I remember the 3 days my wife and son were at the hospital in the wake of his birth and my travels back and forth and my visits with them and the nurses. It was a very exciting time with visits from family and friends and although it was some time ago it feels like it just only happened as I think back to this very special time. As expecting new parents we had prepared the room where he would sleep and had a beautiful crib selected and a baby changing station and little baby toys to arouse his curiosity. We wanted everything to be perfect and we wanted to always be prepared for the demands and joys of parenthood. I looked into our baby’s room one more time before I left to pick my wife and son up and was feeling quite emotional. It was Friday morning, December 11th 1998 and it was a bright sunny day with a prewinter season chill in the air. I readied the baby car seat in the middle nestled between where my wife and mother in law would sit in the back. I made sure it was anchored securely and that our son would be comfortable and safe as well as my wife and mother in law. I had a cup of hot chocolate that I drank at the kitchen table with my dad before I left. I was excited and nervous all at the same time and my dad gave me words of encouragement as he always had and I always enjoyed seeking advice from him. He had a lot of wisdom and he always was a caring and loving father and I wanted to exhibit those same qualities in raising my son. I know my dad missed his wife as she had passed 8 years earlier and I would never have the opportunity of sharing my son’s birth and development with her and I felt sad about that. Well it was now time to head for the hospital and I gave my dad a handshake and left with my music cd playing beautiful Christmas music. I was getting used to this routine of driving to the hospital and walking over to maternity. I was prepared and ready and feeling good. As a new father you find yourself in uncharted territory and approach each day as a new learning experience. As I headed to my wife’s room one more time it was now a reality that we were readying to bring our precious baby home and I saw the nurse talking with my wife as she was holding Matthew all dressesd and ready to go. It was very comforting knowing how well cared for my wife and son were by the nurses and medical staff. We were very fortunate and were informed of the necessary follow up visits with both the pediatrician and my wife’s Ob/Gyn. I was greeted by the nurse as she continued her conversation with my wife concerning the days and weeks immediately following childbirth and being instructed on how to breastfeed and other related mother-baby issues that men are not always well informed about. I listened in and tried to gleam some knowledge from it. I gathered my wife’s belongings and the gifts, cards and flowers that were given to us in addition to the hospital’s gift of diapers and baby formula. I had to make a 2nd trip to pick up the remaining gifts and was instructed to bring the car around to the back entrance of the hospital where my wife and son would be waiting. As I approached the entrance I waited a few minutes but felt I may have driven to the wrong side so I drove to the other side and as I approached I saw my wife cradling our son. I waited as a nurse escorted her and Matthew to the car and I swung the belt up from the baby seat as we gently placed him in the seat and properly secured him inside. The nurse peeked in and placed a blanket over Matthew as Maria readied herself inside sitting next to him and she glanced over to me and then to my wife and son and said congratulations and good luck. We thanked her and headed home. I drove very carefully as this was my first time driving with a baby and new mother and I wanted to make sure mother and baby were safe. I prepared for this in my mind as well and knew we would be driving many many more times together as a young family. As I approached the acceleration entrance of the parkway I made sure I drove in the right lane and was aware of all around me. I was relieved to make the trip home safely and placed the car in park and ran to open the door for my wife and remove Matthew from the baby seat very carefully. I was really holding him for only a few times before and never outside so I made sure I was holding him securely and walked my wife and baby up to the door and placed him in her arms to bring him inside as I went to bring in all the gifts. Dad greeted us and exclaimed great to have you all home safely. He was so delighted to see Matthew and said he is so cute. It was nice to be home and now together as a family!