When Zach was born in 1997, I had just finished up my sophomore year of college at Ohio University, and my brothers and sisters were still having kids at the rate of about one a year so I guess to me, it was cool but nothing out of the ordinary. I was a young college kid--there was no social media, I'm sure I got a phone call or something from someone but I can't even recall if we could email photos back then. My point being, although I am sure I met him as a baby, try as I might, my first memory of Zach isn't until he was about three or four.
Jay and I went to Maryland to visit with our college friends and Dan and Susie and family in the summer of 2000 or 2001. Although I did my fair share of babysitting when I was younger, and I had lots of nieces and nephews, I wasn't around little kids regularly and even more foreign to me were these kids, just because of the distance separating us. Nonetheless, we were excited to stay the night and enjoy some time together.
I remember sitting in their old living room, and Anna and Ben were around, talking to us when we arrived, but Zach was still upstairs. After a while, Zach appeared, walking down the steps with one of those fake noses and glasses disguises, and he said "hi" but he didn't really want to talk. Susie told me he was shy and wanted to be called by a name other than Zach, though I forget what it was.
"Okay," I thought, "This is weird, but what do I know about kids?" So we sat down with them and eventually Zach impressed Jay with his love of Star Wars and legos and I kind of let them be in their own little world of boy stuff. I assumed he'd outgrow it one day--and boy did he.
Years later, I had my own kids, and they both went through shy phases and phases of not wanting to be with strangers. But I always remember the kid in the fake nose and glasses and I think about what he taught me about how kids don't always do what you want, when you want, but if you're patient, they come around eventually.