As I reviewed the photos and wrote the words for this post, I could not help myself. I cried like a heartbroken teenager. So many memories of so many moments, but they all seem like they just happened yesterday.

Eighteen years ago, a nurse handed us a 7 pound 6 oz sack of flesh and wished us luck. Seriously! The only instruction received was some minimal advice to my wife on how to express organic baby formula from her breasts. Oh, I got some help with the baby seat.

So we looked at each other with a look that expressed complete and utter dread. We knew we were supposed to feed, cloth and love this thing with every fibre of our being. Any regret we had was dashed away with every breath he — oh yeah the thing was a small male person — took. Nature had filled our brains with s rush of hormones that made it nigh impossible to dislike the thing.

It was a cruel joke. The thing — we decided at the hospital to name it Shaan — refused to eat and a few weeks later we took it — I mean Shaan — back to the hospital. He had developed a skin colour more akin to a Star Trek alien than a human youngling. We spent 48 hours in the ICU while the doctors tuned his system.

I knew then that that would be the worst moments of my life and that if Bhavna and I could weather that, then the rest would be a piece of cake. After all, we were never really doing this alone.

He was surrounded by knights ready to protect from the dangers of life, wizards, and witches who could heal any injury with a kiss, seers who would teach you about the wonders of the universe, and jesters ready to entertain at a moment’s notice.

Mehta, Patel, Raval, Williams Family
Mehta, Patel, Raval, Williams Family
Mehta, Patel, Raval, Williams Family
Mehta, Patel, Raval, Williams Family

We were given eighteen years. Eighteen years to take a lump of human flesh and turn it into a human being. We didn’t always do our best. We made mistakes.

In our trying to make him perfect, sometimes our words and action left scratches, and we hope the dents can be smoothed out over time.

Fortunately, he had an in-house advocate who was always by his side. She kept us honest. She jokes that she’s his twin.

But the mistake was in the trying. You see, our son was born perfect. He was given to us fully formed. Complete. His care was given over to us for those eighteen years so we could share him with you.

Thank you all.

And so to you, my baby boy — you’ll forever be our baby — I want to thank you. Thank you for challenging me in ways more rewarding than any career; for reminding me daily about the wonders of the world; for allowing us to be vulnerable enough to put our love out into the world.

I know that you will do great things with your life.

If I had just one wish
Only one demand
I hope he’s not like me
I hope he understands
That he can take this life
And hold it by the hand
And he can greet the world
With arms wide open

Shaan, Tae Kwon Do
S. Williams

2 thoughts on “Shaan Joshua Aaron Williams is Eighteen today

    • He’s off to the Honors College at Rutgers University. My wife and I are excited and sad at the same time. But he’ll be just a 30-minute train ride from home.

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