I remember how it was ten years ago. I rushed home from work to celebrate that date of my son's birth. It was his first, after all. Everything was new then. It was his first trip around the sun. Back then, it was even more frustrating for my wife and son to have to wait, since there was no school day for him to interfere with the festivities.
So in I trudge, worn down from the first wave of pre-summer heat and all the attendant chaos that swirls around a regular school day. The expectant faces of the kids from across the street who had shown up to facilitate the birthday process greeted me from the couch. My son wobbled back and forth between them, eager to begin whatever it was that happened next. We all knew what was coming, but aside from a flurry of gifts that we waved in front of him during his first Christmas five months earlier, there was no way he could have understood the torrent that was about to ensue.
My son has many fans. He is the fortunate focal point for the adoration of many kind and generous souls. There were packages from across the country and from across the street. The wrapping paper piled up, and I watched my son try and take it all in. As for me, I had my first taste of what this would mean for years to come when the great big box was opened and the parts of the Lil' Tikes Classic Toddler Tractor and Cart spilled out onto the floor. This was my moment to spring into action. As the whirling deliciousness of his lazy Susan cake entered from the kitchen, I sang the most redundant song in the world as I set about assembling the first in a long list of riding toys.
That night, it took longer than usual to get him to drop off to sleep. There was so much new stuff to think about and do. A decade later, that flurry is a bit more succinct. He builds his own toys, for the most part, with the occasional tighten or twist from mom and dad. He's in the living room now, reading instructions that would certainly tax my progressive lenses. The neighbor kids have moved away, but he's going to have a crowd over on Saturday to work on that cake consumption task. It's a happy day.