My Grandma

We lost my grandmother on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. While it was expected to happen at some point, it still comes as a shock when it does. The fact that she nearly made it to 91 years old with advanced Parkinson’s is a testament to just how tough and how full of life she was, even in her near-locked-in state. She and my grandfather were always on the go before Parkinson’s set it, taking cruises and traveling everywhere, always coming back with stories, many involving some sort of funny mishap. She was always the hostess with the mostest, hosting lots of family parties. That seemed to be when she was most in her element. She loved having family and friends around more than anything, which made the pandemic especially hard on her. And I’ll always remember how, especially at family dinners, she liked to tell jokes that let’s just politely say were “inappropriate.” 😂

Even though we’re all hurting right now, I feel thankful and privileged that she got to be a big part of my life for 44 years, and that she even got to see a couple of her great-grandchildren, my own daughter included. I’ve done my best to explain something that’s not fully explainable to my daughter, and she gets it about as much as you would expect a three-year-old would. But she definitely knows something is wrong and people are sad, but I want her to see that and I’m explaining to her that it’s okay and normal to be sad.

Most of her grandchildren referred to her as Booboo, a distortion of Bubbe, which is what her mother was known as before her. Initially, my grandmother didn’t want to take on the title, saying that Booboo was her mother, not her. But eventually, she warmed up to and embraced it. The problem is that I was old enough to remember her mother (my great-grandmother), so in my mind, she was always Grandma. She always had that warm, caring, and welcoming personality and would always greet you with a big smile that easily reached her eyes. Even near the end when she had no muscle control and was practically locked in, you could still see a smile in her eyes when she saw you. I’m going to miss that immensely.

Rest easy and without pain now, Grandma. I have little doubt that you already knew just how much you were loved, but I’ll say it anyway. We love you.

Memories for my Daughter: 9/11

I’ve decided to write down specific memories of certain times for posterity, as well to have some memories for my daughter to look over, my main fear being that when I get older I may start to lose my memory, and I would like to have things written down for her and others to know what it was like at the time. I’m going to start with my memory of September 11, 2001. I was luckier than many. I had never been to New York at the time, so I had no personal memories, nor did I know anyone who was there or lose anyone I knew in the attacks.

I’ve decided to write down specific memories of certain times for posterity, as well to have some memories for my daughter to look over, my main fear being that when I get older I may start to lose my memory, and I would like to have things written down for her and others to know what it was like at the time. I’m going to start with my memory of September 11, 2001. I was luckier than many. I had never been to New York at the time, so I had no personal memories, nor did I know anyone who was there or lose anyone I knew in the attacks.

I remember the morning very clearly. I was woken up by my clock radio next to the bed. Usually, I had it tuned to a music station, but there was a breaking news alert that a plane had collided with the World Trade Center. That was the only information available at the time and they would have more information later.

Of course, there had been stories of small passenger planes hitting buildings before, so that was where my mind immediately went. Tragic, but I didn’t think much more of it at the time. That was the morning that midterms were supposed to start, and being my senior year in college, I obviously had other things on my mind. I didn’t turn the TV on. I just ate a quick breakfast, got dressed, made myself presentable, and got in the car to head to campus.

On the car radio, they were saying that there were reports of a second plane hitting the World Trade Center. Flipping through the channels, where there was usually music or morning shows, they were all either on the news or the morning shows were warning people that there was going to be no comedy that morning. They began reporting that one of the towers had completely collapsed, and now they started saying the other one had collapsed. Partway through my drive to campus, they started saying that there were unconfirmed reports about a plane crashing into the Pentagon.

At this point it was clear what was going on, but the extent was still a big unknown. There were no reports about what happened to United 93 and there wouldn’t be for a while. I got to campus and no one was really saying anything. When I got to class, the professor was already talking to everyone about what happened. There would be no midterm today. People could talk if they needed to or just go. Class ended up being cut short anyway.

So I wandered for a bit and bumped into a couple of friends. We talked about it for a bit, but then we each went to our next classes. This class was in a new building that still didn’t have all the wiring together yet. But it was about video technology, so we managed to jury-rig a projector to carry a live broadcast of the news, and we talked about what happened. This was the first time I finally got to see the news footage of the planes hitting the towers. The professor said that we could all leave our cell phones and pagers on today (remember, this was 2001) in the event that we needed to get a hold of our families. About half way through this class, an administrator stuck her head in the door and said that classes were cancelled for the rest of the day (remember, there was really only electricity going to this building at this point, so there was no easier way to communicate). So that was it for the school day.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I remember heading back home and pretty much just watching the TV the rest of day as more news trickled in, at least from the corner of my eye while browsing the internet on the computer. Weird that I feel like I need to point out these specifics because the world has changed so much. It became clear very shortly that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were behind it. I remember Tom Clancy being interviewed on CNN and he practically started the interview by saying how the US needs to look at itself and how it had treated the Muslim world, that the US may have brought this down on itself, and CNN very quickly ending the interview then and there. I don’t think the interview lasted for even a minute. I remember eyes were already pointing towards Afghanistan since that was the last known location of Osama bin Laden, and reports with live video of fighting occurring with assumptions that we had already invaded (it was later revealed that this fighting was actually part of the ongoing conflict between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance).

Over the next few days and weeks, the new normal set in. Another World Trade Center building collapsed (many forget that it wasn’t just the twin towers that came down). There were more reports of injuries and deaths, but also of people being rescued. Despite what may be thought of now, while people did talk about what had happened, people also made a genuine effort to carry on with their lives with some normalcy. People were not walking around with gas masks everywhere and jumping at shadows. People were far more resilient at the time than some portrayals now seem to indicate. Although 9/11 was always a constant background buzz in everyone’s life. I think this was when the 24-hour news cycle really came to the forefront, and it was always talked about every day for years.

So, those are my basic memories of that day. Do you have any personal memories to share about this day? Let me know in the comments.

Revenge of the Oscars

WritingOnce again, I’ve failed to update this blog regularly, and it comes down to an Oscar post. Two years ago, Moviepass helped me to see most of the movies. Last year, with a new baby, I didn’t even bother to try. This time I did my best to predict what would get nominations, and actually did pretty well. I had actually already seen a more than half the nominated movies by the time they were announced. So it wasn’t too difficult to get it wrapped up…mostly. I still haven’t seen two of the foreign language nominees, but I don’t believe that it’s going to matter, and I’ll explain why below.

I’m not sure that I’m going to be live tweeting the Oscars on February 9 this year, but you can still follow me on Twitter. I may still do it. I swear that I’m going to write to this blog more this year. I’ve got a lot to say that I’ve been keeping to myself for various reasons, but it’s getting to be high time to get it out.

Anyway, on with the show:

Best Picture

My pick: “1917”

What will probably win: “1917” or “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood”

Why: This one is really weird. I think this will be a toss up between “1917” and “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.” The problem is that, while most of the movies nominated for best picture this year, they all have some pretty deep flaws. “Once Upon A Time…” has an edge for winning because it’s about Hollywood and the Academy tends to love looking in a mirror, but the ending is odd and the Academy doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of Tarantino. “1917,” on the other hand, has been getting a lot of recognition, and although the Golden Globes are actually pretty poor at predicting the Oscars (which “1917” won), in this case I think it has enough of a following to be a threat. I like it, and many will be taken by its style of doing the entire movie in a series of about four tracking shot, even though this has been done before with “Birdman” and to greater effect in “Son of Saul.” Still, I had a soft spot for World War I, which I find to be one of the most interesting conflicts the world has seen.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

My pick: Adam Sandler (“Uncut Gems”) because fuck you, Academy!

Who will probably win: Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)

Why: If ever there was a travesty in the nominations, it was snubbing Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems.” Sandler gave the strongest performance of his career and if there was ever any doubt that he could be a serious not to mention amazing actor, this would have put those fears to rest. But Sandler’s “brand” seems to have marked him and prevented a more than deserved nomination for this film. As such, Joaquin Phoenix is the favorite to take home the award for “Joker.” Despite the film having its issues (not to mention some undeserved controversies), acting was not one of them. Phoenix definitely gave it his all and it shows, making him the one to beat.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

My pick: Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)

Who will probably win: Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)

Why: Of the nominees, Renée Zellweger is the one to beat. Aside from just putting in a strong performance, this is the type of role that the Academy usually eats up, namely portraying a real person, particularly someone who was in show business. The only real other contender here would be Charlize Theron who channeled Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell” so amazingly that she was nearly unrecognizable (more on this later). However, given the controversies that surround Megyn Kelly, this award is still going to belong to Zellweger.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

My pick: Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)

Who will probably win: Brad Pitt (“Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood”)

Why: Brad Pitt very likely has this one on lock down, and not undeservedly so. He gives an excellent not to mention entertaining performance. But my personal favorite is Joe Pesci who essentially came out of retirement to play a low-key and subtly menacing role in “The Irishman” that just has a great edge to it, in my opinion.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

My pick: Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)

Who will probably win: Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)

Why: When it comes to empathy and strong character while playing a supporting role, Scarlett Johansson embodied this as Jojo’s mother in “Jojo Rabbit.” She was probably one of the best parts of that film. However, Laura Dern, despite hardly having much time in Marriage Story, does do well and has been doing well on the awards circuit so far. As such, I give her the edge on taking home this award, even though not my personal favorite among the nominees..

Best Achievement in Directing

My pick: Sam Mendes (“1917”)

Who will probably win: Sam Mendes (“1917”)

Why: The seamless movement of “1917” is visually very interesting to watch and the direction provided by Sam Mendes is no small contributor to it. Getting the kind of consistency between takes to it appear like that is extraordinarily difficult (Fun Fact: It’s not really one take, just shot and edited very cleverly to make it seem that way). For this reason, I give it the advantage in the Directing category.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

My pick: “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Who will probably win: “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Why: Tarantino is nothing if not a master of the screenplay and the Academy knows it. He’s one of the best and most original screenwriters living and doesn’t have much competition whenever he’s nominated in this category.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

My pick: “Jojo Rabbit”

Who will probably win: “Little Women”

Why: Taika Waititi took a very difficult subject and made a sublime film with with “Jojo Rabbit.” However, he has some very stiff competition, particularly from Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women.” I suspect that there’s enough bitterness over her being snubbed in the Directing category that some may vote for her here on that fact alone. Not that she doesn’t deserve it. She did a fantastic job with the screenplay (which I’ll admit I have not read the source material), but my personal favorite remains “Jojo Rabbit” for tackling something a little more original.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

My pick: “Klaus”

Who will probably win: “Klaus”

Why: While I usually say that the nominees reflect how the Academy doesn’t understand animation, this year didn’t seem to be a great year for animation in general. There wasn’t much that stood out or that I would consider Oscar-worthy. But I was very surprised by “Klaus.” It seemed to come out of nowhere and was a very touching story with a very interesting visual style. Some of the character designed even seemed to channel Don Bluth, one of my favorite animators of all time. It’s the stand out film in a category that seemed rather “meh” for this year.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

My pick: “Parasite”

Who will probably win: “Parasite”

Why: I was unable to see two of the films in this category (“Les Misérables” and “Corpus Christi”), but that doesn’t matter. Bong Joon-Ho has created a great crossover film that is unfortunately going to have an uphill battle in other categories because it is a foreign language film. That, however, makes it a lock in this category.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

My pick: “The Lighthouse”

Who will probably win: “1917”

Why: While my personal favorite in Cinematography this year was the beautifully shot “The Lighthouse,” let alone it’s technical prowess (seriously, I don’t think people understand how difficult it is shoot in black and white make it look that good), this will likely go to the deserving “1917.” Achieving what they did with the tracking shots and making them that smooth to edit seamlessly together is quite a brilliant accomplishment, and I wouldn’t be disappointed with this film taking the award.

Best Achievement in Editing

My pick: “Ford v Ferrari”

Who will probably win: “Ford v Ferrari”

Why: Among the nominated films in general this year, “Ford v Ferrari” is probably the most fun, but I think it’s unlikely to take home any awards other than Film Editing. Editing together the fast-paced racing segments is difficult to say the least, but manages to accomplish this without losing the audience in the action and confusing anyone about where everyone is or what’s going on. I’m kind of surprised that “1917” didn’t get a nomination here, though.

Best Achievement in Production Design

My pick: “1917”

Who will probably win: “1917”

Why: Among the nominees in Production Design this year, “1917” stands out. As opposed to recreating houses and basic structures, “1917” painstakingly recreates the battlefield of World War I, recreating the desolation and, thus, the tension of walking through No Man’s Land, as well as bombed out structures and trenches. As such, it makes itself unique among the nominees, and therefore more noticeable.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

My pick: “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Who will probably win: “Little Women”

Why: When it comes to Costume Design. the Academy loves a period piece, often the older the better, so this will likely go to “Little Women.” However, personally, the recreation of Hollywood in the late ’60s/early ’70s in “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” was in no small part due to the costumes and was a major part of the movie’s charm. Hence, it gets my vote. Honestly, “Rocketman” should have gotten a costume nod for the impressive recreations of some of Elton John’s most iconic outfits.

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

My pick: “Bombshell”

Who will probably win: “Judy”

Why: Like “Parasite,” “Bombshell” has an uphill battle where it’s nominated, but more having to do with it’s subject matter. However, no one can deny the Makeup and Hairstyling nomination it received. The transformation of Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly is uncanny, and John Lithgow absolutely looks of the part of Lucif…er, I mean Roger Ailes. However, simply because of the subject and because Hollywood does seem to like looking at itself, I give a slight edge to “Judy” actually winning the Oscar.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

My pick: 1917″

Who will probably win: 1917″

Why: The tension in “1917” is due in no small part to the music. While very low-key and mostly relegated to the background, as opposed to being in your face like “Star Wars,” it blends perfectly to create an overwhelming sense of dread.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

My pick: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”

Who will probably win: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”

Why: “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” is a standout among the nominees. I’m kind of surprised that “Rocketman” didn’t get more nominations, especially for Costume Design, but then again it seems like the kind of movie that the Academy isn’t quite sure what to do with. Plus, it would be cool to see Elton John and Bernie Taupin finally win an award together.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

My pick: “1917”

Who will probably win: “1917”

Why: When it comes to the sound awards, always bet on the war movie. “1917” is pretty much a lock for this one.

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

My pick: “1917”

Who will probably win: “1917”

Why: See the comment for Sound Mixing. This one is going to “1917.” It will be a major upset if it doesn’t.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

My pick: “Avengers: Endgame”

Who will probably win: “1917”

Why: Even with the Academy not sure what to make of and no nominating comic book movies (with the exception of “Black Panther”), I’m a little surprised that “Avengers: Endgame” didn’t get more notice just because of the sheer scale of it and the culmination of ten years of films into one cohesive whole. The Academy has done this before with :Return of the King,” which clearly got its nominations and wins on the strength of the trilogy and not just “Return of the King.” This is probably going to “1917,” which owes visual effects for fleshing out the battlefields and adding to the seamlessness of the tracking shots, even if some of the green screen effects were kind of cheesy. Seriously, when the guy leaps from the cliff, did anyone believe for a second that he was actually falling?

Best Documentary, Feature

My pick: “For Sama”

Who will probably win: “American Factory”

Why: “For Sama,” a film created for the filmmaker’s daughter telling the story Aleppo, is frightening, heartbreaking, and difficult to watch. It’s a fantastic piece of film-making that I never want to watch again because of some of the terrible imagery, but it is moving. However, “American Factory” has had greater promotion and been a bit more accessible, and is easier to watch, even though I found it rather boring. As such, it will probably take home the award. It’s possible that “Honeyland” could be some stronger competition, though, just because it is quite unique in being a crossover nominee (it’s also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film), but I still give the slight edge to “American Factory.”

Best Documentary, Short Subject

My pick: “In the Absence”

Who will probably win: “In the Absence”

Why: The short films tend to be more of wild cards than anything else, and are much harder to predict. Among the nominees this year, “In the Absence” is the most emotional and moving, hands down. Not much else to say on this one.

Best Short Film, Animated

My pick: “Hair Love”

Who will probably win: “Hair Love”

Why: “Hair Love” is an amazingly good short animation with a fascinating visual style and, it turns out, a surprisingly touching story. It’s possible that “Kitbull” could upset this category (it is produced by Pixar, afterall, even if it doesn’t have Pixar’s usual style), but I still give the deserving edge to “Hair Love.”

Best Short Film, Live Action

My pick: “Brotherhood”

Who will probably win: “Brotherhood”

Why: Again, we kind of have a toss up here. However, simply based on buzz, “Brotherhood” is the likely winner. Not much else to say on that.

There you have it. The awards winners for this year. Last time I did this, I had a pretty good track record. Let’s see if that holds tomorrow.

Pardon My Politics: State of What Union?

WritingI didn’t watch the State of the Union address to Congress. At this point, I don’t think there’s enough money that could get me to watch that bloated orange baboon anus spewing his crap anymore. In the interest of sanity, I avoided it. However, I’m also a news junkie, so I did look at the highlights of the event. Here’s my takeaway:

Trump snubbing Pelosi’s handshake wasn’t surprising. If nothing else, and about the only thing, is that Trump is a showman. He understand optics, especially television optics, and he knows that his core audience isn’t for playing nice. It’s bad form for those of us with a more reasonable mentality that want to heal the divide, but Trump is about Trump. He’ll do what plays to his advantage and screw any unity. Pelosi tearing up his speech at the end was optics as well. While it’s viewed by some as rude, I think waiting until he was actually done was showing incredible politeness given the circumstances. Frankly, I wouldn’t have minded if the Democrats had been throwing rotten vegetables at Trump during the speech. It’s all the dignity he deserves.

Most of the address was about theatrics. The soldier’s reunion with his family, the scholarship moment, all done for the sake of television. I’ll let others go into more depth on the facts, or lack thereof, in Trump’s statements. I don’t really have the time to go over all of that here. Suffice to say that, yes, the market is doing well, but the market is not the economy. And yes, unemployment is low, but also keep in mind how unemployment is calculated, namely that the underemployed and or those who have given up looking for work are not counted. So there’s a big disconnect in the numbers and practical reality.

The big disgusting moment came with the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh. Let’s first address the elephant in the room. Limbaugh announced that he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on Monday. Now, I try not to engage in genuine Schadenfreude. There’s finding humor in someone getting hit on the head for comedic purposes, as in the Three Stooges. Then there’s watching someone die slowly and painfully from a hideous illness, even if they’re your worst enemy. There’s a big difference. I’ve been lucky enough to not personally have known anyone who’s had to suffer through that, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have empathy. So while I don’t take joy or even wish this on Limbaugh, admittedly his track record does make it difficult to truly wish him well.

So when Trump announced that he was giving Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom, it didn’t go over too well. This is a man who has made a career out of dividing America. A man who’s been trying to Jerry-Springer things on the streets, not just for a studio audience for entertainment purposes. This is a man who said that he would abandon the US to what he considered its fate if the Affordable Care Act was ever passed into law and run away to Costa Rica (still waiting on that one, by the way). And now the orange shitstain is blatantly politicizing the Medal of Freedom by giving it to a conservative mouthpiece? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some previous winners throwing their medals away in disgust. The award is now permanently stained and will never be the same.

With the politics of divisiveness on full display and being used just to win elections, the question becomes “What Union?” We are not united in anything. There is no unity, and thus, if there is a “Union” it’s holding together by a thread. Anyway, these are just some quick thoughts and I don’t want to go into anymore detail on the speech, but I had to get this out there.

I Get It Now!

Thumbnail“Sheldon, I’m pregnant!”

“What?” I must have been dreaming. I started to groggily wake myself up.

“I’m pregnant!”

Wait, what? I must have still been half-asleep. I turned over and see my wife standing in the bedroom doorway. “What?”

“I’m pregnant!”

Okay, now I knew I was awake and it’s not a dream. The realization began to dawn on me: We’re going to be parents. Without saying a word, I stretched out my arms to my wife, the universal sign for “come here and give me a big hug that neither of us wants to end.”

We had actually been trying for a while. It had been around a year and a half since we had seriously started to try. Granted, certain circumstances that I won’t go into likely made it more difficult, but those had for the most part been cleared up six months before.

Thus began our journey to being parents. We went through a lot of the usual trials and some unsusual ones. We, or rather I should say I, found out the sex of the baby through a genetic test and had to keep it secret from my wife so she could be surprised at the gender reveal. That reveal was one year ago today, Father’s Day 2018, when we revealed to the family not only that we were having a baby, but we were having a girl.

It was a difficult journey. Unfortunately, my wife developed gestational diabetes and had to be extremely careful about what she ate, as well as take insulin three times a day. I don’t envy what she had to go through, but I will say and will never stop saying how much I admire her commitment to bringing a healthy baby into the world.

We went through our usual milestones. I still remember the first time that I felt the baby kick in her tummy. And I made sure to talk to the baby all the time, which will play into the story in a bit.

When the big day came (induced one week early, because she was considered to be a high-risk pregnancy, so they wanted to be sure that it was controlled), I dropped my wife off at the hospital and went into work. They said that it would take a minimum of 12 hours, so I had some time. I felt guilty leaving her there, but she knew that I needed to work. And the long weekend commenced. Hours stretched into days. Unfortunately, it appeared that our daughter was reluctant to make her big debut.

That Sunday evening, I had gone up to my shop to put a sign in the door that we would be closed the next day due to “family” reasons, since by then it was apparent that I would not be going in. While I was there, I received a call from my sister-in-law that there was something wrong and I needed to get back there. Of course, I ended up hitting traffic on my way and it took forever for me to get back to the hospital. I literally ran to her hospital room and told the doctor to give me the thirty second rundown. In short, she had started to spike a fever and the baby’s heart rate had begun to drop, meaning she was in distress, so they had to prep my wife for an emergency C-section.

At this point, we were both getting very scared, although I had to suppress my own emotions to be as stable for my wife as possible, because whatever I was going through, she had it a hundred times worse. I got into surgery garb and waited for them to tell me to come into the OR.

I remember it feeling very warm in there, much warmer than I would have expected. I sat down on a stool next to my wife, who I could tell was trying to hold it together. I knew she was upset by this turn of events, but she was doing what needed to be done. They had a sheet raised over her midsection so we couldn’t see what they were doing. I honestly had thought about taking a peek over the sheet out of curiosity since I’m not squeamish, but I knew that my number one job was to comfort my wife (that and, as they say, if you like sausage, never watch how it’s made). So I sat there holding my wife’s hand as she squeezed mine, almost to the point of breaking. They actually told her to loosen her grip on my hand because the sensor attached to her finger was losing the reading.

The actual surgery was pretty quick, but we didn’t know it. Time felt weird in there, and we weren’t sure if we were in there for an hour or for five minutes. Then they announced that the baby was out, along with “Come on, baby! Come on, baby!” And time stood still as my wife quietly said, “Why aren’t I hearing her cry?” Later, we found out that she was born limp because at this point labor had been going on for three days, and not only was my wife exhausted, but the baby was exhausted as well. Then, to our relief, we finally heard her start crying. They brought her over to the table where I cut the umbilical cord, something I was not sure about doing, but I figured that I’ll probably not get another chance to do that, and I saw her clearly for the first time.

And it still hadn’t hit me yet. You know what I mean. That moment when they say you become a father. I’ve heard it said that a woman becomes a mother when she becomes pregnant, but a man becomes a father when he sees the baby. It didn’t happen that way. I had seen her in the ultrasounds. I had felt her kick in my wife’s belly. I had now seen her in the flesh. Each of these had slowly helped solidify the concept that I was a father, but I wasn’t quite there.

They cleaned our daughter up, swaddled her, and handed her to me since they were still working on my wife. She was small and her eyes were closed peacefully, resting after the long labor. This was actually the first time in my life I had ever held a baby, but I was still not having that magical moment. So, I did the first thing I could think of.

“Hi, Vivy. I’m your daddy.”

With that, she opened her eyes with a look of recognition, like she was saying, “I’ve heard that voice before,” and studied my face.

And that was the moment. With an explosion inside my head, I was a father. In that moment, I knew that my life had led to this little baby and that I would do anything for her.

Today not only marks six months since she was born, but also my first Father’s Day as a father. I’ve had a crash course in baby care and now have some time to reflect. I would say that, even as difficult as it can be at times, based on some stories we’ve heard, we’ve actually been pretty lucky, and have a very healthy, happy baby who continues to develop and amaze us.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!