MARYSVILLE — He was the Y2Kid, the first baby born in Snohomish County in 2000.
He entered the world at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington 38 minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day.
His parents, Joel and Angelina Garcia, had planned on attending a millennium bash that night and looked forward to watching the fireworks.
Daniel Garcia had other plans. He was born a week before his due date and measured 19 inches. Today he is more than 6 feet tall, a polite and strapping young man who peers down at both his parents.
“The first thing is school,” Angelina Garcia told a Herald reporter that January day 18 years ago, stressing the importance of an education.
Daniel might have been born early, but he’s finishing high school right on time. Along the way, he has gutted out precalculus and physics, glad to have them in the rearview mirror. He will be among the hundreds of graduates from Marysville Getchell High School during Wednesday’s commencement. His forest green and Vegas gold gown is on a hanger at home.
The Garcias’ middle child plans to study business at Everett Community College next fall.
All of which thrills his parents, who emigrated from Mexico to the United States in the early 1990s. Both worked in restaurants before Joel enrolled at Skagit Valley College to learn the welding trade. Today, he runs a successful welding business in a shop behind their home. It is where he makes a wide array of ornate fixtures, from chairs and tables to chandeliers.
Daniel and his older brother have worked in their dad’s shop. Joel hopes both of his boys will continue on with the family business and bring with them the knowledge they get from college. His older son, Josue, 24, is studying engineering at EvCC.
Daniel attended his last hours of high school Friday, taking a final, going to an assembly and getting soaked in a water balloon fight. He and friends dating back to elementary and middle school shed a few tears together.
“It was exciting and sad,” he said. “I finally finished school. I can finally focus on other things, but I feel like I’m leaving all my friends behind, or at least I won’t see them as often.”
His last day of school also ended his chauffeur service for his sister, Anahi, 16, who attends Marysville Getchell. They’d hop into his 2004 Mazda6 each morning, listening to music on their way up the hill to classes. On the afternoon drive home, they’d often chat.
The Y2Kid’s bedroom bridges the millennia. Music is a big part of his world. He has carved out space for creating and recording hip-hop beats that he hopes to sell through an online business. At the same time, he collects vinyl records along with CDs and even has an old cassette or two. Father and son often enjoy the same decades-old rock ‘n’ roll in the shop where Daniel cuts metal and Joel welds.
Daniel’s room displays action figures from his childhood, secondhand jerseys of retired basketball stars Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Gary Payton, and lots of stylish shoes. He’s got a knack for turning thrift store buys into online sales and profit.
On the day Daniel was born, Joel Garcia said of the baby he cradled in the crook of his arm, “He is going to be a good boy. I know that. I know that for sure.”
Joel Garcia believes that is the case today.
Daniel said his favorite childhood memories come from the regular Sunday gatherings of his family, including aunts, uncles and cousins. As many as 30 people routinely come together and share favorite foods. Kids play, grownups talk and it just feels cozy. No one is too cool for a game of Pokemon Monopoly.
“It is really my family,” he said. “You feel close. Cousins feel like brothers. Family is just really important.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.