Happy 1st Birthday, Sloan

A year ago today, at 2:44 p.m., my life changed. One of the nurses in the operating room raised up a little girl over the partition that separated Sid and I from the surgical team. There she was. Sloan Anne Reser. I will always remember the feeling. After waiting for almost nine months and conceptualizing Sloan as an unborn baby in Sid’s stomach, to see her in the flesh was surreal. Still covered in birth fluids with her little body emphasized by the brightly lit room, the sight was a bit shocking for a stressed out new dad.

This photo was taken very soon after Sloan was born.

The nurse disappeared with Sloan for a moment. She wasn’t out of sight long. Before I knew it, I was holding my little girl for the first time.

That’s when the love affair began.

This is my first picture taken with Sloan.

It has been a year of happiness, inspiration, and enlightenment. I found out firsthand that the joy of being a parent is not overrated. In fact, it surpasses all possible expectations. Then again, the baby that God gave us might have something to do with that.

One year later. Same shirt. Same pose. Same love.

Sloan has brightened our world. Throughout her first year she has been happy, low-maintenance, and strong. She bonded with us almost immediately and there has not been a day where she hasn’t made us smile or proud.

Our daughter changed my outlook on life and gave me something new to look forward to every single day: Walking in the door after a day at work and seeing that cute, innocent little face. She sparked my productivity at the office. I knew that the harder I worked and the more I got done, the sooner I could get home. Leaving right at 5 p.m. so I could spend the maximum amount of time with her before she went to bed became my top goal.

Sometimes I wouldn’t even have to wait until after 5 p.m. to see her; Sidney would just bring her to me at work.

She gave me more of a purpose, she strengthened my faith, and she made me value my wife even more. The power contained inside that 19.5 pound baby has completely melted the heart of her daddy.

It just isn’t her good-natured disposition and bloodline that has made me infatuated with her. Sloan has given me a major lesson in resiliency. Early on in her first (and only) year, she got pretty sick. I watched her go through a lot – much more than any child, let alone a baby, should have to go through. In the hospital, when it was just the two of us, I held her and let her know that I would never forget her courage and that I would always be there for her.

Every parent believes that their baby is special and I am no different. I know I am the stereotypical sappy dad but I can’t help it. I am so happy to have Sloan.

Sloan and I hit it off from the start.

Now we move to her second year of life. She finally has a number in the year column. Weeks and months need not apply. But excuse me for addressing the first 365 days once more by thanking some people – my parents (who gave Sid and I so much support and never neglected to tell us that we are good parents), my in-laws (who taught me much about how to care for a baby and who have helped out incredibly with Sloan), Sid’s sisters (who have been there for Sloan since Day #1), and my siblings (who spoil Sloan even though she is 3,000 miles away) – THANK YOU.

Of course, there is one person I could never possibly thank enough and that is my wife. Sidney carried Sloan for 8.5 tough months and has been the best mom any baby could ask for. She has taught me a lot and inspires me just as much as Sloan does.

Happy first birthday, Sloan!

We love you, Sloan. You are our lucky charm and we can’t wait to spend many more years with you. Don’t Blink.