Children. The very thought of having them can terrify some guys. When Jesse came to live with us January 7th, 2017 and me looking at the north end of 57 years old, I’ll admit I had my reservations. In fact, I even had a prediction or two about how things would unfold for Ana and me, this being her first time as a mother. I anticipated us not sleeping, massive changes in our schedule, less freedom to do even simple things like sitting and talking whenever the urge took us, to the bigger things like romance and going on dates whenever we felt like it.

Time proved that I was right. I had hit the nail on the head. It was a tough adjustment, and there were sacrifices and changes, many of them.

What I didn’t consider in my selfish arrogance was Jesse and what he would bring to our lives in trade for those few minor adjustments we had to make. Ana saw that side of things, but I didn’t listen.

That first night, he cried so hard on the drive home, and I remember that it was so painful to hear and not be able to soothe him. It tore Ana and me apart and made me second guess if we had what it would take to do a proper job of this.

But when we got home, Ana wrapped him in a cozy blanket and held him close as he drank a warm bottle. This precious little soul nuzzled into her and fell peacefully asleep. I learned the most important thing about raising Jesse that night. He needs the basics, food, shelter, and comfort, but it’s the love we give him that would make him flourish.

That first week he gained two pounds in five days, and he began to smile, and giggle, and when he was upset, it just took one of us to hold him, and he settled down right away. There hasn’t been a day since then when we weren’t loving on this little boy, and helping him explore his world.

Jesse passed the eighteen-month mark a few days ago. He is changing and maturing so fast there are new things every day it seems. At times like the one depicted in this picture, I don’t see a toddler anymore; I see a little boy standing there. Jesse loves music, many kinds of music, and he loves to watch music videos and dance. I made him a playlist of his favorite music videos; it’s an eclectic collection of Country, Latin, R and B, and Pop. The morning I took this picture Ana was making breakfast for us, and Jesse was watching his music videos and dancing.

I thought about the first day he came to stay with us, about me being so pragmatic about the challenges we would face and missing the entire purpose of him being with us and the blessings that would be heaped on us, and him, for him being in our lives.

I was right back then, but I have never been so wrong. The blessings have far outweighed any challenges.

Our marriage is stronger and more passionate than it has ever been. I have seen the very best in Ana since this precious little soul came into our lives, and I am proud to say she has said the same about me. Most of all this little boy is strong, confident, and he never doubts our love for him or his place in our lives. He expects it in fact because our absolute and unconditional love is all he has ever known.

Love and loving someone. It is hard work and very painful at times, but knowing that Ana and I are the centers of his universe, the loving and safe foundation that braces him as he reaches for the stars; well, life doesn’t get more rewarding than that.

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