Well, you weren’t too pleased when you arrived, but dude, after 42 weeks, what did you expect?! You weren’t gonna do it yourself, so we had to call your bluff. And to be blunt, at 4.61kg, aka 10 pound 2, mum is particularly pleased with that decision.
You are so new to this world, yet already you have made such an impact. They gave you to me to hold moments after you were born at 10.33pm, May 30. By the way, in that 40 second or so delay, you moved from 10.32 – Magic Johnson’s number, to 10.33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Both are from the Lakers, but only one agreed to give me his autograph. You guess which one – the fun loving, uber-skilled, best point guard of all time, or the grumpy bald man who played with glasses until he was 42?? Yep, I thought you’d get it…
Anyway, when they gave you to me, it was just so natural. You see, I’m normally not great with babies. Am I holding them right? Am I supporting the head properly? What will their parents think? It’s so delicate – will I break it?! But with you, it felt right straight away. You felt safe in my arms. You are safe in my arms.
I will never ever forget the 40 minutes we had in the foyer of the maternity ward while waiting for your wonderful mum to return from theatre. I rubbed your stomach and looked you all over while calling family and the whole time you just happily watched the world go by.
I honestly didn’t think you would be this interesting early on! I thought you’d eat and sleep. That’s. It. Not be so alert and aware! Already I can tell that you recognise my voice. If you’re upset or just speaking up, you stop when I talk to you. You have no idea how cool that is.
On your second day in this world, mum really needed a rest in the hospital. So I took you out. You were not pleased with this development, for quite a few minutes! When talking to a midwife, you calmed down. I implored the midwife to stay with us. No, she reassured me, it was my voice that had calmed you. So, I talked to you. For two hours. This is not easy to do, well … unless you have a topic.
So I gave you a verbal rundown of the history of the NBA from ’87 to ’98.
It was pretty weird, I’ll admit, having nurses walk past me and say, ‘Sorry?’ as I was filling you in, thinking that I must have been talking to them. But it’s important to know what happened in this glory era – the end of the great Lakers runs and the coming of age of Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls, with a bit of Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the middle. I’ll bring you up to speed with footage and game tapes down the line, but know this – the 90s for basketball was flipping awesome!
By the time I got to ’99 – the lockout shortened season and the birth of the San Antonio Spurs – you were sound asleep, and had been for 45 minutes, and even I was bored. Don’t feel bad – the Spurs will do that to you. (Your uncle Simon will disagree with this, but he’s a Knicks fan, so really, what could he know!?)
So you’ve probably picked up by now that you’re a LA Lakers fan.
You’re going to enjoy watching games and highlights of your team. We were one of the first to play an up-tempo ‘showtime’ style that merged exceptional defence to boot. It helps when you had one of the best 5 players of all time running the show. Also, you won’t mind taking in the sheer speed and size of Shaq and the skill and shot-making ability of Kobe. They have their flaws, but when they were on-song, wow. You’ll enjoy them as much as your baths. Trust me. I saw them in person once. And I’m your dad. So there’s that too.
There are some other teams that you need to be wary of. The Miami Heat contain two of the best players in basketball, but one of them is an egotistical tool who felt it would be a grand idea to broadcast his termination with his old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on national television. You don’t like them.
You won’t want to eat your greens early on but that’s because of the Boston Celtics. I don’t want to scare you, but they’re evil. They don’t believe in Santa and they steal kids’ money that’s been left to them by the tooth fairy. Plus, they play dirty, whinge constantly about what could have been … and have been the most successful team in the history in the competition. Not that we’re bitter. 🙂
Your footy team, the Essendon Bombers, is the best team in the league. It hasn’t been official for 12 years, but again, trust me, I’m your father, do as you’re told etc etc. You will look good in red and black, I promise.
There are 4 finals series that you will love – ’84 and ’85, ’93 and 2000. You may have your favourite, but you’ll be hard pressed to beat ’93. You see, the ‘Baby Bombers’ felt about as young as you are. But that didn’t deter them. No one except those that knew them well gave them a chance. But we showed them, just as you will.
There are teams that will rub you the wrong way and it’ll annoy you … like when it’s time for a nappy change. I’ll try and protect you from them, but there’s only so much I can do!
The Hawks fans complain constantly, like that kid next door in the hospital when he had his first ever bath. For them, it’s always someone else’s fault, and they think that historically they’re a league powerhouse. Look at the numbers; they’re not.
Carlton and Collingwood are our two biggest rivals and they have won a lot of premierships too. Carlton fans think the sun rises and sets in their own bedrooms while Pies fans are like the feral possums we encourage Lexi to chase away. Except the possums have a more developed vocabulary.
Before we forget, you’re also a fan of Man United, Boston Red Sox, Melbourne Victory, you think wrestling is a sport and appreciate the exploits of Bret Hart, Hogan, Undertaker and The Rock, you prefer Federer over Nadal and both of them over Djokovic (who doesn’t?!) and you like cricket and our nation’s captain. It’s a lot to keep up with, but we’ve got time together to let it all soak in.
You have a number of friends who love the Bombers too – Craig, Darren, Annelise, Dave and Jac, Em, Georgia, Jesper and Benjamin, Ella, Nat, Nomi, Tim, Darryl, even your pa… You’ll love them for loving the Bombers! Footy is great. It brings people together.
A bit much
You might not want to read this when you’re older because your dad is such a dork etc etc, but before we even knew you were coming, he took a whole 12 months off watching any sport. You see, little Joshy, sometimes, sport can get to be a bit much. People lose perspective about its importance in real life and through media saturation, the 24/7 news cycle, gambling, pay TV and fantasy competitions, it can become overwhelming.
And now you’re here, he’s so glad he did.
Cos you see Joshua, there’s nothing more important than those cuddles we’ve already shared. There’s nothing that can possibly be a bigger priority than looking into those two gorgeous eyes and getting to know you. My son. But there are things like sport that drag people away from the simple joys.
We convince ourselves that we need more. So we go out and try to attain them, always comparing ourselves to people who have more stuff.
And all the while what we really want is right there under our noses – transcendent love and joy that can be found in family, friends, faith and community. Where the fact that I don’t have a nice car is dismissed entirely by your pure little soul. That you are wearing an unreal ‘onesy’ that we didn’t buy matters not to us or you.
I’ll tell you what you need. You need your mum and dad to stay together. That will always happen. I promise you that we’ll always be together and that every Christmas, you’ll spend all or part of it with your parents. You need a good feed – don’t we all!? – and a warm enough room; it took 5+ months to get the ducted heating fixed but I got there eventually! And on the feeding part, well, let’s just say your mum has got that covered… You need to know who Jesus is and who He was and that while your dad will mess up often, there’s a Father who knows you and loves you beyond comprehension.
And you need our love. I can’t put into words how much love there is for you in your home right now. You were so anticipated! You have already brought forth so much joy and unifying love. Just by being you. You don’t have an iPad or an iPhone or a big screen TV – just the most beautiful heart and delectable eyes and you sneeze like an angel. And this is only 6 days in! It’s so easy to love you but we live in a culture that can pull us away from what is truly important – for the sake of having the latest in fashion, technology, property and sport.
And while your mum is the best damn woman on God’s green earth, sport is one of the things that can bring your dad undone. You have permission to call me on it if you sense that it’s a bigger focus in my life than what it should be, as do any of the readers who have visited these pages. It takes a village…
Believe me my beautiful young son, you are well worth it.
I love you,