Hi! It’s Daddy. You know, the guy who wipes your tushy and feeds you and reads to you and plays games with you and stuff.
I know you can’t read yet, but I wanted to write you a letter since it’s a very special time in your life, and I want to record my thoughts while they’re fresh.
Next Thursday you turn 1. Which is utterly impossible, since it seems like just two weeks ago you were born. But it was actually at 11:46 p.m., on September 10, while I breathed a huge sigh of relief that you weren’t born on 9/11.
Mommy and I looked at you, we cried, we hugged, and we knew we were going to love you more than anything we’d ever loved, even each other.
And 12 months later, I think we have. Do you know how much you are loved? You really ought to because you get told it like 400 times a day, from Mommy and I, and from your six grandparents, who think you’re the greatest thing ever even when all you did was look back at them and drool.
I so wish you could remember all that’s gone on this year; the nighttime baths we gave you in your little tub, as Mommy and I sang “Rubber Duckie” from “Sesame Street” and “Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls (hey, it was one of the few songs we both knew all the words to!) every night.
How your favorite activities for the past few months have been rolling around gloriously on Mommy and Daddy’s bed; opening and closing any and every door in the apartment, and playing peek-a-boo.
I’ll never forget the moment you figured out how to play your favorite game by yourself; you took your hands and covered your eyes, then moved them after a minute and looked at us and laughed oh so devilishly.
I can’t believe how different you are every day; one day you couldn’t sit up straight by yourself, the next you could. One day you could barely stand, now you’re just about walking on your own. One day your diapers didn’t smell so bad, then the next I wanted to put on a HAZMAT suit to change you. It is truly the most incredible thing, seeing you become so much less like a baby and more like a boy, every day.
We’re planning a party for you next Saturday. Mommy asked if we should have entertainment there, like a magician. I told her that wasn’t necessary; to you right now, magic is when you’re playing with a cell phone, and we take it away from you and put it in our pocket, then five minutes later take it back out.
This BLOWS your mind. It’s all the magic you need at the moment.
I’ll tell you a secret: I watch you sleep sometimes, because it’s the most peaceful and beautiful thing I can do. Sometimes when Mommy and I are lying in bed we hear you scream out for a few seconds, then go back to sleep.
Mommy thinks you’re having nightmares. We wonder what they could be about: Boobs that won’t give milk? Drawers and doors that won’t open no matter how much you pull them? A world without remote controls and cell phones to play with?
We don’t ever want you to have nightmares. There’ll be plenty of time for you to discover the scary things in life; right now we want your existence to be happy and fear-free as possible.
I could go on and on and on, like I do when I talk to you about tennis and Duke basketball and the New York Rangers, but I’ll try to wrap up soon.
Nate, you are by far the best thing I’ve ever done, and I am so grateful for your laughs, your smiles, and your remarkably sunny personality. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you, but I’m so glad you’re ours.
Happy birthday, son. I love you.
P.S. One last thing: Do you think maybe you could try not to throw your sippy cup around the dining room so much? After the 47th time of picking it up, it loses its joy. Thanks.