Sunday, December 23, 2012

Citing Sources

Shortly after Walter's arrival on the maternity ward, I thought to myself, "Man, this kid owns this place." Our latest visit, not his first trip there. His first appearance, literally, he was pulled like a magician's rabbit from an incision in Mama's stomach in a way that my brain is still unable to comprehend. He was long, robust, and grey, and I thought, "He doesn't look very happy," and said, "He doesn't look very happy."

So soon to change. Our most recent visit, he jogged briskly and gleefully around the halls, chattering a bit and smiling at nurses. It's partly the confidence that walking brings, and partly some charm that's inately Walter's.

His 12th month was a series of homecomings, of a sort. There was this return trip to the maternity ward, when we visited friends from church who'd just given birth to their own little boy. Then to the Albright ancestral manse on the moors of Drexel Hill, PA for Thanksgiving and presentation to the matriarchs for inspection. (Passed.) And along the way a little side jaunt to the Atlantic Ocean. (Elaborating metaphorically or philosophically on the ocean's role as point-of-origin is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Thanksgiving took me by surprise, really. Walter had been ripping through all those firsts, like steps and birthdays and tastes of the ocean, that this second Thanksgiving felt like maybe we'd finally run out of firsts. Second plane ride, second Christmas, second helping of crackers, plees. All out of first-year firsts, I guess. I recall someone cutting into an onion coincedent with this realization, for the record. But when I sum that first year up, I can only count it as a huge triumph for Walter.

Some days, not all the time, I don't think he really asks much of me directly, and some days, not all the time, I know I don't have much to give. Annie and I have worked hard to become Walter's framework for success, and I guess we'll never know exactly how successful we've been, but we'll always be the first to cheer for his successes. Like this year he was pulled into screaming, and walked out of smiling.

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