Today is April 26th, 2012. 18 years ago today I was privileged to welcome Aidan Carruth-McKay Chick into the world. He was my first child, and quite possibly the individual most responsible for the person I am today. Not necessarily because of anything he did, but simply for just being my son. On this day, his 18th birthday, I would like to take the time to point out some things that have happened in those 18 years. Some are significant and others are very matter of fact, but ultimately they are all memories that I will never lose.
The day you were born I was a 23-year-old dumbass. I didn’t know a damn thing about what it was going to be like to watch your mother give birth. You were already about 3 weeks late and so your mom had to be induced. We had waited all day for her to go into labor, so when it finally happened I was ready to go. I can’t recall how long it took for you to pop out, but when you did it was about the most insane thing I had ever seen in my life. Thanks to the internet, it is no longer in the top 10. When the nurse pulled you out, cut the cord, and cleaned you off, you had the most ridiculous conehead. It was so bad, I thought something was wrong with you. Of course, it was completely normal, and within a couple of days you stopped looking like an alien. It was a long, hard day on your mom, but by days end, you were both resting nicely. So began the journey.
For your 6th birthday we took a trip to Dallas. This would be the first time you would meet Alicia. We drove to San Antonio for the weekend and went to Six Flags and Sea World. I still remember the fact that you were actually tall enough to ride most everything. For cryin’ out loud, you were only 6. We hit your first real roller coaster and had a blast. I still have the pic to prove it. Later we did the lazy river ride and managed to stay dry. Well, when I say we, I mean you and me. Alicia got soaked by the big bucket dump. Too bad for her. 30 minutes later we stood on the bridge at the bottom of the flume and got completely annihilated by the splash. If I had not been holding on to you, I think it would have blown your butt right off the bridge. The whole weekend went great. Our first true father/son event. Awesome.
A year and a half later, we made the first official trip to D.C. to celebrate Thanksgiving with my Moms side of the family. It was the first time I had seen my grandparents in almost 10 years, and probably 15 since I had seen my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. I was so happy to have you with me for that trip. The whole weekend was excellent and your behavior was fantastic. I could not have been a prouder Dad. When we drove back to Boston, we went at night to avoid traffic. You tried so hard to stay awake through the night, but unfortunately, you didn’t pull it off. I look back at that ride home and still remember that hilarious song parody we heard on the radio………”Put it in a frame, and hang it on the wall.” I have never been able to find that song on the internet. Man, we laughed so hard. It was perfect.
Around your 10th birthday, we decided to get a dog. After lots of searching, we had finally chosen one. In the days leading up to getting him, we had all picked a name we each liked. Alicia wanted Toby. I wanted Fenway. You wanted Dallas. We were going to decide when we got home on which name to go with. On the way back from picking him up in N.H., we had to stop at the pet store to get all the things we were going to need. While Alicia was in the back of the store, you spotted a tag maker at the front of the store. You grabbed me and told me we needed to get him a tag. I told you we couldn’t get one until we officially decided on a name. Without missing a beat, you said that you would vote for Fenway then. It made perfect sense to me, so the tag was made. When we got in line to pay and Alicia saw the tag, she wanted to know what happened to the vote. Again, without missing a beat, you said there’s no need to vote because you’re gonna lose 2 to 1 anyway. We now had a 4th member in the Chick clan. We should have named him Stupid.
Then came my wedding day. You were my best man. You looked amazing in your tux. I was so glad that I chose you. I couldn’t think of a better way to show you how much you meant to me, on the most important day of my life. Virtually everyone who attended the wedding said something positive to me about you. How mature you were being. How handsome you looked. How happy I looked to have you there, by my side. It was phenomenal. I don’t think that I had ever loved you more than I did that day. You truly made my day complete in every way, and I could not have been more elated. We were now a family.
In addition to these few specific events, there have been numerous other, but no less important memories. The day you finally figured out how to block a shot in basketball, and then proceeded to swat the crap outta every ball that any kid on the other team attempted to shoot. I thought you were a star in the making, but sports just wasn’t really up your alley. All the days of listening to you get better and faster at playing Smoke on the Water on your guitar. Then listening as you actually started having a play list of songs you knew. It saddens me that you have drifted away from the guitar. I think you were most at peace when you were playing. However, just like the sports, I never forced you to do anything you didn’t want to do. You deserve to make your own decisions, even if I don’t always agree with them.
So, now you’re 18 years old. It’s almost impossible to believe how fast you got here, but you’re here. I just want you to know that even though the road has been a little more than rough along the way, I will never judge you for being who you want to be. I just hope that you will always value my advice and won’t be afraid to ask for it…….ever. The world is what you make of it, and your word is your bond. Don’t be untrustworthy, work hard, and always be there for the people you value most, and sometimes for people you don’t even know. Loyalty is the backbone to a life well lived. I am confident that your future is bright. I am proud of you, and I love you very much. Happy Birthday.