Throwback Thursday: Vinny fighting for his life

Vinny learned to fight at a young age. We all did.

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The first thing I remember is how blue and gray my son’s face was. 

It didn’t look natural or alright, and after the color didn’t go away, Vinny went to the Children’s Hospital clinic. I was at a work function and waited for the call. As parents, you are programmed to think about the worst and hope for the best. The text message and phone call I got fell directly into the worst category.

Vinny was being rushed to the hospital via the ambulance. The color in his face wasn’t good at all and something was wrong with his heart. For some reason, his heart rate was doing a raw impersonation of Jackie Joyner Kersee. It was reaching 300 beats per minute, which is very bad.

Right away, my adrenaline spiked. A friend of mine, Eric Moore, drove me back to the warehouse, and then I drove to Children’s Hospital off Kingshighway. I honestly can’t tell you if I obeyed traffic laws or even thought about other cars, or the possibility of the police. I just got there, like I was driving the Delorean.  Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Vinny fighting for his life”

Vincent Buffa: The Four Year Old Beast of Burden

Today, my son turned 4. I think back on the years of being a dad.

100_0267What a face!

My son Vincent just pissed on the carpet and his expression was priceless. “Hey dad, just had an accident but I wasn’t going to alert you or anything. At least not until this stain was pretty established.”

This is parenthood. Today, Vinny turned four years old. Or young. Or strong. Whatever the new way of age description is. He got here through a hail of cheez-it’s, juice boxes, bacon, shit stains, smiles, cries, fake outs and lots of pee. He’s taught me more things than any other human being could possibly aspire to. He’s made me rethink many decisions. Vin has personally given me headaches and added a gorilla sized boulder of stress to my existence. Kids are the ultimate test. Have one and find out.

I’m sorry if I haven’t dipped this post in sappy melodrama yet. Sorry if I haven’t released the obvious fact that he is the best thing that ever happened to me and blah blah blah. You know, where ladies will gets the feels and the men will salute me while thinking, “Fuck that idea”.

Four years ago, my wife Rachel and I were at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. Passing the 30 hour mark of labor, blood, sweat and tears, it was time. Our doctor finally listened to my wife’s demands. The baby was coming. Forget the forecast for a later arrival. This plane was fucking landing right now. She came into the room, gave it look and with a few holy shit looks on her face, snapped into action. Like Peyton Manning coming to the line of scrimmage in the red zone, our doctor walked up to my wife’s spread open legs and then took a few steps back. It was like she was calling an audible. More people please, this bitch ain’t lying. I was escorted out of the room and back in. The moment of truth came upon me, and I had no idea what to do with my hands and my feet were losing feeling.

I think I shifted to the side of the room where there weren’t six nurses and other people whose faces I could only see half of. After a few grunts, shouts and come on’s, Vinny flew out like a rushed snap into the doctor’s arms. He was rushed over to the table to be wiped, checked, poked, slapped and examined in every way possible. I guess everybody in the room had seen Aliens and were just being cautious. I mean, my wife and I are Italian so anything is possible.

I looked at Vinny but went over to my wife to check her out. I mean, she had just given birth to a human. I think in a few looks, I gave her a telepathic “atta girl” and went back to the table to see about my son. He was pissed. After all, he was pulled out of a warm, cozy, temperature controlled human oven. So nice and easy. Now he was out and about. Weird smells, air, people and sights. What the fuck!? He looked at me and screamed. He looked at everybody else and screamed. He was pissed. And naked. I think I cut something and then Vin was taken over to Rachel.

You know the interviews with hockey players RIGHT after they leave the ice. Reporters asking them questions and they just left the ice. This is what that was like. Rachel being handed the baby while family members walked in and doctors asked her questions. She had no idea what to say. She just wanted to hold her baby.

The first few months were surreal and full of panic and obstacles. Then Vinny went into the hospital with SVT which was caused by Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome. It causes an extra electrical(no my son is not an Avenger) pathway between his heart’s upper chambers and lower chambers, thus speeding up the heart rate from a normal 115-120 to a crazy 290. He was in the hospital for little bit. He got out. And then he went back in for a stomach condition, caused by a more common and less “holy shit” problem called pyloric stenosis, which turns your digestive hole from a required dime sized entry way into a pencil tip. He got out of the hospital afterwards and has been healthy ever since, save for the common cold and fever here and there. That and occasionally being an asshole.

What can I say? Parenthood kicks your ass six ways from Sunday. In the four years since Vin arrived, my family has experienced a lot of things. My grandma died. I lost my job twice. My wife got a great job. We moved. Money problems have beaten us up. We aren’t in St. Louis anymore and I had a crisis of conscious over the winter that nearly wrecked everything. Since, the ship has been righted and things are better.

Still, my son is pissing on carpets, a symptom he has collected from being in between schools and right at the edge of being potty trained. He hasn’t taken a huge dump on my face so there is that. However, piss doesn’t come out of carpets so well so pardon me if this got a supporting actor credit in this post. For portions of Vinny’s life due to travel, moving or shit schools, he has been home with me. Two wild peas in a pod. Vin and I are a married couple in ourselves. We shout at each other, hug and kiss each other, and hang out. All inside five minutes. After seeing me five minutes before, Vin tells me he misses me a lot. It’s the age of anything goes.

I’ll tell you this. Parenthood is hard work but worth it in the end. As much as it seems incomprehensible at this moment, I am going to miss this age when I am teaching him how to throw a baseball, to shave, and how to drive me to get coffee. I am going to miss the days where all we had to think about was what pair of pants needed to be worn and which Transformers movie we were going to watch(Fuck you Michael Bay). These days of 1, 2, 3 and 4 years old are going to be gone the minute he starts to truly think for himself.

He won’t be small forever so I must enjoy these days. Everybody tells me that. Be thankful you get these moments. As much as I want to shove my piss smelling hands in their faces and show them the knot inside my forehead which creates headaches, they are right. Most parents don’t get this. They see their kids for 2-3 hours tops. Some parents are in the armed forces, overseas or just away. I am lucky yet fried at the same time. It’s great really. No, really!

One day, as far off as it seems now, Vin will want to craft his escape from the Buffa household and start a life and family of his own. I will be sad then. My wife and I will be alone. No more madness. I try to remember this when we are looking at each other in a grocery store parking lot like two clueless defensive coordinators trying to stop the Vin attack. I try to tell myself I better soak this shit up because one day, Vin will be on his own.

On September 14th, around 4:50 in the afternoon, Vincent Daniel Buffa was born. Four years later, he is a beast of burden that makes this guy proud.

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*Sorry I said fuck so much for the people who love God and shit.

Father/Son At Busch Stadium: Volume 1

Vin’s first real experience at Busch.

photoWhen people ask me about taking my son, Vincent, to a game and what it is like, I have an answer automatically. It’s like being the manager of a rookie pitcher on the mound. You don’t know what is going to happen but you hope for the best and by the end of the night, for your mood to not lose out to your nerve. Vincent is 2.5 years old, and he turns 3 in September. He is a little beast, all power and a little scrap. He is 37 pounds and stands a little above 3 feet tall. On Tuesday night, I took my wife, Rachel, and Vinny to the game. The Cardinals were playing the Pirates. When a pregame interview I had set up got cancelled at the last minute, a couple hours opened up before game time.

We stopped in Ballpark Village and got a taste of the Hall of Fame Museum. My son stared up at the Hall Of Fame plagues of Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean and Ozzie Smith with an intriguing glare that ended with this statement…”baseball, daddy”. For the entire visit to Ballpark Village, my son kept saying baseball. Basically, dad, all this historical stuff is nice and will have a bigger meaning when I am older but right now I want to see Fredbird, watch some baseball and say hello to the other 35,000 people at Busch Stadium.

In case you didn’t notice or guess, my son is a people’s person. He wants to stand up on his seat, turn around and talk to people behind him. He wants to say hello to strangers. He wants life, in general. This was Vinny’s 4th or 5th game but the first one where he seemed to really have some fun.

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As the pregame cermonies started, he sat there and asked nicely if he could go on the field. The answer was no. I am sure the security guards wouldn’t stop him but they would arrest me so it wasn’t happening. He then asked if we could go home. NO! For the first time in a public place, though, I noticed my son being patient. He watched the field. He looked at the sky. He scanned the crowd. He ate three cheese sticks, 2 bags of chips and a couple pretzels. Suddenly, the game started and he was ready. He looked like me with a glee that one couldn’t possibly explain with words.

Remember how I said in the beginning that taking your child to a game is like being a manager and watching your rookie pitcher take the mound. Here’s why.

Continue reading “Father/Son At Busch Stadium: Volume 1”