and Happy Birthday Little One!

Father Knows (Travis) Best said...

Here's to the birthday boy! Congrats, little dude.

P.S.: Seriously, I can't believe you had never been to a pumpkin patch before your son came along. I lost a whole semester of college thanks to the allure of pumpkin patches. Just kidding, of course.

Jack said...

Happy Birthday Braden- enjoy the ride it just gets better and better.

Brandy@YDK said...

i totally agree with the haven't lived. And I think part of that comes from having a child when your a little older. I never knew how FULL life could be until G came around

PJ Mullen said...

A belated happy birthday to Braden. I can't believe he's two already.