April 14, 2020.
It’s your 1st birthday.
We are in Zaragoza, Spain.
And we are currently in a world wide lock down.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not the ideal way myself or mommy, expected to be celebrating your first birthday. However, we won’t allow it to stop us from celebrating you, and the 365 days that we have all shared together.
There are no family members or friends to sing you happy birthday or bring you gifts. There are no hired workers to dress up as your favorite TV show character. And there is no big jumping castle in which you and your friends can jump in.
All there is, is an apartment, with a few wrapped presents, a few white and pink balloons that hang off the wall in decorative fashion, a homemade Oreo cake with a candled shaped as the number one, a video camera that is recording each moment, and two parents doing everything they can to make you feel like the most special girl in the world; even though you won’t remember this day through memory, but only through pictures and videos.
But that’s okay, because besides the constant calls from immediate family members and some close friends, it's just us three, like most of the time, enjoying each other.
You, me, and mommy.
The real Big 3.
And that’s more than we could ever ask for.
You're only a year old and have done so much, today is the day we celebrate it all!
You were born in Andorra, but then that summer flew to Canada to meet my family. Then we flew to Australia to meet your mother’s family. Then after that we flew to Monaco to live for a few months. From there we moved to Spain, where we live now. Let’s not forget the weekend vacation we went on to London, England as well.
So to sum it, you have been to 3 continents (5 countries) already!
My little world traveler.
I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you get to see new things and visit new cultures at such a young age. I pray that we get to continue doing this as you grow.
But that was everything we did as a family. Let’s talk about the things you did!
As each day, of the 365 days went by, you have grown each and every day. Whether it was the day you first slept on my chest. Or the day you first rolled over. Let's not forget the day you first crawled. Or the day you first said dadda or mama. Or the first day you took your first steps. Or...
Amiyah, when I tell you that I can go on forever, I really can. I remember it all baby girl. Memories your father will never forget.
Although it has only been a year, there are so many memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. However, one sticks out to me a little more than others.
It was a night when you came to one of my professional basketball games with your mommy. It wasn’t the first game you attended of mine, but it was the first game in which you could crawl.
Normally you and mommy go upstairs and wait for me at the entrance of the arena after I get showered up and changed to go home. However, this game, mommy brought you down to the court to see me. To our surprise, the team photographer was there as well. She decided to take some pictures of us.
As I was in the middle of chasing you, on the court, on all fours, making my daily monster noise, while you crawled to your safe haven aka mommy, it hit me.
This was the day I have been dreaming about my entire life.
I was married to the woman of my dreams. I just played a professional basketball game (my dream job) and now I was chasing my child on our home court. This was the moment I always pictured in my head when I was younger.
This moment right here was me, having it all.
But please, let me not get too ahead of myself, because the absolute best moment of mine, of your 365 days, was day 1.
When you were born, I almost couldn’t believe it. You lived in mommy’s stomach for nine months, kicked up a storm, building our anticipation to see you. Besides the ultrasounds, I couldn’t fully grasp the idea of you actually being in this world with us.
So when mommy gave that final push, and I finally got to see your full head of hair and body fall into the doctor's arms, it took me back.
Yet still, it wasn’t real to me.
The nurses cleaned you thoroughly, and finally wrapped you up and passed you to mommy. Although her body was so exhausted from the whole process, she held you tight, and I got to look at the two most important women in my life finally meet each other. What a sight it was.
Yet still, it wasn’t real to me.
So mommy finally handed you to me. As you fell so perfectly into my arms and stuck your tongue out just a bit, I said to you “hey Amiyah, it’s your daddy”. You opened your eyes, almost like you recognized my voice from the morning and nights I would speak to you through mommy's stomach. As the words left my mouth and fell onto your ears, you gave me a little smirk. Intentionally? Who knows. Yet, it was a sign to me that you knew who it was.
Your father, your protector, your best friend.
At that very moment, it finally felt real to me.
You were here! You were finally here!
A make up of mommy and myself. How crazy is that?! I actually now have somebody in this world that has 50% of my genetic makeup. It still is hard for me to fathom.
As tears rolled down my eyes, my mind was racing a thousand miles an hour, but my heart was beating very slow and calmly. I felt complete holding you. I have a great big family back home in Canada and Australia, my soulmate that I married, and now, I have a child, an absolutely beautiful baby girl.
You were the piece to complete my puzzle.
As time went on you grew so fast! You are only a year old and already mimic things that I do. Your big smile from ear to ear, your corky attitude, your “want to play” at all times attitude. There is so much in you that I see in myself already. It warms my heart more than you could ever imagine.
Looking at you and then looking at pictures of myself when I was your age, I see so much resemblance it's scary. The chubby cheeks, the dimple, the bright eyes, the full head of hair. You are me and I am you.
You're growing into everything I could have ever imagined. However, raising you for an entire year, there have been challenges for myself, and mommy. Nothing alarming, but us navigating through the environment of parenthood for the first time.
For myself, there have been times when I’ve had to be on the road for games, for weeks at a time. Even during preseason training I had to leave you for two whole weeks; twice! During these moments I felt a sense of guilt for the fact that I wasn’t there to see you grow and develop during the first few months of your life. I felt like I was missing out on so many things. I felt that I wasn’t getting enough time with you to help you get acclimated to the new world you were living in.
But what pushed me through was knowing that I was making these sacrifices for you. To provide for you, to be able to give you all the things you want in this world. I do it all for you.
As for mommy, it might have been harder on her. Learning how to be a mother on the fly while I was gone; and even when I was around. This is her first time doing it all, and yeah she may be scared sometimes (as am I), or not know exactly what to do, yet nobody would ever know. Not even me because she always looks so confident in what she is doing when it comes to you.
She moves with such grace, strength and pride that sometimes I don’t even think she needs my help. She is so strong, one of the strongest people I have ever met in this world. And ever since she has had you, she turned that strength up a notch. She’s not perfect, but I 100% know she is perfect for you. You're in good hands with her.
Nobody could raise you like she has and will. I can put that on my life.
I say all of that, to say this.
Mommy and I aren’t perfect. When we first brought you home, we had no clue how to be parents. Yeah, you see others do it, but there is nothing in this world that can prepare you for this job. We don’t have all the answers, but we are always making an effort to learn. We were learning then, we are learning now, and we will continue to learn everyday.
As your father, I can’t tell you what the future holds for you, but I can tell you this.
Will we argue over things through the years?
Will we get mad at each other at times?
Will we disappoint each other during our lifetimes?
Will we cry together?
But that’s all okay, because that’s what life is about. That’s what relationships are about. Everything we go through, we go through together. And from that we then earn from each other. Then we pick each other up. And then we help each other become better people for ourselves and for each other.
Life is not easy, and surely not perfect. But always know that I will be here for you no matter what the situation might be. No matter how hard the challenge is, we will tackle it together.
You got this.
We got this.
I pray I never let you down.
Not just as your father, but also as your best friend.
Happy 1st birthday,
Amiyah Rose Ennis,
Dadda loves you!
**If you would like to watch Amiyah's 1st birthday celebration, click the video link below**
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