“My name is Hawke I was born in March and I’m glad to meet ya, you can swaddle me but I’ll get out cause I’m a ninja…”
This is the song I often softly sing to you as I hold you in my arms. As I watched you, your eyes flittered about, the sandman throwing his magic into your eyes and you would drift to sleep. I always have the biggest smile on my face when I see you…
When we first had your ultrasound the tech asked us “do you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl?”. And we both answered “YES”!. We thought for sure you were going to be a girl, everyone told us that. I would have loved you either way, but I had hoped for a son to keep the family line going. The tech paused for a second and answered, “It’s a boy”! I was stunned. “Are you sure”, I asked. She laughed and said, “pretty sure”. I felt like I had won the lottery :).
That blob in the center of the screen is you, just about five months after conception
It would be about 4 am on Tuesday March 19th that you would cause your first ruckus. Your beautiful mother nudged me awake and let me know the first weak contractions were happening, but they weren’t the right kinds of contractions to take her to the hospital yet. Our dogs Leilani and Kalea stirred as well, Leilani let out a groan and crawled up next to me and promptly fell asleep with her head on my pillow and began snoring, I laughed because I had never heard her snore before. But I immediately went into worry mode, I couldn’t sleep and went to the computer to work on a spearfishing article, maybe HSD will pick it up and you can read it someday. I went back and I rolled around in bed and finally got out to shoot my buddies a text message letting them know I wasn’t going to make that spearfishing trip today. It’s white seabass season and I didn’t want to take a chance having you show up before I got home.
We waited for you in the am and you were still a no show, so your mom and I took a walk around the neighborhood. It was a nice quiet morning and the sun finally started to show. We talked about moving to a new house, a bigger one where you and any siblings you had would have more room to grow. We had a big breakfast and then went to Disneyland where we walked around some more trying to coax you to hurry up. We couldn’t ride too many rides but we did go on The Little Mermaid Ride, Toy Story Mania and had giant ice cream in the hot sun. We finished up the day on “It’s a Small World” because we thought it would be nice for you to hear the music. Your mom had to stop often as the contractions finally started again, but you still weren’t ready to show up so we went shopping for some more things for you and then had a nice dinner at home.
The contractions grew over the evening becoming stronger and stronger, your mother walked around the house and rested intermittently, somehow I fell asleep and about 2:30 am on Wednesday March 20th we knew it was time to go to the hospital.
I stumbled around the living room and grabbed our overnight bags and some things for you as well. I walked your mom to the car , my mind full of worry. Would she be okay? Would you be okay? What would I ever do if anything happened to either of you?
Your mom was as calm as could be although the contractions doubled her over in pain. We made it to the hospital and they checked us in, luckily for us the labor pains were the right duration and they admitted us and got her ready. We had a couple of scares because your mom had a slight fever and your heart beat was a bit faster than it should have been so we had to wait a while until things were under control. Finally about 11:30 am or so your mom started pushing, harder and harder. Again I was so worried about both of you, it was hard to take but I gently coached her. “Babe you are doing great, take a deep breath and push until we count till ten”. With the nurses and doctors around she pushed and I heard a soft cry, you appeared with your umbilical cord wrapped slightly around your neck and they cut the cord and cleaned you up and then placed you on your moms chest. You cried and winced at the bright lights but they assured me you were okay and I could finally relax. You were born Wednesday March 20th at 12:15 pm, you share your bday with your grandfather on my side.
This is you, just born, eyes puffy
It turned out later that you had borderline jaundice, they had to take you from us and put you under bright UV lights for 24 hours. It broke our hearts to see you in there with your goggles on, but you didn’t seem to mind it at all and we came to visit you that night and the next morning. All of the nurses fell in love with you, you were such a beautiful baby with such a gentle disposition, any one who got to see you would immediately break into a smile.
Your eyes first open, you look a lot like Grandpa Okamoto in this picture
We finally got a chance to take you home, we’ve been waiting for this day for a long time, and I’ve been thinking about you a lot. You are the last of the Okamoto line of men, and maybe someday you’ll be typing a letter to your own unborn son. Your first name was a name we chose because it was strong. Bradley Hawke. Your middle name Takashi is after a great man, your grandfather who you will see in a few days. Your grandfather is one of those practical engineers, he could fix anything and build anything out of pretty common parts. Hawke was a name that we originally thought of for your first name but decided it would be a better middle name and it stuck throughout your mothers pregnancy, it’s the name we normally call you.
The very most important thing of course is what my mother always told me, “Be glad you are healthy”. So of course our greatest hope is that you have strong health for the rest of your life. Of course we want you to have the world but your life will be yours to choose. I’m hoping you will grow to be a gentleman, that you’ll open doors for women, pull out chairs and hold the elevator door and be the last one out. You’ll be a shoulder to lean on for your friends and a ear to listen. You’ll defend those who you care about fiercely. You’ll grow up to learn what really is to be feared and what is not, you’ll grow to learn to never be afraid of anything except losing someone.
I am hoping you will have the love of the ocean, when you are just a toddler we are going to introduce you to the water. Maybe you’ll like it as much as I do and will turn out to be a fish. Maybe you’ll like it so much that someday you’ll follow your father into the sea where we will chase mighty fish and on lucky days bring some home to share with our friends and family. There are rods and reels in the garage gathering dust just waiting to get used again so we can go fishing together. I’ve got spearguns and other dive gear already set aside for you should you choose to follow me. If you embrace the sea I plan on teaching you how to read the conditions, how to pilot the boat, how to be as safe as you can. We are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, and we’ll try to see wildlife where ever we can. We’ll go camping and sleep under the stars. As you grow you’ll learn everything that I can teach you, you’ll learn how to wrench on cars and be able to figure out most things mechanically, you’ll be able to build things out of plastic, wood or steel. You’ll learn how to cook and how to experment with the flavors you enjoy. You’ll learn martial arts, basketball, and maybe some other sports you are interested in. You’ll come home dirty, maybe even with fresh scrapes on your knees and arms. You’ll learn the hard ways of life, you won’t complain and you’ll hopefully learn the patterns that life revolves around. Hopefully you’ll enjoy Disneyland as much as your mother and I do.
You will challenge yourself and make mistakes, you’ll fail and learn that’s okay too. But eventually you’ll learn to follow your dreams and make the right decisions, but you’ll never have to question whether you are loved by your mother and father.
A long time ago, I memorized the words to a song that has had a lot of meaning in my life, funny how now it means so much more. It’s from Will Smith, Just the Two of Us.
“From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms
I knew I’d meet death before I’d let you be harmed
Although questions arose in my mind, would I be man enough?
Against wrong, choose right and be standin up
From the hospital that first night
Took a hour just to get the car-seat in right
People drivin’ all fast, got me kinda upset
Got you home safe, placed you in your basonette
That night I don’t think one wink I slept
As I slipped out my bed, to your crib I crept
Touched your head gently, felt my heart melt
Cause I knew I loved you more than life itself
Then to my knees, and I begged the Lord please
Let me be a good daddy, all he needs
Love, knowledge, discipline too
I pledge my life to you
Just the two of us, we can make it if we try
Just the two of us, (Just the two of us)
Just the two of us, building castles in the sky
Just the two of us, you and I
Five years old, bringin comedy
Everytime I look at you I think man, a little me
Just like me
Wait an see gonna be tall
Makes me laugh cause you got your dad’s ears an all
Sometimes I wonder, what you gonna be
A General, a Doctor, maybe a MC
Haha, I wanna kiss you all the time
But I will test that butt when you cut outta line, trudat
Uh-uh-uh why you do that?
I try to be a tough dad, but you be makin me laugh
Crazy joy, when I see the eyes of my baby boy
I pledge to you, I will always do
Everything I can
Show you how to be a man
Dignity, integrity, honor an
I don’t mind if you lose, long as you came with it
An you can cry, ain’t no shame in it
It didn’t work out with me an your mom
But yo, push come to shove
You was conceived in love
So if the world attacks, and you slide off track
Remember one fact, I got your back
It’s a full-time job to be a good dad
You got so much more stuff than I had
I gotta study just to keep with the changin times
101 Dalmations on your CD-ROM
Tryin to pretend I know
On my PC where that CD go
But yo, ain’t nuthin’ promised, one day I’ll be gone
Feel the strife, but trust life does go on
But just in case
It’s my place
One day some girl’s gonna break your heart
And ooh ain’t no pain like from the opposite sex
Gonna hurt bad, but don’t take it out on the next, son
Throughout life people will make you mad
Disrespect you and treat you bad
Let God deal with the things they do
Cause hate in your heart will consume you too
Always tell the truth, say your prayers
Hold doors, pull out chairs, easy on the swears
You’re living proof that dreams come true
I love you and I’m here for you”
There is nothing more for me to say to you Hawke, just remember, we love you and we are here for you 🙂