February 1st is my favorite day of the year.
That might seem odd–it’s not a national holiday, and it’s not my birthday, or Lisa or Elliana’s.
It is not a day that is recognized for its significance in any history book.
24 years ago today February 1st changed my life.
Lisa and I were still living in Port Washington, Long Island in the second story of a blue faced red roofed two story house next to the public library.
We had just enjoyed a fall leaf spectacular on the tree lined street we lived on, Locust Avenue, and loved walking the four or five blocks to do laundry in the crisp fall air. Lisa would crunch through the leaves piled into the edges of the sidewalks and loved every minute we spent outdoors with her cheeks red and the blustery wind tousling her auburn hair.
The magic of waking up one morning a few months later to the whisper of snow flakes was a new experience for me; for Lisa it was like reliving her childhood growing up in Buffalo.
I was content writing my screenplays while working as a school bus driver after my career on Broadway didn’t take off, and Lisa had finally stopped starving herself in New York City after getting offered her first escort job (which she promptly rejected and quit her agency and modeling altogether).
I knew I had a hit movie in me and was writing constantly, and Lisa was actually dabbling in writing children’s books, while working as a bus monitor and helping out at a local kindergarten class.
We were poor, but blissfully happy together.
Then one morning, Lisa woke up with a furrowed eyebrow.
I didn’t know what she was talking about, but I knew something was brewing. She had a look on her face that said big changes were about to happen. The last time I’d seen it, we ended up moving to New York City.
“Are we just going to live together forever? Just be boyfriend and girlfriend?”
A few months later, we picked out an engagement ring. I worked a couple of extra jobs to pay it off, but I still didn’t know when, or how I was going to ask her.
It was January and I knew that she was expecting a Valentine’s Day proposal.
I hate cliches, and I didn’t want our proposal day to be shared with millions of other February 14th weddings and proposals, so I decided on February 1st.
Port Washington had a little park by the water, Sunset Park, where we would sit and watch sunsets, ponder our future, or at night just watch the moon dance on the water.
There was a Greek restaurant we’d go to at least once a month when we scrounged together enough money to eat out, so I figured we’d eat there, and then I’d propose by the water.
When February 1st hit, I was nervous as hell. All through dinner Lisa kept asking me what was wrong with me.
She looked at me like I was insane when I asked her if she wanted to go down by the water. It was about 20 degrees outside, but I was insistent, and she loved walking in the cold air.
When we finally got to our bench, I tried my best to come up with something eloquent, but ended up stumbling around with “You know how much I love you…” when Lisa smiled at me.
“Aren’t you going to get down on your knee?”
I planted my knee on the freezing cold cement and proposed. She said yes, and we raced back up the hill to get in from the cold.
We were no longer nothing.
Flash forward to February 1st, 2002.
I was dreading the phone call from St. Barnabas fertility clinic. Just a few months before, we’d gotten the big fat negative call on our fresh embryo transfer. After spending nearly 3 weeks in post 9/11 New Jersey, amid the anthrax scares and smouldering remains of the twin towers, and pretty much using up the rest of our financial resources, and most of our emotional and spiritual energy, I wondered if we could make the trip back.
We had two frozen embryos left, and had flown back to New Jersey to get those embryos into Lisa’s womb for one last shot at our biological baby.
When the phone rang, I held my breath.
For six years, we’d gotten these calls and 11 times the news had been either no, or yes, but….
This time it was positive. Not just a little either. This was a high beta, might be twins, hormones off the chart, no friggin doubt about it positive.
11 years later, what does February 1st hold for us?
I am on a new journey now, with Lisa and our formerly frozen embryo Elliana.
We attended Resolve’s Night of Hope fundraiser in New York City the day after Elliana’s 10th birthday, and being there again–with the living, breathing result of our February 1st, 2002 milestone was surreal.
I had just published Almost A Father.
Lisa had just gone from a size 16 to a size 6 in the six months prior to Night of Hope, and has been breaking the chain of health problems that have plagued her since the emergency C-section that brought Elliana into our world.
Elliana, who just a year before was complaining about the way her body looked in dance class, is vying for a solo in dance competition and wowing her teachers with her sudden energy and determination, with the guidance of her inspiring mommy.
Elliana has also joined Lisa and I in our writing and advocacy pursuits, as she has become a part of Almost A Father blog contributions.
I never imagined that Almost A Father would evolve into a family event.
I never imagined I could write every single day, and absolutely love it.
I never imagined that Almost A Father would become the catalyst for us to develop a voice as a family.
All because on February 1st, 1989 Lisa said yes.
And on February 1st, 2002, the pregnancy test said yes.
February 1st, 2013.
I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Happy February 1st to the loves of my life.
My cup runneth over.