A little personal journal entry kind of post today (feel free to skip below to the links if you prefer).
Seven years ago today was a Friday. July 12. My 35th birthday. If it was a year earlier we probably would be pre-gaming for 80s night at DNA Lounge, but this year was going to be a quiet birthday.
Until we decided it was too quiet.
You see, we were just 2 days away from our first child’s due date. As a present for my birthday, Yinh gave me a Scrabble keychain. The “Z”. We were naming the boy Zakary. (We like to go to rock shows and we had recently seen Zakk Wylde at the Independent. Our Zak’s middle name, Myles, is named after a singer that Yinh in particular loves. Hint: he was actually in the movie Rockstar with Mark Wahlberg). Anyway, back to our quiet night. We were bored, in waiting limbo, and I really can’t remember who suggested it…”Let’s just call the hospital and see if they’ll take us”. As if you were trying to fit in a haircut before lunch.
So we called.
Turned out it was a slow night in the maternity ward. Come on down, we’ll induce you. We were going to celebrate 2 birthdays tonite at the SF baby factory, the CPMC on California St.
I’ll skip over the details. Zak wanted his own birthday. The following day, after an unplanned C-section, we heard his voice for the first time as the doctors lifted him up and out. That first cry is the greatest chord, forever seared into memory.
Summer birthday kids carry their own private pain. No narcissism Munchkins from Dunkin’. No “let them eat cake” moment to preside over in 3rd grade. But I’m not bitter. 7/11 gives out free Slurpees on 7/11. So take that non-Cancers. (That joke is for my lovely mom, whose birthday is 7 days before mine. The growing family birthday heritage might have Zak feel like we handed him a have-sex-in-October-baton.)
So Zak is 7 tomorrow. One of his teachers once described childhood as something to be thought of in sevens. The early period ending at age 7 as kids start to realize there’s a bit more to how the world works then what daddy says. The latest period, ages 14-21, being a tranche of its own for reasons we can all relate to.
If 7 is the end of an era, it explains some personal wistfulness I’m feeling. I often think of Paul Graham’s essay Life Is Short:
“You only get 52 weekends with your 2-year-old. If Christmas-as-magic lasts from say ages 3 to 10, you only get to watch your child experience it 8 times. And while it’s impossible to say what is a lot or a little of a continuous quantity like time, 8 is not a lot of something. If you had a handful of 8 peanuts or a shelf of 8 books to choose from, the quantity would definitely seem limited, no matter what your lifespan was.”
That’s a good way of putting it.
7/12/2013 (That’s a paleo cake Yinh made me. It’s 2 days before she is due to give birth)
Less than 24 hours later, life is forever changed.
7 years later, Zak modeling for the unibrow-paternity-test.
So I guess I’m 42. Hitchhiker’s Guide called the number 42 “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”. That’s a lot of pressure for the next 365 days when I own that number.
Happy birthday to the July and summer birthdays on the list!
We owe everyone else 6 Rice Krispies treats each for those K thru 5th years.