I came to realize that these photographs of my son were about my days - through the lens his birth gave me into the mechanics of life. He made me a father; I made him a son. All of this: these words, these photographs, everyone on this mailing list - is ancient history to him. It never happened.

My present is his history. The sentence on the screen is like cold water on the face, an insult to the richness of my days. I begin to recognize a new, more compelling reason why some people don't want children: his arrival signals my departure.

But there's more to it, isn't there? Inside all this there's something wonderful, something that words can't describe, the feeling of a root structure burrowing deeper, stretching further under than the branches above would suggest. Something about the way of things, about being connected to something simultaneously tiny and huge, beautiful and terrifying.

once in a lifetime.