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Open Mike

The best Valentine's Day gift I ever received

This Saturday marks my 32nd year of existence in the great adventure we call life. For those of you who don't know, Saturday is Valentine's Day. The day of love. Perhaps that is why I am so sweet, because I was born on Valentine's Day.

I luck out with having Valentine's Day as my birthday because I take the stance that I shouldn't have to get anyone anything, it is my birthday. Sure, this line of thinking doesn't go over too well with my wife, Wendy, but I stick to my guns.

Over the years I have received many good birthday gifts and I have had some birthdays I would like to forget. I tend to dread birthdays, but not so much any more. Eight years ago this Saturday, Wendy gave me one of the greatest birthday gifts a guy could ask for. A gift that keeps on giving and one I will never forget. My youngest son, Ethan, was born on Valentine's Day at 8:32 a.m. eight years ago. Perhaps his early arrival into the world is one reason why Ethan is not a morning person.

It is rather difficult for me to imagine today that when I first found out about Wendy being pregnant with Ethan, I was anything but thrilled. Before you start sending hate mail or egging my car, just hold on. There is a happy ending in this story.

I can remember the day Wendy told me she was pregnant with Ethan. I was standing in the parking lot at the Mid-Valley Mall and I can remember having this feeling like my guts had just been ripped out. The pending arrival of my youngest son was definitely a surprise to me. Only 14 months separate Tyler, my oldest son, and Ethan. At the time, I thought I had life figured out and I really knew what I wanted to do. Life was going good. Wendy, Ethan and I were doing alright financially and for the first time in a long time I had some sort of direction in my life. I can remember thinking how much I thought Ethan was going to ruin all of my plans. How two children would be much more difficult to raise than one. Throughout Wendy's pregnancy I didn't pay much attention to Ethan. I didn't rub Wendy's back or play music over her belly like I did with Tyler. I was honestly pretty mad that Ethan was making his way on to the face of the planet. I thought for sure he was going to ruin the life I laid out. Not paying attention to Ethan during Wendy's pregnancy is one of two things that I truly regret in my life.

So we made our way through the ninth months. Ethan was actually a rather good pregnancy for Wendy. He never made his mom vomit or was the cause of any of the wonderful problems that arise during most pregnancies. He just sort of laid there, waiting for his moment. Ethan is big on sleeping. The boy would sleep all day if he could.

Then the fateful day of Ethan's arrival finally came. By that point, I was starting to have a change of heart about Ethan's arrival. Beforehand, I had decided to go see the second ultrasound. For any of you parents who've looked at an ultrasound photo, you know the pride I felt.

When Ethan was born I can remember having this feeling of warmth just come over my body. An incredible feeling of unbelievable love. I am sure Wendy just felt relief. I remember sitting there for the longest time looking at Ethan, tears swelling in my eyes.

I quickly found that all my fears and negative thoughts about the arrival of my son were for naught. Having two children is just as easy as having one. Really! You are used to children at that point. The beautiful part of it is that when they get older they keep each other company and take care of themselves remarkably well.

Ethan has seemed to grow up so quickly. My youngest son is quite the character. Just ask anyone who knows him. He has an unbelievable maturity for a young boy who is only going to be 8. He is one of the few people on this planet that I totally trust with anything. Ethan has a unique light that can fill up a room and put a glow in your heart. I know if I have had a bad day, Ethan will be there to cheer me up. He always seems to know the right thing to say or do that makes the situation better.

Looking back on it all, I couldn't imagine my life without Ethan. Sure, I can remember vividly the day Wendy told me she was pregnant with Ethan and the twists and turns that quickly filled my gut. But I am a better person for having Ethan in my life. It is my privilege to know my son. I have no doubt that he will grow up to do anything he wants to do-with the permission of his older brother, Tyler, of course. You know how it goes with older brothers.

Ethan is more than my son. Ethan is an unbelievable friend to me whom I would walk into war with. Ethan is my sunshine on a cloudy day. Ethan is the greatest Valentine's Day gift I ever received.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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