At 25 years old, I’m now a father to two children — a one-year-old and a one-week-old. 

Typing that sentence alone was tiresome, yet exciting. Can someone pinch me? I know I’m not dreaming, but I may have fallen asleep again — we’ve lost a lot of sleep.

My wife, Kelly, gave birth to our precious daughter, Opal Mae, on Wednesday, April 22, at 2:19 p.m. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 19 inches long. She wears a lovely crown of dark brown hair and has a tiny birthmark on her back. 

She’s a precious gem, no doubt, and she has changed our lives immediately. I’m not sure how my parents handled raising twins (my older brothers are twins), but I think I have an idea now. With our children at just under 13 months apart, Kelly and I are in for a wild ride over the next few weeks, months and years.

We adore Opal Mae so much already, and her big brother, Eli, does too. He’s been sweet to her, already trying to share toys with her and pet her, but we just hope this endearment lasts.

People say having two children close together could be a great thing for them, saying they’ll have a close relationship, but I’m skeptical. My brothers were womb-mates, yet they still couldn’t get along while growing up. Maybe Eli and Opal Mae will surprise us.

Opal’s delivery was quick and easy with the help of Dr. Melvin Thornbury and the staff of Marshall Medical Center South. We can’t thank them enough for the excellent care they provided.

There were many similarities to when Eli was born; however, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of our experience with Opal Mae was quite different.

Besides nurses checking in, I was her only visitor — an ongoing policy the hospital put into place weeks ago.

It was heartbreaking to not share the experience with our family in person, but we were able to ease the pain by sending excessive amounts of photos to everyone and even video chat with our parents.

Instead of being surrounded by a room full of family and friends, we were swaddled in a blanket of eerie stillness, until Opal Mae would cry, of course. It was odd, to say the least, but it was also kind of nice. It was peaceful to just sit and get to know our sweet daughter without dozens of people clamoring to hold her.

Once we returned home from the hospital, members of our family were able to safely meet Opal Mae, and we enjoyed every minute. Many have been so kind to prepare us food and bring gifts, but we are also grateful for all the thoughts and prayers sent our way — they’re needed now more than ever.

During a time when sickness abounds and all hope has been seemingly lost, I praise God for watching over me and blessing me with such a healthy, beautiful family.

Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at taylor.beck@sandmountainreporter.com.

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