The greatest day of my life was the one when Maddie was born and came out crying with a shock of (ephemeral) dark hair ala her old man.

Then when she came home from the NICU after 68 days clad in an adorable dress and I said, “Holy cow! I have a little girl living in my home! Can I move an inch to the left? To the right? What can I do to make all cool with my tiny little angel?” I eventually figured this out.

Then on Father’s Day last year when I held her in my arms and gave her thousands of kisses.

Then when she had her second Christmas up North and opened presents with her mom, dad, cousins and grandparents.  And Daddy kissed her a million times. She was so happy…

Then in Arizona this March – if you look hard enough you can find a video where she LOVES her cousins for jumping from bed to bed in the hotel room. She so WANTED to be like them…after she died her four-year-old cousin asked me about Maddie being “lost” and how we could find her and I had to just walk away. 

Perhaps the best day was one of the ones during our last weekend together. Those were great. I will have to figure out where those fit into the ratings.

But you know what? The best day of my life was every one of those seventeen months I was blessed to know her. Every day was the best, clearly, because every day without her is so awful. Sorry if that is depressing…anyway….moving on… 

My life with Heather before Maddie was pretty awesome too….the day we met…our wedding day….on a beach in Fiji on our Honeymoon, etc. Damn…our ETC’s were pretty kick ass.

ANYHOO…

If you take Heather and Maddie out of things the best day ever to happen to me NOT INCLUDING MADDIE AND HEATHER is surprisingly…

…NOT…

A)  The first time I had sex. Sorry, Miss (not to be named). You were cool and all, but still not the best moment ever.

B) Hitting the first home run in my high school’s history. It was awesome, yes, and when my teammates mobbed me at home plate afterward it was a great moment. Still…eh.

C) Hearing I got into USC film school…this is tainted by the fact that despite beating out 99% of applicants only one of my 24 classmates is actually making a living as a filmmaker.

SO WHAT WAS THE BEST DAY EVER EXCLUDING MY FAMILY?

The best day of my life was when the Beatles’ Anthology played on TV back in 1995 and they debuted the reunion track “Free as a Bird.”  For those who don’t know, Paul, George and Ringo took a demo John had recorded in his home in the late Seventies prior to being murdered and finished it in the studio in the early Nineties. The resulting track blew me away. To hear a new Beatles song as a dude born five years after they broke up was amazing. To hear a new Beatles’ track 15 years after John was even more amazing!

Now I know many people dissed the song because John’s voice was distant (since he recorded it on a tape recorder alone in his room before he died) or because the song just wasn’t what they hoped for… but I loved it. Making a “NEW BEATLES SONG!” twenty-five years after the band broke up and 15 years after John died was a tall order, but I loved it from Ringo’s opening drum fill to the silly ukelele ending. No, it was not as catchy as their earlier stuff…but they all had grown more pensive as time went on and they were older. Honestly, I didn’t want to hear “Love Me Do” from John at forty and the other lads in their fifties. What we heard was them as they were at the time…older men who saw life wasn’t all “yeah, yeah, yeah.” Ringo drummed awesome, George played slide guitar as no one has since, and Paul did what Paul does…added sublime harmonies and bass and piano and guitar and who knows what else.

Anyhoo…despite this song’s grungy and sad tone it never struck me as sad…just joyful. This was the Beatles’ reunion! Anyway, recently I heard it again and it finally struck me how sad this song was.

The verses John wrote were about someone discussing how wonderful home and family was, but clearly he was a bird (metaphorically) far away from home.

And then the bridge written by Paul and George arrives:

“Whatever happened to the life that we once knew?
Can we really live without each other?
Where did we lose the touch?
It seemed to mean so much
Always made me feel so…free as a bird”

When I heard this again I couldn’t help but cry. The joy was gone.

“Whatever happend to the life that we once knew? Can we really live without each other?

I don’t know.

I really don’t know what happened to the life we once knew, and I don’t know how I can live without Maddie. It did always make me feel so free…