2 Years Later... UPDATED
I'm sitting here at my local lounge puffing on a My Father No. 4 Lancero with a bit over 2 years of rest on it. It's tradition in fact for me to do this at this time of the year. Back in January 2013 it was cold as hell and very stressful, we were a month away from having our son show up and for the past two months I had been living on the sofa in the front room after moving the family downstairs since ?Amanda could no longer sleep in bed because our boy was simply too big on her tiny frame. Long nights and lots of anxiety, fear and giddiness during those days. Middle of the month hits and a package shows up from Rick and his family to ours. Inside was a gift card for Amanda, 10 AVO Classic Robustos and a box of My Father No. 4 Lanceros. Inside the note it said that he got me this box so that every year on his birthday I could have one of these and 22 years after he is born when I have the last I can be smoking the last cigar with 22 years of age on it from when he was born. Blown away doesn't quite cover it but in hopes of rambling as little as possible I will leave it there for now. I had the first one when he was born and now two years later this is the third from the box. At the time these were some of my all time favorite cigars in my favorite vitola... Time hasn't changed that a bit and sitting here today sipping on a dram of Elmer T. Lee (Thanks Doug) out of my Glencairn glass (Thanks Ken) I begin to reflect a bit on what was, what is and what may be to come. I peel back the layers of creamy goodness that the MF delivers and it has really smoothed out and dropped a great deal of the pepper spice that was heavy in this when they were fresh. Oh it's still there for sure but it's decided to take a backstage role and really let the creamy and sweet notes become the main players center stage. Vanilla, cedar, aged oily leather, cashew and heavy whipping cream to name a few. Now pair that with the sweetest and smoothest bourbon I have and it's a match made in heaven. Sure I have other pairings that are bolder, bigger more in your face and front and center... But nothing that compares to the class, grace and richness that shows with this one. Not only is the burn laser sharp but it puts off copious amounts of thick velvety plumes of dense smoke that feels like velvet infused honey rolling of my tongue. I could imagine no more perfect pairing and moment to relax and reflect than this.
Which leads into my next tangent. 2 years later and much has changed in life. I was only about 5 months into working for Apple when Cael was born and only got emergency time off for four days during labor (25hrs) and delivery and the time until we got him home. One day after bringing our boy home I was back at work. That first year was terrifying to put it gently lol... Between figuring out what being a Father really means (a lesson I will continue to learn until the day I pass this mortal coil) and advancing in my career and balancing family and work and play, even to Cael having seizures 1-7 times a day every day for 6 months and even physical therapy to help strengthen his body to compensate for his big he is (10 months old he was already 25+lbs and nearing 2' tall) and everything in between. It was scary. But after that first year things began to settle down and I found my groove and sat back enjoying the ride. That second year, hearing him say his first word which was Daddy (thank you to my wife for trying since week one to teach him how to say that for his first word!), seeing him take his first steps and everything in between. We really have fm grown so very close this past year and have a remarkably close connection now. There have still been challenges of course, just last week he finally finished his physical therapy, work has been difficult and overbearing, and him being so big with so much energy in our tiny place has shown just how important it is for me to learn and control my patience as well lol. It's also been equal parts joyful and terrifying seeing how much he has grown up already as well as just how wildly intelligent he is... It fills me with pride and damn near brings a tear to my eye. At less than a year old he was taking things apart, organizing similar parts and pieces into piles and then putting them back together... Figuring out what keys were and how they work and even figuring out what key goes to what locks in the house and car even!! When I say that my boy is wildly intelligent it's not just me being a Proud Poppa, it's something that his Doctors and specialists have remarked on and brought up as well. And that is what leads me to the present day and moment as I type this.
That pride and fear that I spoke of over these past years has only intensified as of late. A new and rather terrifying (for Amanda and I at least) chapter has come. Cael is now 2 years old and the size of an average 5 year old according to his pediatrician. He is damn near savant level smart at his age, is bigger and stronger with great coordination and personality leaking out of his ears.... But there are some issues and big ones. It's those issues that have caused enough fear and concern that the State has had to intervene. This is the first time I am writing and talking about this on the boards, mostly because we still are in the dark on what may be going on. 2 years old and he doesn't talk. He only has at best maybe a dozen word vocabulary and he doesn't talk to anyone. He holds vivid and in depth conversations with most everyone but it's pure gibberish and lately he talks the most only when I am around. He has really severe and frequent fits where he becomes completely inconsolable and hysterical for minutes at a time a handful of times a day but switched back to perfectly happy and content on a dime. I could go on about other behavior but I think I have made my point. So on March 3rd he goes in for testing with the State for early developmental intervention to find out what these behaviors and issues may mean. Maybe it's nothing, maybe he is just a late bloomer and God help me I would give anything for that to be true! But the reality is that the behavior and signs he is showing is very reminiscent of some form of Autism. Amanda graduated with a degree in Social Work from one of the few accredited schools in the US. We have family and very close friends with Autistic children including her own brothers child who is nearly 10 and non-verbal violent autism. So yeah thinking about that and seeing this come closer and closer yet still not knowing what is going on has been just as scary as when he was having daily seizures if not more so. I'm not scared about myself or our family and friends and how they would treat him, I can say with certainty we wouldn't treat him any differently or feel any differently about him than we do now. But how the rest of society will treat him and his quality of life going forward..... Well that, this is the prospect that grips my heart in a frozen vice. I know worrying will accomplish nothing but as my son, I can't help but continue to worry. Come March 3rd we will be much smarter and at least knowing what is going on will help tremendously. It's been a bit scary and a bit dark at our place lately because of this and I can't begin to count the nights I've been laying awake staring at the dark ceiling. But I also know this too shall pass and a few years from now looking back in a similar situation I know things will look different, just a matter of staying strong and being the living and supportive anchor my family needs.
So as I wind down on my cigar and bourbon and come out if the fog of my head and fear I remember just how lucky and blessed I truly am. I have an amazing woman as my partner in life, a happy and successful marriage approaching 4 years married, a beautiful and amazing son, great cigars and bourbon, a supportive and wonderful family and a truly amazing community of friends and people I consider family to share it all with her at Ccom. Happy 2nd birthday Cael Brett Jarman.... Your Daddy will always love you and nothing will ever change that!
"When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."