Today, my daughter turned one.
I made it.
I didn’t kill her.
Not in the Jeffrey Dahmer or the Dexter matter of murder. In the sense that she relies on me – at least partly – to keep her alive.
And I did.
This is a big deal.
It’s not so much about us celebrating that she’s a year old. We lit a candle on a cupcake. She didn’t know how to blow it out. She didn’t care much for the cupcake either. I attribute that to it being her first time tasting sugar. It would be like putting Paul Revere in a Ferrari. Eventually he’d think it was awesome, but he’d be so confused at first.
We’re having a small family gathering on Saturday to celebrate her first birthday. I really think we should be celebrating my wife and myself.
We made it. We have made it a full year as parents. And we didn’t kill her. We also didn’t kill each other. That’s got to count for something too, right?
On Saturday I plan on having some champagne with my wife. The focus, as it should be, will be on our daughter. But we deserve a small, quiet moment of celebration as well. Just the two of us. Just to be able to exhale, roll our shoulders in a sign of relaxation and look back and think that we haven’t totally screwed up. Yet.
It’s interesting to me, as I continue to go through RCIA classes in my Catholic confirmation, since we’re focusing on the Ten Commandments right now. One of the Commandments is to honor your mother and father. I want to think I did a decent job of that. On a scale of 1-10, I would be around a seven or eight.
However, parents don’t get as much credit as they should. My parents kept me alive. (Wouldn’t you know it, though, four days into my life out of the house I almost killed myself. Another story for another time with a stiffer drink.) I’ve never thanked them for that. I also have never thanked my mom for not allowing me to grow a mullet (not that I knew what it was in the 1980s, but I’m pretty sure I wanted to party in the back).
The thing is, my kid turned one and I feel like it’s a bigger accomplishment for my wife and myself. Not because we’re selfish people, but because how do you know how you’re going to react as parents? You’ve never done it before and then all of a sudden you’re doing it all the time? You’re learning how to do things without any education, no courses, no practice. All with a human life relying on you.
Sure, we read books, but reading a book about how to drive a car is nothing like sitting in the driver’s seat.
Obviously we’re not the only ones who have been in this situation. There’s six billion other people on Earth whose parents made it past the first year, too.
So, in honor of my child turning a year old, be sure to thank your parents, or whoever raised you. Just call them and say “Thank you for not killing me.”