Nathan? Hi. It’s your dad here. Is this thing on?
I know you can’t hear me. Text doesn’t transmit sound waves, I’m told. You can’t read this yet, either, because you still believe that books are delicious meals you haven’t quite figured out how to chew properly. But you might read this one day, on your iScreen 3D or Goggles-Bot Ultra or whatever all the cool kids use in 2030. When you do, here’s a virtual memento from your dad.
It’s your first birthday. Just another year for the rest of us, but a whole lifetime of new experiences for you.
You’ve had one hell of a year, haven’t you? You went from being a tiny pink blob with randomly moving limbs to being a slightly larger blob with legs that walk, hands that stubbornly grab anything they can reach, and a mouth that sometimes shares with us the most awesome smile in the world.
You’ve learned a lot this year, too: how to flip over, sit up, crawl, stand, eat by yourself, walk, chase ducks, scare the cats with piercing shrieks of joy, scare your parents with a few inevitable falls. How to poop. So, so much poop. Like, rivers of poop, dude! Sleeping through the night, on the other hand? Still a work in progress. Don’t worry, you’ll get there. I really hope you’ll get there, because I’d like to have at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep sometime within the next decade, if possible. That’d be nice.
You have changed so much so quickly, I barely managed to keep up.
I’ve learned just as much this past year: how to feed you, rock you to sleep, sing lullabies with disturbing lyrics, dress you, help you walk without dropping you (ahem, mostly), change diapers while you’re spinning around because how difficult is it to just lie on your back for fifteen goddamn seconds, guy, come on!
Your mom and I have learned how to work even better as a team. She’s the most amazing woman, your mom. But you don’t need me to tell you that. After all, when you’re looking for that much-needed dose of hugs, you already know just whom to crawl to, right?
This year has also taught me some other stuff, like how a heart can skip a beat when a little boy hurts himself, or how a heart can melt when the little boy cracks up at something trivial, or how just watching the little boy sleep can be enough to bring a sudden tear to one’s eye. So yeah, I’ve learned that a father’s love is as deep and unconditional as all those soppy sayings claim it is.
I have no way of knowing how the future turns out. I mean, I sort of know: We’ll have our ups and downs, we’ll laugh and learn together, I’ll tell you to stop doing that thing you keep on doing even though I’ve told you a thousand times to knock it off already, you’ll tell me to leave you the fuck alone (what’s with all the swearing, huh?!), I’ll send you to your room, you’ll slam a door in my face. Good times!
I don’t know when or if you’ll read this. Maybe by the time you read these words, I’ll be long gone to that magical city in the sky. No, I don’t mean dying. Sheesh. Stop being so morbid. I’m talking about Elon Musk’s Space Resort Model Y. That place should be sweet!
I don’t know much about any of that, but I do know one thing: No matter what happens in the years to come, I’ll always love you with every little fiber of my being. Always.
Happy first birthday, son!