Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Best Friend Turns 5

Josh will no longer be 4 after today. My oldest child is growing up fast before my eyes and I can't believe he's already 5 years old. In Winter of 2004 when Lori first told me she was pregnant, I was so excited and unabashedly hopeful that my first would be a boy. I had always wanted to have a boy to be able to teach everything I enjoyed growing up. My brother and I believed that the first would be a son while most everyone else was certain I would be having a daughter.

In a way, once I got older and my brother and I split up to live our own separate lives, I didn't really have that close adolescent relationship with someone I could talk sports with, play video games with and goof around with on a daily basis. I always envisioned that I would have a son who I would be close to and share the same interests with. My Dad and I have always been close but I don't think we've shared the same interests as much. Dad was never really into sports and my brother and I shared that connection. I wanted a son I could teach sports too and instill that father-son bond from an early age.

Little did I know that when Joshua Robert Rose came into this world the night of October 7th, 2004 that he would be the most perfect son a father could ever want. I don't want to play favorites and I truly love both Alex and Rebecca very much (Alex is one of the funniest people I know and Rebecca has wiggled her way into being daddy's little girl), but I feel that Josh and I will always share a special bond that comes from him being my first child. An influential piece of Josh's life was his trip with us to Costa Rica. I can't imagine taking Alex on that trip as he would not be able to adjust to a strange and foreign situation. Josh handled it so well at age one and a half and really set the bar (spoiled us) in terms of toddler behavior.

The definition of a best friend is someone you share everything with and confide in. At an advanced 5 years of age, Josh has completely filled that role for me. When I come across a cool new Wii game that I'm looking to buy, he's the first person I tell on our drive home from school. When I come back from a poker night as a winner, I tell him first thing in the morning that Dad won in poker and he gives me a high five. Just this past weekend when I met up with Josh and Lori after they saw a movie (the Meatballs animated movie - I also watched with Alex - review to come over the next few days), I told him that the Redskins pulled out a win against Tampa Bay and he was genuinely happy and excited that they won. Taking nothing away from my wife but she really is not concerned about the Redskins from day to day. Josh does care and gets excited with me when we win and "disappointed" when we lose. We have semi-daily battles on the Wii in Mario Kart and he's really gotten much better causing us to have some intense back and forth races. When Alex comes along wanting to play something else we finally give in but I know we're both itching to get at one another and throw more shells and banana peels.

I'm so proud at how far he's come in his early scholastic "career". He writes better than I do sometimes and knows way more than any other 5 year old I've met. I guess I'm just the typical parent bragging, but to me Josh is not the typical son. He truly is a gift and I know that may sound sappy but I really do feel that way. One of my good friends Rob had his father as the best man of his wedding years ago. I've always felt ever since Josh was born that I want to have that same bond with him when he gets to the point of marriage in his life. In my mind, Josh is now 5 going on 7 and he understands far more than I ever would have expected at this age. I've always talked to him (and Alex and Rebecca) as if he was an equal. I've never used "baby talk" or dumbed down my words for him. From early-on I viewed Josh as more of a friend than a dependent and I believe that has helped him learn quickly and pick up on more "grown-up" language. It's amazing but I feel that I can have a normal everyday conversation with Josh at any time.

In short, I hope Josh enjoys his big day tomorrow and that our strong bond can pass the test of time (including the rebellious teenage years that sit on the horizon). Life really would be far less interesting and exciting for me if Joshua Rose had never been born.


Stacey said...

What a wonderful tribute to your son!

Mommy, Esq. said...

What a great post! Happy Birthday, Josh!

T. said...

Aww!! Happy birthday Josh!

Lynn said...

What a wonderful Dad you are! Of course I'm sort of biased, but Josh is an awesome grandson.