To Allie: Year 3

Dear Allie,

I remember feeling similarly after the completion of your brother’s 2nd year. So stark are the changes from the beginning to the end of this year it’s hard to know where to begin. So let me start by saying that you are just a force. You have an infectious laugh, you talk non-stop and you narrate everything that’s happening. You are so, so, so, silly. You sing songs, sometimes in silly voices. I love your silly voices. You have a terrific imagination and invent scenarios when you play with your toys. I think you’ve even helped unlock your older brother’s imagination more. You know how to make jokes already and do so frequently. Have I mentioned how silly you are? You are also a much more willful boy than your brother. Challenging authority, contrarian, sometimes naughty for the hell of it. A little bit conniving. You are rambunctious and like to charge at your father to give him head butts. Your height is rather unfortunate right now, and there is much guarding of sensitive areas as you run with reckless abandon! I love it all. It’s amazing how with your last child, it becomes all too clear that these beautiful moments are so temporary.

The way I see myself in you
And even the way
I sometimes don’t

I’d like to believe
that I was like you
when I was your age

Can you teach me that giggle?
Would you tell me how
to make that silly voice?
Will you show me how
to run headlong into things
laughing all the way
hair bobbing up and down

I hope
I was like you
I hope all children
get to laugh like that
and help us adults grow

into you

Your personality is shining through more and more each day. I am sure it’s too early to know exactly the kind of person you are, this warm and gregarious person is blossoming and it’s just so wonderful to see.

The coolest thing about you, which is maybe unfair since you only started doing it a few weeks ago (and in general makes these letters very biased to what I can actually remember over the course of the year) is the way you have started commenting on the facial expressions and body language of characters in storybooks. It’s so cool that you are interpreting expressions and even though you aren’t really listening to the story so you get the intent of the facial expression wrong sometimes, I always understand your thought process and I love that this is what you are paying attention to.

As to who I am right now, the truth is, I just feel like I’m in a holding pattern. Will I still be a meteorology professor next year? Am I on the brink of some great enlightenment, or is this just all there is? Are things going to get worse? I feel like life is on pause somehow. That I’m waiting for something and I don’t know what it is. There’s a tension in the air. Trump is no longer president. It’s something, but still so much uncertainty lies ahead. It crippled me in January and for the first time in a long time, I felt empty of strength and it scared me. My love for you, your brother and your mother is the surety in my life and I am grateful for it every day.

It’s been a long year since your last birthday. It’s been approximately a year since the Coronavirus pandemic hit. When I think about how different this past year was supposed to be, the one bright point is that I have gotten to spend a lot more time with you than I probably would have, if life was ‘normal’. If there is any good to come out of this pandemic it’s to redefine normal. And while I haven’t gotten to take you to as many places as your brother when he was your age, I know, that for you, just being able to spend more time with your family has been a blessing. With your brother being at home a lot more I have also seen your bond with him grow immensely, and it’s so beautiful to see. Dhyan waited a long time for you both to sleep in the same room together, and now you sleep with each other and it’s so adorable. So while you may not have gotten the variety of life experiences, you have experienced no shortage of love.

That being said, I do long to take you places and see your face light up with excitement. While we slowly unroll from the pandemic, I know those days lie ahead and that the pandemic won’t even be a memory for you. There is so much I want you to see. There are snowcapped mountains, there are restless salty waves, there are places far far away to fly to. So much more awaits us.

I love you my Allie. Happy Birthday!

My son, my one

Dhyan_faceOnly now do I know what purity is,
Free from the dilution of life,
And yet I’ve never seen anyone so full of life either,
With you I am at a mountain lake,
Where “civilization” is not in its vocabulary,
With you I am at an amusement park,
Teeming with joy, fun and smiles,
Lost in a moment, in a day that we hope never ends

I dreamed last night I was crying,
From a love that made each cell in my body,
Vibrate to the point I was changing phase,
And the liquid poured out of me,
Just as your sweet little kisses poured over me,
Your smile and laughter bathed me,
Like particles of light in the morning sun,
Dancing on my skin to a timeless symphony.

You remind me that I am mammal,
Not animal in the way that people usually mean it,
Not primitive or violently struggling to survive,
But natural, wild, inseparable from this world,
Your head nestles under the curve of my neck,
I can feel the warmth of your blood, pulsating,
Flowing with mine, in tune with the beat of Earth’s heart,
The ebb and flow of life enveloping us both.

There is a closeness that no force can destroy,
It may stretch, it may tear, it may hurt,
It persists even through the veil of death,
No matter the physical distance I know,
There will be moments where we look for each other,
And in those moments we will find each other
For I am responsible for you, and though you don’t know it,
You are responsible for me too.

The world is wonderful to you right now,
I know it’s not going stay that way,
The pain in life percolates through the bliss,
But that does not mean that bliss disappears,
Above those clouds there is always the sun, the stars,
The weather changes, but that does not,
I promise to never fail in reminding you of this,
For it’s because of you, I will always know beauty.

Love Child

After my son was born I suddenly realized how people could be baby crazy and wrote an apology to all those who I thought were insane.  🙂

In that same vein I would like to continue with this topic as I reflect upon the love I have for my son right now.

It’s insane.  The love is like no other.  It feels so strong that it’s like it could literally jump out of my chest and wrap itself

My son at 9 weeks
My son at 9 weeks

around my boy.  I am not going to say it’s better or worse, but it’s unique.  It’s like falling in love, but as I mentioned before, even when you fall in love it feels like it’s based on something in the other person that is describable, even though the love you feel is more than the sum of those tangible criteria.  This feeling is totally biological.  My son barely has a personality, has barely acknowledged my existence, knows nothing about me, and we can’t communicate, but my love grows each in every day.  So much so that it scares me.

I’ve always tried to understand the darker nature in ourselves and what I am feeling right now helps understand some behaviors better, while others I am even more clueless.  For instance I don’t understand how people can do unspeakable cruelty to their children; beat them, scream at them, shake them to death, forget about them.  I am not talking about parents who work very hard to try to provide for their kids and whose hearts are broken that they don’t get to spend more time with them.  But real abuse.  It feels as wrong to me as 2+2=5.  It’s just not an option.

On the other hand I get a glimpse into the type of parent who would do very irrational things to protect their children.  Or parents who would make their whole world revolve around their children to the point of their detriment.  I am not condoning these behaviors only that I see it.  It’s not an abstract thing to me anymore.  I can see how the intense love you feel would make you do some pretty stupid things.  As intense love is prone to do, for whomever you feel it for.  But it is still very different from that intense love and passion of romantic love.  Perhaps I lack some depth of feeling but there is something about falling in love with an adult that is different because the other person is an adult.  You have the feeling that they can take care of themselves, they have the ability to make their own decisions, and there is a certain understanding that you can’t control the other person (healthy love anyway, obviously many try to control their partners and this usually become dysfunctional quickly).  The helplessness and the innocence of a baby turns your love into such a fury of protection that it’s without measure.  As my love grows I get so scared about what would happen if I lost him.  I already have no idea how I’d emotionally deal with something so big.  I hope I never have to pass through such a trial because I am not sure I could carry the weight.  So I get it.  I see it as though I stand on the top of a hill and see how slippery the slope is to just doing stupid

Trying to convince my son to smile...he wasn't quite ready at 5 weeks. :)
Trying to convince my son to smile…he wasn’t quite ready at 5 weeks. 🙂

things out of love.  And whenever this happens I am thankful for it because I know I have increased my capacity for forgiveness.

And though I see such things I know that I am capable of keeping my sense of reason.  It is precisely because I love my son so much that I know that if I really want to give him the best opportunities in this world he needs to have a dad who maintains a measure of reason in the face of overwhelming emotion.  So I must continue to be vigilant and direct my love into ways that will strengthen him and not weaken him.