It was 11 years ago when I was interning for my hometown newspaper when I opened the editing program to take a final read of the article I was writing that night when I got an error message – the file was blocked because someone else was reading my story.
I yelled out into the newsroom, asking not so nicely for whoever was in my copy to get out as soon as possible. Of course, I had no idea that person was the new copy editor on her first night on the job who opened the story purely by accident.
Correct that: I had no idea that person was the new, blonde-haired, blue-eyed copy editor on her first night on the job.
When you talk about the night you met your loved one, you’d hope it would be some magical story: Your eyes caught across a smoky room, some cosmic force magically pulled you together, and you instantly fell in love, never to be separated for more than a second.
Sadly, that’s not my story.
For us, it was a dingy newsroom of a paper that recently went out of business. The building we met in is now a gastroenterologist’s office. Harp music, it was not.
But not because our road to love and marriage was not out of a movie – we were friends for six years before dating and eventually getting married.
Now, with a new baby in our house – Samantha Jean Stegon was born Friday, May 3, 2013 at Mary Washington Hospital – it’s easy to say I love my wife more than ever.
I joked during delivery I wanted to spend labor in the waiting room, Don Draper-style with a cigar in my hand accepting congratulations while my wife did the work in another room.
Instead, I spent all of the nearly 15 hours of labor at her side, my role being somewhere between errand boy and motivational speaker to help her through the best I could.
In the end, though, it all came down to her, pushing through the pain to give me a beautiful baby girl.
As my mom later pointed out, the work though was not all in the labor – my wife was a model for pregnant women. She ate healthy (her main cravings were for grapefruit and popsicles – OK, she threw in the occasional Double Stuf Oreo, but still) and avoided anything and everything that could be even potentially harmful, including caffeine. She took her vitamins religiously, and never missed an appointment — a grueling schedule, considering we were seeing both her regular doctor and a pregnancy specialist for some extraneous medical reasons.
Thanks to all that, my daughter is a joy to behold. She has 10 fingers and 10 toes, blonde hair and blue eyes, and a set of lungs that would make an opera singer proud.
I’d like to take some credit for that, but honestly, it was all my wife.
So, I’m excited to spend Mother’s Day with her this weekend. It’s always been a hard day for her after the passing of her own mother more than a decade ago, but hopefully Sunday will be better for her with her own daughter in tow.
My hope is she has a wonderful day and takes pride in the human life she created. Both my daughter and she are beautiful, and I’m so thankful for both. I want Sunday to be wonderful for her – she’s deserved it, and something tells me just getting her a card signed by the cat ain’t going to cut it.