woolgathering // forgive me, son, for I am a sap.
So, you turned 6 yesterday. That must be pretty damn cool! Since you are still working on your reading skills, and this is not a real letter, I can say things like damn to you. But seriously, 6, how awesome! Spending your days without a care, beyond what snacks to eat, and choosing a correct older human to pose your wild questions to. God, it must be great! And you are so happy, and that makes me glad.
I have never told you (and probably never will), that when we found out you were going to be born, we were really kind of planning on your brother being an only child. Your mom and I had talked and talked about it, and kind of decided that was the way we wanted our family to be. Obviously, that is not how it worked out. It was the day after your mother and I's anniversary when she told me. She said she thought it would be corny if she sprung it on me during our romantic dinner (which she barely stayed awake for). You know how she is. Anyway, she told me in her very nonchalant way "we are having a baby", and waited for my response. And by wait, I am talking months. Of course, just like any surprise, I was outwardly ecstatic. But, she knew I was unsure about the whole thing. Your mom knows everything. Seriously, if you didn't already know this, now is your chance to wise up. After my initial hysteria wore off, the realization of what bringing another person into our little unit would actually mean set in.
I know this is probably sounding a touch cold right now, just keep reading, kid.
In truth, the decision about your brother being our only child was probably mostly my choice. Even though I was already a dad, it put it into perspective that there was still a whole lot I didn't know. Since your brother was 2 when I met him, I had never gone through the experience of a baby before. In truth, I was freaked out. I was very concerned that I would not be good at taking care of it/you. Since you are just like me, I know you know how I felt when I was put into a situation where I felt my performance would be less than amazing. I want to be the best, always. It is a characteristic that is a blessing, and also terrible flaw that I am both sorry for, and proud that you have inherited. But, like it or not, a baby was coming. So, how to be the best?
As it turns out; get freaked and pretend nothing is happening is not the answer!
My experience was drastically different than the one your mother had during your time in the womb. The way she tells it, I slept soundly every night, and puttered around in an oblivious haze all day. I knew things were going to change, but unless something is effecting me in the here and now, I have a pretty good way of pushing things way down deep and ignoring them (Sorry for that one too). Your mother unfortunately had to bear the brunt of your vigor for 9 long months. I can attest that your energy levels in there had me genuinely concerned for your mama's personal safety, on the daily. However, I do have to say that being able to deduce that all of your fingers and toes were present and accounted for by seeing them pushing from the inside out made me feel pretty good. Not sure your mom agrees, but I am very grateful for (and still, often surprised by) your energy.
Fast forward. You were born. I will spare you the long drawn out version, and condense:
You popped out. I saw your beautiful, icky, olive colored, little face.
I realized I am not olive skinned. Briefly traced the branches of my family tree.
Realized, that despite the fact that you were not alabaster white, you looked just like me.
Had my first freakout moment. (Silently, of course)
Proceeded to wander back and forth from our room to the cafeteria for 2 days, while critiquing the ineptitude of the hospital staff under my breath (because obviously, now that I had a baby, I was an expert).
They got tired of us asking to leave every 5 minutes, and sent us home.
After getting home, I was a ball of nerves and left every 20 minutes to go to Target because I had forgotten something to make you or your mama more comfortable. Good lord, I don't know how your mom put up with me being so fucking weird!
Somewhere in there, I fell in love with being a baby daddy. Pretty sure it was in the first 2 seconds of all of that. Not sure.
Anyway. You were a difficult little dude. You never slept. You were always alert, and deeply curious. You had to be a part of everything going on. Despite how it may sound, I wouldn't trade it for the world. You have been you, since the day you were born. And so you've remained.
I was so concerned with all the things I would do wrong, that I almost forgot about the possibility I could do something positive. You remind me of this every day. I am constantly surprised by you, son. Never have I met someone with a more infectiously kind, compassionate, and supremely fun personality as you. You make me so proud. I am so glad you are here, and part of our little unit. It wouldn't be complete without you.