I’ve been meaning to start writing you letters for a little while now. I suppose the blog that I’ve been writing for the last year and a half has basically been a long series of letters to you anyway, but I wanted this piece to be directed to you, in particular, as opposed to me just writing about you. There are some things I’ve been thinking about here and there, especially over the last month and a half since my last blog post, and I want to make sure I get them down before I forget them.
As I write this letter, you’re 30 days away from your second birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not going to wax poetic about where the time went and how I can still remember carrying you around cradled in my arm like a football and how much you’ve changed in the last two years, although I definitely could. I will, however, tell you a little bit about… you.
–You’re funny. Every kid can do something cute from time to time (whether they mean to or not) and, don’t get me wrong, you do plenty of cute things without realizing it. You walk around in your mother’s and my shoes; you take your food and “cook” it in your toy kitchen; you give a huge smile and shut your eyes tight when your picture gets taken, just to name a few. But you also know how to make your mother and me laugh, whether you’re spinning around in a circle until you’re dizzy, running through the apartment naked or telling us where you aren’t when we’re playing hide and seek.1
–You’re caring. Whenever your mom or I aren’t feeling well, you come over and give us hugs. When you meet a baby, your first impulse is to go give them a hug or a kiss or “make nice.” You’re like that with animals too. One of your friends is unfortunately terribly sick but when you were at her birthday party, you couldn’t stop giving her hugs and kisses. You also didn’t stop saying her name and “happy birthday” for weeks afterward.
–You’re friendly. You’ve met other kids in playgroup and you’ve been playing with them – not just alongside them, with them – for months now. I’m not usually at your playdates because I’m at work, but I inevitably get pictures sent to me of you and your friends dancing on top of your toy box or jumping in your crib or using your mom’s stethoscope to hear each other’s heartbeats. Sometimes you and a girl are even lying down in your crib and smiling at each other.2
–You’re smart. It actually startles me how smart you are sometimes. You seem to see something once and it’s like you’ve mastered it, whether you’re building train systems on the floor, learning to ride your scooter or manipulating your parents into bribing you with cookies to get you into your car seat. Your language skills are also exploding. Your mom told me one day that you pointed to your toy basketball hoop in the living room and said “hoop.” She had never heard you say the word before but I told her that you and I had been watching ESPN in the mornings while we ate breakfast together. Now I can flip between basketball, baseball and hockey games3 and you point out hoops, balls, bats, pucks and nets. Now all we need is for you to recite the line, “There’s always next year” and we’ll be all set.
That’s probably a good place to stop for now. There’s a lot more for me to tell you about, but there’s time. I’m going to be writing new posts, either as letters to you or as my usual essays, about once per week. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park talked about life finding a way; in my case, with regard to writing regularly, life got in the way. I should have a slightly easier time now. Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
1. Here’s a tip: if you’re hiding and you hear us asking, “Are you behind the door?” or something similar, you don’t have to answer. I hate to break it to you: we already know where you are. Although, to be fair, your uncle Joel was a lot better at hide and seek at your age than I was. Maybe you should take notes from him instead.↩
2. Getting a girl into your bed will have a very different meaning for you when you’re older. Something to look forward to.↩
3. No football yet; it’s still spring, so it’s early baseball season and the NBA and NHL playoffs. We’ll get to football, don’t worry. You don’t realize it yet, but I’ve already taught you about the Bears.↩