If you were to ask Bazz what his number one job is I’m pretty sure he’d say, “Father.”
His own parents divorced when he was just six weeks old. His weekends as a little boy were spent packing and unpacking a small, beat-up Snoopy suitcase, its characters faded and cracked. Rather than happily worn from beach vacations spent together as a family, the little suitcase was shuttled back and forth by its small owner, bouncing between two parents who met up in a mall parking lot for the handoff of their children.
I will never forget the look on his face when I handed him that freshly peed-on stick, or when he gazed at the monitor that glowed in that darkened NYC doctor’s office, listening, watching in wonder at the steady, strong, tiny, galloping heartbeat of our son as tears rolled down his cheeks.
When we arrived at Stamford Hospital amid an August heatwave, he wheeled his suitcase alongside mine. Snoopy now traded for Tumi. The Stamford Hospital Maternity Ward had never seen a new daddy like “Daddy O.”
After nearly two days of stalled labor, Madden arrived via C-Section on August 16, 2006. Barry would later tell me that with every complication he would freeze in terror. C-sections require a mother’s arms to be strapped down crucifixion-like to a padded arm board, allowing for the blissful blurry wave of anesthesia to wash over. The idea of something happening to me or to the baby was more than he could bear.
Bazz was the first one to hold him. Clutching Madden in one arm, he knelt by my head, smoothing my hair away from my forehead.
Over and over again he whispered, “you are so amazing, you are so amazing, you are so amazing.”
He never left my side. Our seven-night stay felt a little like a second honeymoon. It was softly sweet, it was new, we were bubble wrapped in the powder blue new days of parenting. The nurses wheeled in a foldaway cot for Bazz, the baby’s bassinet was positioned directly next to my bed, and every night Bazz would push his bed as close as he possibly could to mine. We gazed at each other through the arms of my hospital bed and while our new son slept, Bazz would reach through, take my hand lifting it to his lips, and kiss each one of my fingers.
And every single night I’d emerge from the bathroom after showering to find a single chocolate on my pillow.
He is the most elegant, lovely man I know. I chose wisely.
There are plenty of imperfect moments.
Parenting is fucking hard.
It’s tireless, it’s exhausting, it’s mind-bendingly relentless and most days, it’s thankless.
I look at our boys now, it’s been nearly 14 years since those chocolates were placed on my pillow. It’s been almost 14 years since Bazz placed bottles of champagne on ice in bedpans (unused I promise) around our hospital room studded with flowers and balloons. I look at our story that continues to unfold, I look at my partner, my leading man, Bazza Bazz, “Daddy O.” I watch the three of them fly down our driveway together on their bikes, I stand at the window and I whisper into the soft summer air “thank you.”
It’s not always easy to stop and savor these moments. But, if I close my eyes and let gratitude wash over me the way those chocolates melted on my tongue, I can get there pretty easily.
Happy Father’s Day Bazza Bazz.
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All illustrations by @courtneycoloring