It was just a few years ago that I was sitting at home, minding my own business, switching channels back and forth between football games on a cool autumn Saturday afternoon.
By JIM BRADFORD
Special to The Star
Life was good. Really good. Married to the woman of my dreams and enjoying life. How could it get any better?
A few months later, my beautiful wife was pregnant. Nine months later, Gunner was born.
Last week, Gunner turned 3. It’s hard to imagine how we were so happy before he was born. OK, it’s not that hard to imagine, but we don’t want to — that’s probably the best way to describe it. We were blissfully happy as a married couple with no kids. It wasn’t as if we felt hollow, alone, destitute.
It was just different. Now, it’s good different. Great different.
Sure, it’s not all hugs and Popsicles, unicorns and rainbows, but it’s pretty dang awesome.
The third birthday party was not that big of an affair. A few friends and family. A handful of kiddos, some water balloons and a piñata. Oh, and a fire engine cake.
It seems like so long ago that we were a two-person family, and now we have a 3-year-old and twin 19-month-olds.
There are challenges. There are good days and bad days, but for all the challenges and bad days, the good far outweigh them, even if it’s just little flashes, small moments in time. Beacons in the night, if you will.
Gunner is 3 now. And while he’s been able to carry on a conversation for quite some time, it seems like it’s been just lately that those one word answers have become a dialogue.
He’s taking the lead on helping get his sisters to bed at night. “OK, sisters, do you wanna go in your room and read a book?” Of course, he has an ulterior motive. As soon as his sisters go to their room to go to bed, he gets to play on the computer for a few minutes. Oh, he knows what he’s doing.
In an endless stream of “Where did he learn that?” moments from Aisha and me, one of the best parts is when he sings along to the iPod that plays in the background when he’s going to bed. His favorite? That’s a no-brainer — “Lights” by Journey. He doesn’t even need accompaniment. He’ll just belt it out. He’s no Steve Perry, but there’s some promise there. When he gets to the midway point of that first verse, “Oh, I wanna be thererere, in my city, ohhhohhh,” it doesn’t get much better than that. Not only that, but it speaks volumes to his potential taste in music — which makes Dad very happy.
Yep, Gunner is becoming a little boy and taking us on an amazing ride.
Of course, ask me again tomorrow when the twins are cranky, running wild through the house and Gunner is upset because Elise and Kyra won’t leave his train tracks and engines alone, and the answer will be completely different. But for now, yeah, seeing Gunner grow from a toddler into a little boy is the coolest thing I have ever been a part of.
I still like watching football on a cool autumn day, but not as much as I used to.
Happy birthday, buddy.
Jim Bradford is a former sports editor at The Olathe News.