I'd been in love before, but I'd never been loved like this.
I'd been willing to put aside my own wants and needs before, but I'd never known how easy self-sacrificing love could come.
I used to sleep.
I'd never changed a diaper before. Ever.
I'd never held a baby for more than on average 7.2 seconds before handing it off to someone else.
I'd never known how exciting it could be to create something using just popsicle sticks and pipe cleaner. (With all due respect to all residence hall programs and every Resident Assistant I've ever supervised.)
I'd never had anyone just look at me like he does, with eyes of pure trust and love.
I'd never been through a workout as strenuous and tiring as carrying a sleeping toddler through a zoo in the summer.
I'd never known how utterly [bleep]ing annoying some cartoons are (looking at you, Cailou).
I'd never known that staying up night after night to hold someone's hand and tell them it's going to be okay while giving them a rescue inhaler or breathing treatment would not be tiring in the least bit.
I'd never known that the way to quiet an unruly toddler was to play a DVD of Doctor Who.
I'd never known how truly cool sticks and rocks are.
I'd never known that the human body can truly subsist on chicken strips, French fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches if need be. Or due to an incredibly finicky palate.
I'd never known that just sitting still is apparently a biological impossibility for some.
I'd never known that just the sound of crying could hurt so much.
I'd never known that taking a bath and washing one's hair is seen as a human rights violation and requires the corresponding screams for rescue.
I'd never known that one of the two most important holidays was Fathers' Day.
I've been learning these lessons and so, so many more for than half a decade now.
Five years later, this kid still rocks my world.
Happiest of birthdays, Malakai Joseph.