Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Will!

     Ten years ago today when you first came into this world, I had no idea what to expect.  I mean I knew how to feed you (well, your mom had that part covered), change your diaper, and even wrap you up in a little bundle so you couldn't move (which you really seemed to like).  What I didn't know was what you would look like, or what you would be like. Most of all there was no way to know what you would become.  Then they handed me this scrawny, little, naked, pink thing and I just kind of had to stop and stare, because you had changed my life, just by being born.

     It is a strange thing to be a dad for the first time.  Mom's certainly have to do all the hard work, but by the time her baby is born, a mom has had nine months of experiencing it grow and move inside of her.  There is a special bond that a mom has, that as a dad, you just can't understand.  I mean, I knew you were inside mom's stomach.  I could feel you kick, but you weren't really there until I held you for the first time. 

     It is truly an amazing experience to hold a new person who is part you.  For days your mom and I just sat and held you and stared at you, afraid that we were going to do something wrong and break you.  It is so much responsibility to be a parent and the first week can be overwhelming.  But the weeks go very fast and so do the months and that little baby grows and changes so fast.  You started growing like a weed and have never stopped.  I saw a video on Youtube that a dad made of his daughter where he took a video of her every week and then put them all together in a movie so that she aged 12 years in a minute.  I swear that is what it has felt like watching you grow up faster than I could ever have imagined. 

     You probably have figured out by now that you don't have perfect parents.  We have made lots of mistakes as we have tried to figure out how to raise you and your brothers and sister.  I'm sure we will make even more over the next ten years.  I hope we have done more things right than wrong though.  I think we must have done a pretty good job, because you have turned into a person that I am proud to call my son.  I still look at you and have not much more of an idea what to expect than I did the day you were born.  You have so much life ahead of you.  I think I know you much better as a person; how you think, what you like, your strengths and weaknesses.  I see glimpses of the man you will become someday.  I look forward to seeing who you are when you finally leave our home someday.  I'm still just as scared that I'm going to do something wrong and break you between now and then, but I know in my heart that you are made of strong stuff.  You have a good heart and a Godly character.  Sometimes if we push you, it is because we know you have more potential than you are using.  If we have to discipline you, it really is because we want you to be the best person you can be.  It is no fun to have to be tough on your kids.  Sometimes we get a little too tough, and when that happens I hope I can be the kind of dad who knows how to admit he was wrong and apologize.  I hope that most of all you will always feel like you can talk to me about anything that is worrying you.  We are very much alike and I probably have felt the same way as you do.  Never be afraid to talk to me about anything, especially over the next few years.  They can be some of the hardest (and best) years of your life.

     When I think about your tenth birthday, I am excited for you.  I am excited to see you enter into the next phase of your life.  You are moving away from childhood.  You soon will be a teenager.  How scarey is that?  My advice to you is this:  rely on God, your family, and the things we have tried to teach you.  There are things this world will throw at you which you will have to learn to deal with.  We can help you, but you will need to make the right decisions even when your mom and I aren't around.  I know you are equipped to make the right decisions.  Remember that the things you see and hear can never be un-seen or un-heard.  Be careful what you look at and listen too. 

     Your mom and I are so proud of you.  It has been our privilege to have you in our family for ten years.  I love the fact that I can talk to you like this.  You are not a little boy anymore.  You are growing up.  Don't rub it in too much on Mom though, she's still wishing you were all wrapped up in a blanket on her lap.  Happy Birthday Will.

Love,
Dad