A meme poking fun at parents who had to balance the holidays with throwing parties for their kids who had mid-to-late December birthdays recently floated around the internet. As soon as I saw it, I had to chuckle because, in the middle of trying to make sure everything was in order for Christmas, I had to think to myself, “What about Eden’s birthday?” Sure, the Amazon orders for my son’s gifts from Santa had already been placed, and my wife was taken care of, but what were we going to do on the 27th, my daughter’s birthday?
Back in mid-2021, my wife learned she was pregnant with Baby No. 2. At that time, we were finally finding our footing as parents of a 2-year-old. We were sleeping pretty well and were in that sweet spot before the “terrible twos” really started to show their ugly face. Nonetheless, it was exciting for us to soon grow from a family of three to four.
I did the math in my head and guessed we were likely looking at a December baby. When we went to the OBGYN for our first appointment, they confirmed that Baby Girl Hudson would be due on Christmas Day! Throughout that year, I was back and forth on where I stood on having a Christmas baby. On one hand, I thought it would be really cool. I have some friends and family who are Christmas babies and they love it. And besides, it would be the easiest birthday to remember. On the other hand, I thought about how difficult it could potentially be to try and balance a child’s birthday with everything that comes with Christmas. I thought about how my child would possibly never be able to have a “real” birthday party because her friends would always be with their families and loved ones on Christmas.
Fast forward to December 2021. Christmas eventually came and went with no baby. Our precious Eden ended up coming two days later on Dec. 27. Although it is still the holiday season, she’ll have a day just for her.
As we approached her first birthday a few weeks ago, it was a joy to be able to celebrate with our extended family who we were with for Christmas. It made me realize that balancing the holidays with your child’s birthday isn’t a bad thing at all. We ended up singing “Happy Birthday” and having cake the night of Christmas. It was the perfect end to a beautiful, albeit long, day. Just as I did when my son turned one, I took some time to reflect on my first year as a girl dad and father of two. Three things (among many others) have stood out:
When our son came along, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never changed a diaper before he was born. It was trial by fire until we sort of figured out what we were doing. When Eden came along, I was three years in the game as a dad. A seasoned vet. I was a more confident dad this go-’round. There was really nothing that surprised me during her first year. From how to deal with the early sleepless nights, to going to the pediatrician, to being able to read and understand my wife in her postpartum state, having “been there before” made this past year much smoother.
Children can fill lifelong voids
As an only child, I’ve always wondered what it was like to grow up with a sibling. I never really dwelled on it because it was just the way life ended up for me. However, now as a dad of two, I catch myself in awe of their interactions on a daily basis. While things got off to a rocky start with Emory being jealous at first, now that we’re a year in, they are inseparable. They go to school together, play together, and show each other affection. It has allowed me to experience something as a dad, I didn’t know I needed. It’s amazing to watch – even when it gets a little testy between the two.
Little girls will melt your heart
My friends told me to get ready. Those guys who were already girl dads warned me that there would be nothing like it. That my little girl would have me wrapped around her finger. I didn’t believe it would be like that. Boy, was I wrong. I love my son unconditionally. We have a father-son bond that I pray lasts forever. But a daughter’s love is different. This past year, I’ve been softened by her presence. Her smile eases the pain of a rough day. She has given me another reason to be the best dad I can be, and even more of a reason to look forward to the holiday season each year.