I know what I was doing on this exact day five years ago. I was living in a tent somewhere in north-central Colorado working two jobs at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. The original job was pushing a giant wooden swing all day, but I quickly picked up a second job (because money is good) working nights as a security guard (resulting in about 48 straight hours of work per weekend). It was only the second or third weekend very late on a Saturday night when my brother Spencer called me to tell me that his wife Brianne had gone into labour. I spent the next several hours worrying about my sister-in-law and my soon-to-be-nephew. Spence and I spoke several times, the last of which was past midnight and it was him making the call saying that the boy was born, both mother and child were healthy, and that they had decided to name him Connor Ashton Proffitt . . . the middle name in honour of me.

That was it. I had to get my butt back down to Arizona. Unfortunately I couldn’t just bail on my partner, Taz, so I stayed the rest of the Sunday, pushing the swing and all. I left as soon as the day was over and drove south to Colorado Springs where I slept for a few hours at Meggan Ladewig’s flat. She was thrilled for Spencer as well and sent me on my way armed with sugar and caffeine. I drove the 14 hours and 1000 miles straight; stopping only for gas, the toilet, and once for the cops who were not moved by my excuse that we had just had an addition to the family. I didn’t arrive until the sun was already back down in Mesa on Monday the 12th, and I only paused long enough at my parent’s house to almost wreck my car in the garage (what can I say? I was exhausted and was even still wearing my Faire clothes) and to discover that Brie had already been discharged from the hospital. I then set off again (once I had finally extricated my car from the garage) for Spence and Brie’s house in Gilbert. I got there safely and with shaking hands knocked on the door.

I was greeted at the door by my brother who was wearing a giant (if exhausted) grin. He invited me in and that is when I first saw my namesake. He was in that state that only newborns have where you can’t be sure if he’s asleep or so overwhelmed by his new surroundings that he’s trying to play dead or something. In a remarkable show of trust I was allowed to hold him right then. It was the single most amazing moment in my life. My Dad has told the story over and over again of the first time he held me and about how tiny I was (LONG time ago!) . . . and for the first time I could start to understand him. In all humilty and honesty, I can say that my nephew was the most beautiful baby ever born, and over the next several days the number of times he fell asleep on my chest just cemented in my heart my determination to always protect him no matter what.

That was five years ago. Connor turns five years old today, and though considerably less easy to carry around (and toss in the air as his father did so often [because I would never do something like that!]), he’s every bit as cute. I’ve been a bit lax in the constant vigilance department, but it can be hard from 6000 miles away. Anyway, the point is that I would like to wish the young Mr. Proffitt a very happy birthday. I’m told he’s already been to the beach to play and I’m jealous already!

. . . not the least of which because I just got a call and it appears I’ll be heading into work even earlier than usual! Happy Birthday, Bug, and I’ll see you sometime soon!

Love,
Uncle Ash

Slainte.

Happy Birthday, UH!
Happy Birthday, UH!
All the world’s in dark despair,
People dying everywhere.
BUT!
Happy Birthday, UH!
~Renaissance Festival Birthday Song

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