The Hunter Family Chronicles (part 2)

On dec 27th a car picked us up around 10 am. I just finished up my conference call and started loading all of our luggage into the car, which was a workout in and of itself. Between having a child and packing ski clothes, it looked like we were moving out! We landed in Bozeman MT, grabbed a rental car, and headed to Big Sky. Luckily our friends had made most of the arrangements or we would have been shit out of luck. I didn’t even know where we were staying! We ended up in a really cool log cabin close to the ski lodge and quickly settled into our room in the basement. They did it right, both groceries and skis were delivered to the cabin that night and we were set for a week of skiing and relaxing…we thought.

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The guys that we were with are both good skiers. I’m not. I like skiing but we are definitely on different levels. The first day on the slopes, I tried to follow one of the guys down a steep hill and wiped out. As soon as I hit,
I felt tingling in my leg. Not a good sign. I thought I had broken it. Luckily that wasn’t the case, just a bruise. I called it a day after that run and spent a little time at the bar before my shuttle picked me up. That night Brooks ran a fever that got up to 102. At one point it looked like he was passing out in Mel’s arms. I had take him outside to cool him down. After a bath and some tylenol, he was a little better, but it was pretty scary.

My leg was killing me from my fall, so I wouldn’t have skied the next day anyway, but we took Brooks into the medical center to see what was wrong. Keep in mind I’m taking about a medical center in a town of less than 3,000 people. After examining my son and coming to the conclusion that nothing was wrong with him, the doctor decided to take it upon himself to examine my wife. When we told him that she was three months pregnant, he proceeded to rub her belly, then lift up her shirt. I get that this guys a doctor, but that’s some creepy shit to do to someone you don’t even know. Not to mention that he misdiagnosed my son and sent us away with no medicine to treat him and $190 bill.

That night we let Brooks sleep in our room and he was up ever two hours. At around 5 am he was burning up again so we gave him a bath and some more medicine. Melanie and one of the other girls were supposed to go cross country skiing the next morning. At around 8, the girl came in to check on Mel and see if they were still going. I was trying to keep her quiet because Brooks was sleeping, but I’m glad she asked me “if I knew the basement had flooded?” I jumped up and ran out into the hallway only to step into a few inches of water. Luckily Sarah had grabbed Melanie’s iPad off the floor. The place was a mess. After calling the management company, they sent a team over to take care of it. We now had giant fans and dehumidifiers running 24/7 in the basement for the rest of the trip. I ended up going out to ski with the guys for awhile that day and was able to avoid getting banged up again. Melanie and Sarah did yoga later that evening while we watched the kids.

On the morning of New Years Eve Brooks was running a fever for the third day in a row. We took him back into the medical center. Luckily we didn’t see the same creepy doctor. The new doctor immediately diagnosed him with an ear infection. Not only is this exactly what we told the other doctor what we thought it was, and what had happened in the past, but they charged us for another office visit! They said that their records showed that they had only checked for a respiratory infection last time and since this was so different, we had to pay. What a scam. It didn’t matter though, at least we had some medicine to treat him with.

Knowing that he was okay and treated, I headed to meet the guys and try my hand at snowboarding. I’ve done it before and did fine, but after two days of skiing, it was harder than I remembered. Not only was I having a hard time transitioning, but my legs were already pretty sore. It took me about an hour to get down the first slope! I only got in three runs that day and none were pretty, but I did get slightly better with each run….slightly.

When we got back that evening I jumped in the hot tub hoping to ease some of my pain. It seemed to be working. I had a great set up. I was sitting in a hot tub while it was snowing, beer in hand, with a speaker streaming Pandora from my phone. What could go wrong. When I went to get out, I was digging through my now snow covered towel to find my phone. As I picked it up, I watched my phone take a dive into the water! I was pissed. I had no phone on NYE and therefore no way to give or recieve and new year wishes. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m slightly addicted to my phone. As a matter of fact, in college, a group of friends nicknamed my phone “precious” (Lord of the Rings reference).

For our New Years Eve dinner we had live Maine lobsters flown in. Like I said, my friends did it right! We unloaded all of them on to the floor and lets Brooks and Ann check them out. My man Brooks walked right up to one, grabbed it by its shell, and picked it up. I was impressed, especially considering that I’m a big wimp when it comes to bugs and critters. My wife still makes fun of me for my attempt to grab and bait a fish hook with live shrimp! It was pretty comical. Anyways, the dinner turned out great. Our buddy Chris is a great cook. The scotch was just as good! Mel and I made it through the New Years celebrations for NYC and Chicago but threw in the towel before the New Year hit Montana. I guess we are officially lame…or just parents.

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On New Year’s Day I woke to a pleasant surprise. My phone vibrating from incoming text messages. I couldn’t believe it. My luck continued that day when I won the college football bet we had going between the three of us guys. However, it quickly ran out later that day when I found out that my Dad was in the hospital with a leaky heart valve…..

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When You Have Children, You’ll Understand

To everyone that told me that I will understand when I have children of my own, I apologize. I doubted you.

How could I have known? I never could have imagined that things would be so different. How could they possibly be? Then it happens. You realize that this child is something that you made. They are your flesh and blood and you love them more than you could have possibly fathomed.

How could I have known that I would look at my child and worry so much? I never could have imagined the emotions that are created when I see him sick or how I would do anything to make him feel better. It’s impossible to know the distance that you will go to make sure that another person is safe, until it’s your child. There are no limits. It’s been the most amazing discovery I have ever made.

My challenge will be learning not to smothering him. Even though, when he lays his head on my shoulder I never want to set him down, I know I will have to. I know he will get hurt. I know he must make his own mistakes as he grows up and learn lessons for himself. But for now, I will cherish every moment that he is my little guy and relies on me this much. I will teach him the lessons that he needs to be a good and happy person, regardless of how hard it is at that time. I could never comprehend when my parents told me that “this hurts me more than it hurts you”, until now.

To all of those lucky enough to be parents…I get it now. For those that do not yet have children…You’ll understand when you do.

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First Time Father

Fatherhood is one of those things that you just can’t prepare yourself for, no matter how much advice you get or how many times you hear that it will change your life.  On July 5, 2012, I found out just how profound this experience is when my wife gave birth to my son, Brooks Edward Hunter.  Since we didn’t know the gender of our baby, it was my job to inform the room once he was born.  At that moment of truth, I found myself speechless.   The doctor asked me multiple times to tell my wife if we had a son or daughter.  I was simply in shock.  Not because of the birthing process, but because I was experiencing the most amazing miracle life can offer, the birth of our first child.

I spoke to a good friend prior to Brooks being born.  He has two children and told me that when, not if, I wanted to talk about being a new father, to call him.  It sounded weird at the time, but I took him up on his offer within a month.  Among other things, we talked about how dads can feel left out at first.  The baby doesn’t “need” you like he needs his mother.  All of this was perfectly described in a recent article in Esquire Magazine.  We can’t feed him and don’t have that immediate connection that mothers do. That all quickly changed.

Now that my son is approaching his first birthday, I know that I am just as important to him as his mother, but in different ways. I can see how important it is for a child to have a father in their life by the way my son reactions to me.  With that realization, comes a new found responsibility.  It has always been clear that my job as a father and husband is to provide for my family, but I don’t think I grasped how big of a role a father played in a child’s life.  I am now thirty-four years old and am just coming to this conclusion.  My parents were eighteen years old when I was born.  They were just children themselves.  Understanding that now helps me appreciate how difficult it must have been for them.   Having a child, trying to do what they though was right and get married only to get divorced within a year, learning to support themselves and a newborn, all while trying to grow up themselves, must have seemed like more than anyone could handle.  With all that being said, I’ve been able to learn from their, and many others, mistakes.  My priorities in life have changed so dramatically over a year that I sometimes wonder if I’m still the same person!

I’m traveling this week for work, and this weekend, my company is sponsoring Bonnaroo with our product Island Squeeze.  I was scheduled to be there to see how things were going, along with having some fun with one of my business partners and another friend.  I had already made my travel arrangements when I mentioned this to my wife.  She reminded me that it was Fathers Day weekend, but immediately said that she had no problem with my trip…and honestly meant it.  She also said,  “Its your day, so you can spend it however you want.”  I thought about this statement that evening.  I realized that I couldn’t imagine spending my first Fathers Day without my son.  Not because it seems like that is what I am supposed to do, but because it is exactly what I want to do.  Anyone that has children may think that this is all common sense, but for a first time father, this is all new.  I quickly changed my travel plans so that I can get back on Saturday and spend the entire day, Fathers Day, exactly how I want…with my son!

Brooks sporting the new hat he got from his Grandma DD
Brooks sporting the new hat he got from his Grandma DD