Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Family celebrates Father’s Day every day

Bruce Pylant holds his son Ozzy (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)
Bruce Pylant holds his son Ozzy. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Sometimes, when fate forces you to, you celebrate Father’s Day when you’re able and not by the date on a calendar.

That’s especially true for the fathers who serve in the Navy and the other branches of the armed services.

For the Pylant family, Bruce – a Petty Officer First Class in the Navy, Alexandria (Alex), and baby Oscar (aka Ozzy), Father’s Day 2017 was baby Ozzy’s first, but this year’s will be their first together.

Last year on Father’s Day, Bruce was out to sea on the USS George H.W. Bush. But that’s not all. Making it a double-whammy, he was deployed when Ozzy was born on May 10.

“While Bruce was gone, especially on his first Father’s Day, I tried to make it special,” Alex said. “Even though he hadn’t met Oscar yet, I took special photos of the baby and posted them on his Facebook page and emailed them.”

She said although Bruce technically had his first Father’s Day in June on the ship, she considers his first Father’s Day to have been when he met his son for the first time when he returned home from deployment in July.

“When Ozzy and I were waiting at the airport to meet Bruce, I was so nervous. I was nervous about him coming home the whole time he was gone. I wanted the transition for him to be as smooth as possible,” Alex said.

In addition to the adjustment time needed following deployment, Ozzy’s birth had not gone exactly according to plan.

“The most difficult part for me was knowing what Bruce was missing,” she said. “Like all of the little alien-like movements you could see the baby making in my belly at the end of the pregnancy and of course, the birth and our baby’s first months of life.”

The Pylant family, Bruce, Alex, and Ozzy (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)
The Pylant family, Bruce, Alex, and Ozzy. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)

Adding to the stress was the fact that after being in the hospital and in labor for a few hours, the doctors noticed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping and decided an emergency c-section was called for.

“It was a hard thing to experience. Those few minutes felt like hours and I kept thinking of Bruce and that he wasn’t there, and how worried he must be,” she said.

On the ship Bruce sat up for 24 hours straight in front of a computer waiting for the email updates that Alex’s mom was sending.

“Not all of the emails sent to the ships go through and sometimes their communication is shut off altogether. While they were prepping me for surgery I was thinking about how long it must have felt for him in between getting each email,” she said. “I kept thinking about him and knowing how helpless he must be feeling, and how much I knew he wanted to be with us.”

Fortunately, Oscar came out strong and healthy, 21 inches long and weighing in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

Over the next couple of months Alex kept new-daddy Bruce up-to-date by emailing photos and stories.

Then came July, Bruce’s return, and his first meeting with his son.

While waiting at the airport Alex found herself nervous and emotional.

At the airport following deployment, Bruce meets his son Ozzy for the first time (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)
At the airport following deployment, Bruce meets his son Ozzy for the first time. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Alex Pylant)

“I was thinking how my son wouldn’t remember this moment and how big and important it was in all our lives,” she said. “When Bruce got off the plane and met us in the sea of other families it proved to be a little overwhelming for him to hold the baby and to meet him in such a public place.”

Once at home Bruce held baby Ozzy for the first time while Alex took photos of the once-in-a-lifetime event, and they celebrated Father’s Day a few days later than most of the rest of the nation.

“Him being away makes every day Father’s Day,” Alex said.

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