Sunday, August 28, 2011

Letter to my son on his first birthday

Today is Jack’s first birthday, and so I’m going to write him a letter. So this post is more for him and me than for all of you out there in the blogosphere.  But Jack and I would be delighted if you’re interested in reading it as well.  At least I hope Jack doesn’t mind everyone else reading his letter.  He’s a bit too young to protest now, but I can imagine a 16 year-old Jack surfing the web with his friends when they stumble the archives of this blog.  Kind of like when we were kids and your mom would pull out the old photos of you and your brother in the bath together when your football buddies came over to the house.  Or, when she showed photos from the time you got dressed up in women’s clothing, makeup and high heels to your homecoming date.  Not cool, Mom, not cool.

This letter comes a bit later than it was supposed to, and I have to give credit before I get started; writing a letter to Jack wasn’t my idea initially.  Jack’s mom has been suggesting that I write a letter to him for almost a year now—a sweet letter from father to son when he was born and how he’s affected my life.  You see, she’s always been great at dealing with ‘life’ stuff.  Calling friends/relatives on birthdays, buying holiday gifts, doing the shopping and laundry.  Not that I didn’t want to be thoughtful…I just usually forgot. Too much to do, I thought. I’m too busy, I don’t need to grow up, I’m a scientist, dammit!  Well, being a SAHD for the past couple of months has made me start to grow up fast!  Cook dinner, wash the diapers, clean the house, feed the baby, go shopping, fix up things around the house.  Mind you, I really suck at most of these things, but I’m trying!

When I do get it in my mind to do something, I take it to the extreme—hence an entire blog about the baby and fatherhood rather than a simple letter.  And now, rather than writing just a letter to the 1 year-old Jack, I figured I’d go ahead and get a few other letters done as well.  So, we’ll go in 5-year increments, and write letters to the 1, 6, 11, 16, and 21 year old Jack.  Here goes:


Dear Jack,

Today is your first birthday and I wanted to take this moment to reflect on what having you in my life has meant to me.  To be honest, I was terrified to have a baby.  There was no time for anything other than work; what was a baby going to do to my career?  Well, life has a funny way of throwing curve balls.  First, after you came into my life, all that career stuff didn’t really seem as important as it did before.  I used to scoff at people who only worked 9-5, but once you were here, 9-5 seemed like an eternity.  So what if there’s more data to collect, when there’s baby to cuddle with at home.  Second, some rather unfortunate circumstances lost me the job I’d been so driven to succeed in.  Sure, I was sad, but spending the time with you at home has made me realize how much more important you are than pretty much everything else.  The next phase of our lives is going to see lots of change and there are many unknowns.  But as long as we have each other and your mom, that’s all we need. 

I love you so much little baby….and I’m so glad you’re in my life.

Happy Birthday, Love Dad


Dear Jackie,

I can’t believe you’re 6-years old already.  Where has the time gone?  It seems like just yesterday you were learning how to walk, and now you’re starting first grade. My job working from home has given me the most amazing opportunity to see you grow into a wonderful little boy.  I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to spend so much time with you these past few years, and I’m going to miss you so much during the school day while I’m still at home doing my work and hanging out with your little sister.  And that month-long trip that your mom took us on to India this summer was amazing!  I know you’re going to have a great time in Mrs. Jones’ class, and it’s great you get to be in the same class with Aiden.  Don’t forget to use your iPad to Tweet to your class that I’m coming into class this afternoon with the healthy carrot-apple cupcakes that your mom made last night.   
Happy birthday Jack, I hope all of your wishes come true.

Love, Dad


Dear Jacko,     

Wow, you’re 11!  I’m sorry your team lost in the finals, but I’m so proud that you made the all-star team.  23 strike outs in a row, you were awesome!  It was so wonderful that you volunteered with your mom in the city this summer.  I can’t believe what a great young person you’ve grown into. And, our bike trip through the Rockies was so killer!  Now you’re off to 6th grade—middle school. It’ll be a great adventure, but make sure you do your homework and deposit it on your teacher’s Facebook account before you run off to 2nd life to pretend play in the park with your friends in Paraguay.

Your mom and I are so proud of you and love you so much, have a happy birthday!
Love, Dad


Hey Jack-Dude,
Sweet 16 and never been kissed!  That’s what my grandma said to me on my 16th, and it was true. But not you, Jackie boy!  I know you’re popular with the ladies, and already have pro scouts looking at your quarterbacking skills.  Only a sophomore, but the starter of the varsity team.  Please remember to keep up with your studies too…your grades slipped at the end of last year and you got your first 99%.  Sure, a football scholarship will get you into most schools, but you need to fall back on academics.  Your work in theoretical physics is going really well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the folks at NASA give you a signing bonus if you skip college football and move right into space-time travel.

You’ve become an amazing young man, and your mom and I can’t wait to see you when you get back from your trip to Cuba re-building homes that were damaged in the Hurricane.

Happy B-day Dude, I love you,


Yo Jack-man-do,

Twenty-one and already a college graduate!  Valedictorian and captain of the football team.  I have no idea where you also found the time to help repair political ties with China and develop next generation clean fuels that not only power our flying cars but also produces pure fresh drinking water with a hint of lemon zest.  A finalist for both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize for science in the same year; unheard of.  And yet, you still had time to hang out with your family in our cottage on the lake this summer.  It was so great to get to spend so much time with you.  You’ve turned into such great man, and we’re so proud of you. 

Have a great birthday, but don’t get too sh*#-faced now that you can legally drink.  You have an important meeting tomorrow morning with the president.

Love, Dad

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous idea for a post, I may just have to nick it! Cheers Mich x