This will tell you just how bad of a father I am… This post is for my first child’s very first birthday, and said birthday was two weeks ago… But the bad fatherhood juju does not end there, because not only is this post late, but his birthday itself was just a bad day…

As it turned out, my son’s birthday fell on the exact same day that I graduated from college! How fun, we thought! He will have a ton of family in town, we’ll have a fun party for him, his grandparents will spoil him, how awesome for a little guy’s first birthday! What young, innocent little fools we are. We vastly underestimated the fun sucking abilities of your average American university, and that’s not even mentioning their ability to suck time.

Our plan was simple… Morning time with family, my graduation ceremony from 3-5, dinner/graduation/birthday party (prepared by me and my wife) that evening at 7:00. Beautiful plans, right? I should have realized that these plans would go straight where most plans go involving children– well, actually where just about everything goes with children… The toilet.

He did get some pretty dope toys… I was super jealous

The day started well… Tommy loves his grandparents. He got spoiled with presents, giggled and played, and loved his new toys. However, the drama begins with a missed nap, which is how most drama starts with my son. We figured that he was too riled up with all the exciting people here that he just couldn’t sleep, which I am still sure was part of the problem. The real problem, however, manifested itself the week following graduation with the grand premiere of two brand new teeth! No wonder he was such a grump! I would be a grump too, if razor sharp bone fragments were tearing their way through sensitive skin…

After we finally got him to go down for a fitful half hour, it was time for the graduation ceremony. It was scheduled to start at 3, and we planned to be done around 5. That way we would have time to gather all of the food in the various crockpots we had gathered from throughout the neighborhood, bring it to our little venue, and even have time to stop by Costco for our last few necessary items. Great plan, am I right? Only one problem… We vastly underestimated the amount of time academics need in order to bask in the light of their own self-congratulatory adoration. Like, seriously people. We just spent four years getting talked at… Did we really need an extra half hour?

You can just see how tired he is…

Finally, some sort of cosmic mercy rule came into play and we were dismissed. It was 5:45… If we were quick, we could still get everything done on time! PSYCH! Let’s sit in the parking lot for twenty minutes! Now, let’s not forget the destructive nature of my son. This whole time, not only is he low on sleep, but we’re expecting him to sit still, which is probably the most laughable thing in the entire galaxy. Apparently, he ran amok during the ceremony, continuously making breaks for the outside world and giving my dad his daily exercise chasing him around.

JUST GIVE ME MY DEGREE ALREADY

Ok, we’re home, we’re ready, let’s do this! My father-in-law was in charge of my son, I was in charge of getting the already prepared food to the venue, and my wife and mother-in-law took the Costco trip! READY, BREAK! I fly to the church building where we’re holding the event, ordering my brothers to set up tables and chairs, literally throwing corn on the cob into the oven to roast. I set up the five crockpots full of chicken, slam the flat of water bottles down on a table, insert the hot dogs into their respective buns, throw paper plates around the room like frisbees! Just in time for our 7:00 start time! As people start to arrive, I take a deep breath, sure that my father-in-law will be there on time with my son and that my wife and mother-in-law will be there shortly with the chips, cake, etc. I start talking and laughing with people, announcing that as soon as the rest of the food arrives, we will begin. The minutes tick by, and panic slowly begins to set back in…

I get a call from my father-in-law, to whom I gave the wrong address and he was late. So now my son is late to his own birthday party, because of me. And where on earth is my wife?! Finally, at 7:30, I announce that we will begin eating, and the food will just have to be supplemented when they get there. Finally, my wife and mother-in-law arrive, followed shortly by my father-in-law and son. Huzzah! The day is won! Now let’s have an awesome party!

We eat and talk and laugh together, passing my son around people he recognizes from pictures. Life is good and relaxed! At long last, it’s time to crack open the Costco cheesecake and do the whole first birthday cake thing, right? So we strip our son down, lay out a towel on the floor, and set him down in front of a piece of cake. Predictably, he slams his hand down into it and sticks it in his mouth. He begins waving his arms around with great joy, and my heart leaps at a job well done! Until, it strikes…

His face falls as he lets out a long wail. My wife stops the video she’s playing and scoops him up off the ground. I expect it to be a brief respite before the fun begins again, but alas, he just escalates. He’s got cake everywhere. Even worse, he’s shaking and shivering from cold. I suddenly realize just how late 8:00 is for our little guy, it’s WAY past his bedtime, and he also managed to get a horrible first nap and completely miss his second. At this moment, I begin to realize that I am the scum of all the earth. Oh, but just wait! As we realize that he is just not going to calm down, my wife and I decide that she will bring him home to go to bed. As my wife is putting him in his brand new car seat (courtesy of his wonderful grandma and grandpa!) my wife stands straight up with eyes wide. “We forgot to feed him dinner!”

I legitimately wanted to cry. What a horrible first birthday! Exhausted, starving, thirsty, and over-stimulated, it wasn’t until that moment that I realized just how patient our little guy had been throughout that whole day. And he finally had just lost it. Who could blame the poor little guy? I very rarely feel like a bad parent, but I sure did on that day. It makes matter just about 100 times worse that it was his birthday…

I had thoroughly convinced myself that he was going to wake up in the morning and just completely hate my guts. Surely I at least deserved that! The next morning when he began doing his whale call that he does to signal that he’s ready to get up, I reluctantly stuck my head in his room, expecting him to give me the cold shoulder. But, luckily, I learned another lesson right then and there– babies are incredibly forgiving creatures! He looked me in the eyes and giggled, holding up his arms for me to pick him up. I pulled him into my chest and he wrapped his little arms around my neck, giving me one of his sloppy little open-mouthed “kisses.” I was overjoyed… Maybe I’m not so bad at this whole daddying thing after all! Or, at the very least, I just have the greatest son in the whole wide world.

Little Midget Birthday Party