My best friend and his wife welcomed their baby boy into the world recently. He’s their first child. After speaking to them about an hour before the procedure, my best friend video called me almost as soon as he got back to the room with his son. The little guy was so cute. As his son was sleeping, a small collection of bubbles formed over his lips, which reminded me of you on your first day. I didn’t keep my best friend on the phone for long. I knew he had several people to call.

Unlike us, my best friend took his son back to the room at the nurses’ direction while his wife’s procedure was still underway. They had to complete the c-section before she could be taken to recovery and then re-united with them. You were always with your mother. I was told to go back to the room, alone, about 20 minutes after you were delivered. A couple hours had passed before I saw both of you again as the nurses were wheeling you and your mother back into the room on the hospital bed. So, my best friend, a first-time father, spent that meantime alone with his son but his wife was brought back to the room within an hour. I’m kind of glad it worked out that way for us because I would have been very concerned about doing something wrong with you. Plus, your mother told me that you were crying for almost the entire time in recovery. The only noisy newborn there.

Except for some quick message back and forth over the next couple of days to see if they were okay, I hadn’t really received any updates. Honestly, it made me a little bit worried because of my tendency to think about the worst possible outcomes. Then around 10PM at night, my best friend sent a relatively long (for him), prepared message about his son. Their doctor notified them that he was born with a birth defect. Not only did my best friend have a lot to think about, he had to take care of his wife and their son as well.

My heart broke as I was reading his message. Hearing that there’s something wrong with your newborn baby is one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. Some, maybe most, parents find themselves at fault despite the cause. I didn’t respond immediately because my mind was racing. Rather than risk saying something wrong even though that’d likely be inconsequential, the next 15 minutes were spent cycling through my emotions before sending him this response:

“My heart sank as I read your message. I had to take 15 minutes to gain some composure. But I’m glad to hear that he’s healthy otherwise and, God willing, everything will be okay. Our prayers are with you, your wife and your son. He’s a handsome guy. I can’t wait to meet him.”

“I know there’s not much that I can do from afar, but I’m definitely here if you need me.”

“I want to tell you that everything will be okay, but I don’t know what will happen in the future. Just know that you, your wife and your son have a big support system. We’re here for all of you, as I’m sure everyone else is as well. You’re a lot stronger than I am. It would have been very hard for me to write that message. Shoot, I only told you and my father that I was having a baby.”

They ended up spending a night or two more than expected at the hospital to be close to their son while some additional testing was done. Fortunately, the results were favorable and he was discharged soon thereafter. Although my best friend’s son will need surgery, it’ll likely only be for cosmetic purposes. God willing, there shouldn’t be any long-term effects.

That was the first time I’ve felt like a parent. Of course, I know that I’m a father — your father, but I don’t really feel like a father yet. Actually, I don’t know how fatherhood is supposed to feel. Only at 32 did I really feel like an adult. But I don’t think it’s really an issue because you’re my highest priority.

Your mother and I would have blamed ourselves had you been born with a birth defect. Whether that’d be something I could forgive myself for possibly causing, I’m not sure. Nonetheless, your mother and I would have been okay, overall, because there’d be no other alternatives. And we’d love you just as much as we do now.

Sorry for not writing much since August. I’ve had to re-focus my attention since my life suddenly got much busier than usual. Hopefully, I’ll have enough spare time to let you know about what happened soon.


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