Three.

My Baby Boy,

You’re not much of a baby anymore. You’re not even really a toddler either. You’re blossoming into a pre-schooler, a boy all your own. Strong, fierce, independent, and fearless, you have boundless energy to explore the unknown with bright, wide eyes. It’s been utterly amazing to see you grow and develop into the person you are. Some of my favorite moments are our conversations, hugs, kisses, and cuddles. And every time you say “I love you Daddy” or “you’re my special friend”, my heart fills even larger with love. I really didn’t know my heart would keep growing this much this fast with love, but it is.

As much as you are changing and growing I feel myself growing right along with you. Pushing each other is how we learn. We try, we fall, and we get back up together. We may have our tough moments but know you are loved, you are safe, and I will always be there for you. I will lead the way if you need me to and follow when you ask. I will lift you up, break down walls for you, and be in your corner even when the entire world is against you.

This year will be full of fun and exciting things; I can feel it. A beacon of hope and light in the world – go forth and shine, bringing happiness and joy to all in your life.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy.

I love you.

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Explosia

It happened without warning, without even a hint of leading up to it. One morning, we’re in my son’s room, getting ready for the day. Diaper change, pick out clothes, put on clothes, business as usual. Right after slipping his shirt over his head and his arms sliding through the sleeves, he turns to my wife and says, “Trenton loves mommy,” and gives her a hug. Then he turns to me, gives me a hug, and for the first time says “Trenton loves Daddy.”

Time STOPS. The world shifts. My heart explodes into a million technicolor pieces. There isn’t enough time to think, cry, or even understand the implications of this. I’ve told him I loved him literally every day of his life and always wondered when this day would come. Sometimes I’ve desperately wanted him to say it, to know what he’s thinking and feeling, to see that he’s put it together. But nothing prepared me for it. Just like when he first said “Dada”, this is another memory forever etched into my heart and mind. All I could do is whisper back, “I love you too”.

It wasn’t a one-time random occurrence, either. Every so often he’ll say it, and lately it’s been even better – “I love you Daddy”.

Thanks baby boy, I love you too.

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Terrific Two

My Dearest Baby Boy,

Well, you’re no longer a baby anymore. You’re a 2-year-old boy who’s discovering the wide, wide world waiting for him. It’s been so wonderful watching you grow this past year. I see amazement, wonder, curiosity, passion, kindness, fearlessness, and an unstoppable desire to learn. I love watching you figure things out, never giving up but also never afraid to ask for help. I can already see signs of the impact you will have on the world, and I believe it will be big. You are a human like no other; I see so much in you that I wish everyone had.

I love every minute we spend together, from the mundane diaper changes to the tickles, raspberries, and songs we sing. Words cannot express how incredibly proud of you I am. You’re tackling this world head-on and mastering skills at a breakneck pace. Let’s keep it going, and know that I will be with you every step of the way.

I love you, no matter what. Happy Birthday.

11 Months – Amplification

My Beautiful Boy,

Eleven months. I’m really not sure how this much time has passed, but I can definitely say it’s been a lot of fun. This past month has been especially fun as you’ve blessed us with the gift of your extra happy personality. You’re charming, smiling, fearless, happy-go-lucky self is just incredible to watch. I live vicariously through you as you explore your world with reckless abandon. Even then, your gift is still wanting to share your discoveries with us. I will never get tired of hearing you talk, realizing there is no limit to the words and thoughts you can say. I will never tire of seeing your eyes light up when you recognize me from a distance, along with the mile-wide smile that comes with it. I will definitely never get tired of your curiosity and excitement for new foods, especially unique flavors like Indian food, salmon, and avocado.

We’ve spent a lot of time together this past month, and I can’t get over the fact that no matter how much I love you one day my heart has room for even more love the next. What I love even more is knowing how many exciting things are still to come. I’m ready; let’s turn it up past 11.

I love you.

Ten Months – Rapid Expansion

My Darling Boy,

Today you are 10 months old. Double digits! As per usual, it’s been another month too incredible for words. You’re crawling at full speed, standing every chance you get, playing and celebrating music with us, and you’ve got almost 8 teeth come through! What’s most astonishing to me is the continued strengthening of our bond as father and son. We play, we eat, we laugh, we “talk”, and we even go to sleep together now. I’ve honestly been terrified for quite some time that I would never be able to get you to sleep; that you would keep looking over your shoulder for mommy to come in the room. But we’ve found our own way to get to sleep, no fuss required. To feel you relax and fall asleep in my arms, to feel you nuzzle up close to me and hear that deep sigh of resignation, of exhaustion, of comfort and security, there isn’t much that tops that. It’s one of the few times I can actually live in the moment and I have you to thank for that. My heart, constantly filled to capacity with love for you, expands daily. All it takes is that smile, those eyes, a shimmy and screech of excitement, and I know I’m home. “Da da” will eventually mean me, which will eventually morph into “Daddy”. Even though I don’t want you to grow up just yet, I can’t wait.

I love you.

Nine Month Mobility

My Darling Boy,

You’ve had a busy month! As we move past your ninth month in this world you’ve absolutely crushed life, smashing full speed into it with no fear. You’re crawling, speaking, and expressing yourself in ways I wasn’t prepared for (in a good way). I can’t believe how fast you’ve grown up, but I’m even more excited for the future as every day passes. It’s amazing how fascinated you are with everything and how eagerly you’re exploring your world. Your eyes sparkle as you figure out your toys. Even this simplest of toys holds your attention providing hours of entertainment. It’s so easy to get lost in your world and be completely absorbed in whatever you are doing. Time ceases to exist when it’s just you and I, bonding and having fun.

And the speech? I could listen to you talk for hours. There have been times in the car that I’ve shut off the radio because what you have to say has always been more interesting and satisfying than any song on the stereo. Even if the words aren’t associative yet, I can see in your eyes and hear in your voice your expression of complete thoughts.

Keep talking, my son, and you can rest assured that I will always be here to listen.

I love you.

Weighted Words

It seemed like an ordinary enough day. Mom and T were at Grandpa’s house and I was at home taking care of errands, meal planning, and some general household chores. But that’s not how it ended. Mom pulled into the garage, took T out of the car seat, and headed toward me. T turns, wide eyed and cute as a button, locks his gaze with mine, and says:

“Da da da da”.

Time stops. My son just said words!!!! I know they’re not associated with any particular meaning yet my brain neurons were firing full force in all their kaleidoscopic glory. I instantly feel overjoyed, proud, floored, nostalgic, and excited; a complex cocktail of emotions that consumes so much energy that I have to intentionally brace myself to keep my legs from giving out. In just a simple fragment of time my son grew up before my very eyes, added a vast new layer of depth to his entire being, assembled all the communication skills he’s learned on his own for the 8ish months of his existence, and formed a word using consonants, vowels, and syllables, all without even trying.

It’s the strangest yet most wonderful feeling. In my perception of time, just seconds before that moment I was unaware he had developed that capability. And instantly, he had it. Like it was no big thing. Truthfully he had been practicing those words all day unbeknownst to me, but hearing it described by my wife pales in comparison to actually experiencing it. Despite overwhelming physical exhaustion it took me quite awhile to come down from that natural high and fall asleep that night. I just kept staring at my son, tucked away next to me in Dreamland, the proudest father I could ever be.

I don’t even care what’s next. This is now, and this is incredible.

Eight is Great

My Beautiful Boy,

The last month has been an incredible ride. Every time I blink I feel like you grow more, develop more, learn more. You’re now eight months old with 2 teeth, the ability to pull yourself up, and what seems like mere seconds away from crawling around the entire house. Your energy is unparalleled, and while exhausting for both me and your mom, at the same time just amazing and astounding. My challenge now is to keep up with you! I wish I had more to say, but in all honesty this month was a complete blur. They say time accelerates when you have children and they were most definitely NOT kidding. Part of me wants you to stay little forever, but another part of me realizes that you are destined for great things in this world and that you must continue to grow to reach your full potential.

As always I’m here to help you, guide you, laugh with you, cry with you, share in both your victories and your defeats. Please keep me humble and honest if my priorities ever start to drift away from our family.

I love you.

7 Months – Radiance

My Son,

I cannot think of a greater first Father’s Day gift than to celebrate you turning 7 months old today. Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe you and how fast you’re growing up. As I type this we’re sitting in the living room and you’re happily banging away on your toy xylophone, cooing all sorts of “words” I have yet to understand but know carry such meaning and emotion. It brings me such joy to see you explore your world, to see how happy you are playing with your toys, with other people, with the pets, with me and mommy.

And that smile. That radiant, infinite smile that lights up every room is one of the highlights of my day. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul which means your vast, beautiful brown eyes reveal such a clear innocence and curiosity about your world. You feel raw emotions with such intensity that sometimes it overwhelms you, and my job is to help you learn to harness those emotions to guide your passion and get the most you can out of life. I will do my absolute best for you as I know how it feels to be overpowered by emotions, both good and bad.

Keep on smiling, laughing, playing, and growing. You are wonderful to the point that no words I will ever say or write can fully convey my feelings. So instead I’ll pledge to be by your side watching you and guiding you through this life as best I can.

I love you, father to son.

6 Months – A Bright and Shining Star

My Baby Boy,

It’s getting much harder to call you that now that you’re six months old. Every time I look at you and think “this can’t possibly get any better”, you gladly prove me wrong. To see you gain awareness of the world around you and want to explore it with the fearlessness and confidence everyone wishes they had, this brings me an unspeakable amount of joy. Your personality is on full display as this bright and happy baby who wants to be a part of everything that’s going on around you. And I hope your mom and I can foster that confidence and curiosity for your entire life as it’s one of the rarest and most valuable traits in today’s world.

We’re about to embark on one of the wildest rides of our journey together as a family. In the next few months you will start eating solid foods, cutting teeth, and crawling around the house. While I honestly cannot wait for all these developments, I’m already starting to wax nostalgic about the early months. You used to be so little that I could engulf you completely in my arms for hours on end. That’s proving to be much more difficult now that you’re so big, and while this makes me sad, this sadness is replaced tenfold by the abundant joy of seeing you explore this world.

So let’s explore this world together, my son. You have so much to learn about it and I have a feeling I do too.

I love you.