April 15, 2011
I cannot believe that it is 22 years since I first laid eyes on you and held you in my arms. Seems like yesterday that you first looked into my eyes as if to say “Daddy, the shit is about to hit the fan!” On this joyous day, I present 11 (“this one goes to 11”) of my favorite Allie/Daddy moments (and there so many to choose from) in chronological order:
1. The Summer of 1991 – You are 2+ years old and I take you to see 101 Dalmatians (the original animated version) in Westfield. About midway through the movie, most of the kids are either sleeping, crying, running around or just being annoying. However, you sit transfixed by the action on the screen and this is the first of many great movie moments you and I share.
2. Christmas Week 1991 – It is a couple of weeks before the arrival of your little brother and we take you to see Peter Pan on Broadway, 12th row, center orchestra. At the end of the show, Peter flies out into the audience sprinkling fairy dust along the way, 80% of which lands on your head (or so it seems). The look on your face at that moment was one I wish I could have captured for all time. This Broadway moment is followed closely by the first time we saw Les Miz (“it’s really good but I really want to see Rent”), seeing Showboat (just so grandma Ina could sing you “All Man Rivah”) and the multiple times we did see Rent.
3. April 1, 1996 – Our beloved Orangeman make the NCAA finals in basketball only to lose to Kentucky. Zach and your mother both sleep through the game but you watch the whole game with me. Take that Sean Keeley!
4. June 1999 – At 10 o’clock on a Friday night, you and I go see Notting Hill. You were so excited to be out late seeing a movie (not that you were going to sleep before midnight anyway). I still text you every time it’s on.
5. August 1999 – After an alumni weekend at Camp Lenox, you announce that’s where you want to go to camp next summer. A day later, while walking around the Berkshire Outlets in Lee, your explanation to me on why you now want to go to Lenox after 3 summers at Camp Harlam (a reform Jewish camp in the Poconos), concludes with the now classic “besides, you and mom are doing a really good job with this Jewish thing.” Oy, I could kvell!
6. November 2000 – On our last day in Orlando before heading down to Boynton Beach for Thanksgiving, we spend the day at Sea World where they had recently opened Kraken, a floorless looping roller coaster. It would be your first upside down roller coaster ride. After much trepidation (that would be mine), we take the plunge…or should I say plunges. I can still hear the screaming (mine again). So happy to be part of another moment when you got in touch with your inner daredevil.
7. April 20, 2002 – Your bat mitzvah. My favorite part was listening to you as you led the service, said all your prayers and delivered your sermon, and you did it all….slowly. Made Rabbi Greene especially happy. And once again, mom and I apologize for making you miss Cotton Eyed Joe while we took pictures.
8. August 2004 – I make a surprise visit to Camp Lenox on awards night to present you with your 5 year jacket. I know, a real kleenex moment. That night, Color War breaks out and I’m there when you and Zach both get voted as Color War Captains. I’m supposed to stay over but I’m so pumped that I end up leaving camp at 10:45 PM to drive home and I still can’t get to sleep once the trip is over.
9. April 2006 – In your junior year of HS, the decision is made…Go Orange or Go Bust and the Berkowitz “one college application per child” tradition is born. The “perfect world” scenario we discussed on the drive home from SU that days seems to have worked out quite nicely.
10. August 2007 – The Berkowitz family makes their official return to Syracuse…and you are in Sadler Hall to boot. You’ve always looked right at home (most of the time), so happy (most of the time) and completely adjusted to college life (most of the time). But best of all, we didn’t have to buy you a new college wardrobe.
11. February 25, 2010 – Not that I didn’t know this already but if there were ever any doubts that you are indeed my child, they were all put to rest by your performance that night at the Verizon Center when SU beat Georgetown, followed by your excellent work for TheNewshouse.com describing the whole event: http://tinyurl.com/yzr7l6t. Just f’in awesome! Oh and the victory was nice to.
The Big Bonus Moment – April 15, 1989 – Alexandra Hope Berkowitz is born. She is healthy, has a shock of jet black hair (hence her first nickname “Spike” given to her by her cousin Andrew) and is shockingly calm and quiet, considering what is about to come.
Now Allie, I’m about to tell you (and anyone else that reads this) something I don’t think I have ever told anyone before, not even your mother. The night you were born, it was raining as I left Lenox Hill Hospital but I don’t think I noticed. I just walked in the rain until I found myself on 5th Avenue on the edge of Central Park. I was wet from the rain and from the tears that were streaming down my face. I couldn’t tell you if I was happy or sad; I just think I was scared shitless about being a dad. What I can tell you is that your mom’s and my life changed completely that day and I can’t think of anything that would have my life better over these last 22 years.
I think Cori said it best when I asked what it was like being your counselor: “I spent the first 2 weeks trying to figure out how I was going to live with this child, I’ll spend the rest of the summer trying to figure out how I’m going to live without her.” Luckily for me, I never have to face that decision.
Hugs and kisses galore on your 22nd birthday!
P.S. Snoochie boochie!