First he was the meatball, an idea of a person growing inside Linda. Week after week our Thursday "inside birthday" would come around and mark another week closer to the arrival. For 20 or so weeks, we listened to the apps tells what he would be some weeks and what she would be other weeks, all while guessing ourselves. And everyone told us surely what we'd have.
We planned to be surprised, but at one ultrasound, the technician asked us if we wanted to know and curiosity got the better of us. She counted 2 eyes, 10 fingers, 10 toes, and 1 extra piece. That's when we knew our meatball was a boy meatball.
And we had the name ready to go. Nicholas Thomas would be his name. Nicholas was my grandfather's name and would resume a tradition in my family. Thomas after my late uncle who left us too early, 16 Septembers ago. Both men who hold a special place in my heart. Both are men who I hope Nicky aspires to be like in different ways.
And then April 16th was a Saturday, 12 days prior to the arrival. We were at my brother's wedding in the city all day. Linda had worked up until just a couple of days prior. At 8 and a half months pregnant, she was commuting 90 minutes into the city and working a full day. We left around 6ish and by the time all was said and done it was 9 pm and we were home and settled and exhausted.
At 2:30 she woke me and alerted me that her water broke. We rushed to the hospital and Mr. Nick had a change of heart and hung out without moving for many hours. About 5 pm he decided it was time again. At 7 pm, the doctor arrived and gave Linda the instructions. At 7:30, he was firmly plopped on his new mommy's chest. And the rest, as they say, was history.
One year later, we had an amazing party with friends and family and celebrated the little life of this little guy. Today we spent it all together enjoying every ounce of him. Tomorrow, it'll be his actual birthday and back to daycare and back to work. Every day is a new adventure as he learns something new. For instance, today we learned he can not only crawl up the stairs, but he can do about 16 steps nonstop and FAST. And it was the first time he had tried.
There's one thing that happens every day. We stare at him. We marvel at who he is becoming. As of midnight, he stops being an infant and starts being a toddler. But he'll still be a baby. He'll always be our baby. And if you know anything about Italian households, we'll call him "the baby" until he's at least 8 years old anyway.
He has "things." Things he does and things he likes. He has his own idiosyncrasies. He knows how to give love and affection and I melt every time he blows a kiss (even if it's just him smacking himself in the mouth mostly). He has opinions. His personality is formidable and his smile is infectious and he's not afraid to flash either or both. He plays to his audience and can work the room already. And it's actually impossible to be in a bad mood around him.
In 12 months I've managed to be stunned and amazed at how a little baby can be a person. I'm lucky to be his dad and couldn't be more proud of who he is now and excited at watching who he will be.