What Is Your First Memory of Your Child?
The other night I was watching an episode of Scrubs, and it was the episode where JD’s son was born. The episode ended with JD holding his son, Sammy, for the first time and giving him a kiss for the first time. As the credits rolled, I started thinking about the first time I ever kissed any of my three children. At first, I was ashamed that I couldn’t remember the first kiss I ever gave them. My wife walked in the room and I asked her if she could remember the first time she kissed our kids. Her response surprised me:
I can’t recall my first kiss with any of the kids but I can remember very specific moments with each one. Moments when I could tune out all of the exhaustion, pain, chaos, and other people in the room. It’s like this perfect little moment in time when reality hadn’t sunk in quite yet and I’m just all-consumed with taking in the beauty of what we’ve created and had just gone through. It’s like the purest, most beautiful moment ever .
As I talked with my wife, I recalled my very first memory with each of my kids:
Thing 1 was stubborn from the get-go and had to be helped out with one of those baby delivery vacuum devices. As a result, her head was misshapen for a couple of days but the very first time I laid eyes on my first born, the top of her skull was mushroom shaped and it terrified me. I knew, though, that my wife would be even more terrified so I turned to her with the intention of distracting her long enough for the doctors to put a knit beanie on her. When I looked at my wife, her eyes were the size of dinner plates as she looked at our baby’s head. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I seem to remember telling her that our baby was alright and that she (my wife) did an amazing job.
The next thing I remember was a little while afterward, sitting in an armchair in the corner of the delivery room next to my wife’s bed, calling my dad at 4:52 in the morning to share the good news. All I remember from that phone call was when he picked up, I said through tears, “Hey, Grandpa. You have a granddaughter!”
With Thing 1, we found out what the gender of the baby was going to be, but with Thing 2, my wife held me to our agreement that we wouldn’t find out the sex of the next baby. After Thing 2 was born, there was this perfect moment in time where – to this day we still don’t know how long it was – my wife laid in bed with Thing 2 on her chest and I sat on the edge of the bed, while we just sat and admired him.
Even when I cut his umbilical cord – which my friend Pete from A Dad Influence described as “like scissoring through a garden hose” – it didn’t occur to me to see what his gender was. It wasn’t until the midwife said, “Don’t you want to know what your baby is?” that we realized we were so enamored by this perfectly healthy little teacup human, that what he was didn’t even matter right then.
Almost like magic, once the midwife asked us if we wanted to know the gender, it was like the details of Thing 2’s face came into focus. Before then, he was just a perfect, pink, cooing little baby. Once we realized he was a boy, that was the first time that I can remember the details of him: His surprisingly blonde hair, his big blue eyes, his round face, his adorable nose, and even the deep tone of his voice.
Thing 3 is a different story altogether. She was born on Christmas morning in 2009, and the entire day is a blur. I don’t remember the first time I held or kissed her, but I remember bringing her home later that day and just holding and looking at her. For a child who was a complete surprise, in that moment I remember being so confused about how we ever considered our family complete before her. I gently stroked the ever-to-faint birthmark that was spread across the top of her left hand and the soft strawberry mark on her left shoulder blade.
While I wish I could remember the first kiss I ever gave each of my children, because it seems like such a stereotypical Hollywood movie thing to remember as a parent, I’m content with the “first” memories that I do have of our children.
I also asked some of my dad blogger friends and here are a few of their stories:
When she was on the scale, I asked the nurse if it was OK to touch her. I put my finger in her hand and she grabbed it. That was it. – Rex Crum
TheBoy was delivered via C-section. They wrapped him up and handed him to me immediately, I took him to her head and said to her while sobbing, “Mother is the word for God on the lips and hearts of all children.” We were both crying our eyes out with joy. Gets me teary eyed just thinking about it, every time. – CretinDaddy, DadLabs.com
I remember he wasn’t crying, and how completely small and vulnerable he was. – Isom Kuade, pancakesandcider.com
When my first daughter was born, I remember watching just as her head was about to come out, expecting to see something skin colored, but the first thing I saw was black – cause she had a massive, full head of hair… pulling her out took a little longer than expected because the cord was wrapped around her and the midwife needed to get her untangled, but once the midwife had my daughter’s shoulders out she rolled her stool back, looked at me, and said, “Okay dad, grab your baby…” I pulled her out the rest of the way. – Sean Singleton, Founder of the PopLyfe Shop
I’d like to encourage you to share with me your first memory of your child, right as they were born.
How did you feel?
Which details vividly stand out in your mind’s eye?
Does some every day object take you back to that very moment when you first saw you child?
Photo Credit: Maragda Farràs