A Letter To Linden, From Your Dad
You burst into my life at 3:35am on March 11th, 2017. It had been a rough 24 hours for your mother and I – your mother more so for obvious reasons. A distinct lack of sleep combined with the stress of childbirth had us emotionally exhausted by the time you arrived. But all of that dissipated the moment I held you in my arms and looked in your eyes. A new wave of emotions overcame me as I fell in love for the third time in my life. I fell in love with your sweet little face, dark blue eyes, tiny toes, and soft newborn sounds. I fell in love with the possibility of all that you would be: bright, kind, brave, loving, funny, joyful, and ambitious. And, as this love grew, I realized how I wanted to change; I wanted to grow into a better version of myself because of you. I became a man with a son and I knew that I wanted to do right by you. I wanted to be someone you looked up to, someone you could emulate, someone you could trust, and someone you could respect. I wanted to be better; better, so that you too would strive for excellence. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you were already the best version of me and you didn’t even have to try.
When you entered my life, I considered myself a seasoned-veteran of the child-raising game. Being the second of my two children, I didn’t have the typical first-time-father concerns. No worries about sleep deprivation, changing a diaper, or keeping you alive crept into my mind; the basics had been engrained in me thanks to your sister. My fear this time was more nuanced and introspective: how can I teach you to be a man when I haven’t figured it out for myself? Despite not knowing the answer to that question, I will continue to be the best father possible. I will teach you the value of respect, love, and kindness. I will role-model, through my actions, how to treat others and the importance of being able to both say sorry and give forgiveness. I will make damned sure you are equally humble in victory and in loss. The true measure of my success as a father will be the person you grow into.
Linden - in the past two years, you have shown me that you are far more than the best version of me - you are the best version of yourself. You willingly give hugs and kisses and play with reckless abandon. You share your unbridled joy with others and have an infectious laugh that makes me smile. You roar unapologetically when you see a dinosaur, pretend to be snoozing to get out of doing things, and can fall asleep within 5 minutes of any car ride. You run, laughing, when I chase you around the house, only to turn around and run back towards me saying “no, no, no, dada”. You show off your big muscles when asked and have a canon of an arm. You are cuddly, affectionate, and empathetic. Linden, I hope your carefree, social, sweet personality continues to shine throughout the rest of your days because life is too short to live with hatred in your heart.
As you continue your journey on this earth, I want you to hold true to the qualities that make you special. Be kind always and love unconditionally. Be curious, take risks, and learn to laugh at yourself. Stand up for your beliefs and especially the beliefs of others who cannot stand themselves. And always remember, that I am here for you. In your brightest moments and darkest hours, I will be here to support, guide, and love you. You are a special little man, and I cannot express how proud I am to be your father.
Happy second birthday, buddy. I love you.