But also like lots of guys, my view of babies changed forever once I held our little guy in my arms. Changing diapers was no big deal when it came to Dylan, whereas in life before Dylan, I'd practically run from a room when a baby's butt got put on display.
It was a magic time when Dylan was a baby. It could be tiring, yeah, but when I think about that first smile, the first words, and the first steps, I'm so thankful for those memories.
You might say that I've been feeling a little wistful. The time is going by. One day he'll be grown, and I'll wonder how that time could have flown by so ruthlessly.
I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that an angel appeared before me. She let me know that I could have the chance to go back in time to Dylan's birth if I so decided. The catch was that the Dylan of today would be gone, replaced by a Dylan molded by a dad's knowledge of what was, back in the future. She told me that I had two weeks to decide whether to take her up on her offer.
Wow. What an offer. To see that first smile again. To see him sleep, nose-to-nose, with his mama again. To play guitar for him, while his butt air-dries on the changing table again. To hear those first words again. To see him first throw a rock across the creek again. To have that first wrestling match again. To watch him on his first merry-go-round again. To have those early-morning conversations again. To take him on his first boating trip again. To carry him down the driveway to feed the llamas again. To take him to Kids' Kingdom park again.
I called Rhonda at her office to let her know that I'd pick Dylan up from school. I made it to his school just minutes after the kids had left class for the day. I spotted him across the quad, playing with other kids waiting to be picked up by parents.
Funny thing about Dylan: he's always known when I'll be getting home, and he usually acts sort of matter-of-fact about it when I walk in the door. Instead of getting wildly excited, he'll often resume a conversation we had before I left. It's always tickled me, and it's always been sort of strangely reassuring.
But on that day, Dylan had no idea that I'd be getting home early. When he spotted me, he shrieked "DADDY!" (not "Dad") and sprinted toward me. I got down on one knee to greet him, as I usually do. Too late, the realization came that Dylan was still sprinting, was showing no inclination to slow down, and that he wasn't a toddler anymore. Nope, now he weighs eighty pounds. BOOM! He crashed into me, and I came really close to getting knocked on my ass.
My eyes watered. I'm not sure whether it was due to sentimentality, or the fact that he was squeezing my neck so hard that I couldn't breathe.
Nope. No way. I'm staying right here, and right now.