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Dad Daze: Birth Daze – Milo and I have our birthday weekend

UPDATED: Sun., June 5, 2022

Milo Condran was born on June 4, 2005.
Milo Condran was born on June 4, 2005.

I offered bonuses to the hospital staff if my son Milo could have been delivered before the stroke of midnight, June 3, 17 years ago. It wasn’t surprising that my unpredictable son would make it interesting since he was the only one of four Condran children who raced to enter the world.

His sisters Jillian, 23, and Jane, 12, as sections, and his brother Eddie, 20, a 17-hour ordeal, were very different labor and delivery experiences. After entering the hospital at 9 p.m., Milo, the lone natural birth, arrived at 1:21 a.m. June 4, 2005. I thought Milo was going to be the last child, so I asked our doctor if I could take some photos as he arrived, and she gave me the green light.

The shots would make for a great album cover. I even had Milo’s cord blood collected, which resides in a bank somewhere in Arizona. It went well even though Milo missed my birthday by 81 minutes, but we’re born within the same 13-hour interval.

Milo may as well have been born on June 3 since he has usurped my birthday every year, and I’m fine with it. As I said, just hours into the dawn of his unpredictable and unrelentingly exciting life, there’s always birthday weekends.

We had one over the weekend, and time with Milo is such a pleasure now that he’s 17. My wildest child has matured dramatically during the last six months. I was reminded of that since he and I camped with friends over Memorial Day weekend that we haven’t seen in years.

A pal waxed about how after we roasted a huge swine eight years ago at a camp, Milo ran around the fire with the pig face in front of his eyes as he eventually led children out to the lake. A park ranger had to rope off an area that was overridden with copperheads since Milo was playing with one of the snakes.

But friends were surprised how reserved the always mannered Milo is these days. The kid is growing up. The birthday plan was to indulge on sushi, talk about old times and discuss his career.

We looked back at how we survived after we crashed on a boulder at Big Drop 3 on the Cataract Canyon in Utah two summers ago during a whitewater run in which we swam through that intense rapid to safety. We reminisced about Milo’s favorite baseball tournaments in Cooperstown and Texas.

And then there was the time he and Jillian skied a black diamond shortly after their first skiing lesson in a mountain just east of Pittsburgh. Milo escaped unscathed, but Jillian suffered a fall that was akin to the old Wide World of Sports “Agony of Defeat” clip.

But the chat veered toward the future. Milo has finally decided on what he would like to study in college: communications. The always curious kid is fairly certain about his career path – media relations.

“I feel like I’ve been dealing with the media my whole life because of you,” Milo said. “Sometimes, particularly after the games I play, I feel like I’m being interviewed.”

Milo said he can relate to how players are annoyed by journalists. “I could throw a complete game and win 10-1, and your first question is something like, ‘Why did you throw an 0-2 curve that hit that kid, who then stole second and scored a run?’ It’s so often like that. It’s not about the bases-clearing double I hit or how my curve was really working or how my fastball was moving. Then when you ask too many questions, I have to shut it down.

“I imagine that’s how it is with sports journalists. I would love to work for a team with that kind of job. I’m so passionate about sports, and you’ve always been passionate about journalism. What I’ve learned from you is that it’s not about money, it’s about being happy. It’s about how you look forward to Monday just as much as Saturday.”

There was no need for Milo and I to spend the weekend at a distant destination. We’ve already covered so much ground. Milo and I hit our 50th state in January during a long weekend in Alaska.

We’ve discovered that so much of life is about the journey and the hard work. “It’s all about what you do that people never see,” Milo said. “It’s about studying and working on things in the gym.”

It’s funny since I stare at Milo’s bulging calves and forearms and wonder what happened to that diminutive kid with the squeaky voice that I sometimes visit courtesy of my iCloud. That reminds me of how when my children were young, I would constantly pull out the camcorder to record those precious moments. It’s fascinating watching and even more so listening to those young voices, which drifted up into the ether.

A friend asked during our camping trip what I’ll do when Milo goes to college. Great question. Milo is looking at schools in far-flung locales as Tampa, Austin and Los Angeles. “The odds are that I’ll be at least 1,000 miles from you,” Milo said.

The weight of those words hit hard, but my children were raised to be where it’s best for them. I’m excited for Milo since an exciting future is on the horizon. We also have a trip or two planned for 2022, and we have plenty of weekends to reminisce and not take for granted the fact that we get along well.

It feels like a minor miracle since 17-year-olds can be unpredictable and ornery. “But we have so much in common,” Milo said. It’s uncanny how true that is even down to genetics. Milo’s biology instructor tapped one of his ears and asked why his ears are floppy and explained that it’s genetics.

My ears were pinned back when I was 4 years old since my parents feared that I would be prey for bullies once I entered school. While glancing at one of my early photos, Milo’s godmother arched her eyebrows. “Where did you get the retro baby clothes for Milo?” Milo even has moles in the same spot as yours truly.

“It’s like that U2 song (‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’) with the line ‘And it’s you when I look in the mirror,’ ” Milo said. “It’s funny how there are some photos from your childhood that look so much like me, but it’s even weirder how much we’re alike.”

We both are short-tempered, but don’t hold grudges. We love sports, music and film and can’t stop expressing ourselves. Milo and I don’t have the same birthday, but it feels like we have everything else. I never would have guessed that when Milo entered the world. It’s been a great ride with him, and there’s fortunately more to come.

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