My Dear Son,
Sometimes when we are sitting together you like to put your face up to mine. We press forehead to forehead, nose to nose, and look at each other. Sometimes we laugh, other times we sit in silence, content to simply be together. It is one way we connect. It is also how I got your cold.
Your transition from two to three has been remarkable. You are big and strong and full of the deep fire of boyhood. The bumps, bruises, scratches and scrapes are evidence you love to explore your world. This year you had a trip to the emergency room for a broken finger you had smashed in the car door. That hasn’t slowed you a bit. You still jump around in the tub, climb onto the table, bump into walls, and jump from the couch to the coffee table to the chair and back.
This past year we have thrown footballs, ridden bikes, hiked up steep trails, cooked breakfasts, ran circles around the house, mowed lawns, splashed in pools, petted dogs, consumed many ice cream cones, and built blanket forts.
The biggest challenge you face right now is learning how to hold your own against an extremely loving but controlling older sister. Your strength and size are your biggest defense when facing the quicker and smarter little girl. Too many family activities have been interrupted with a time out because you have slapped, punched, kicked, or pinched. Please understand that I’m not angry with you when this happens. I understand this is the only way you know how to respond right now and I can see your frustration. It’s my job as a father to help you understand what is right and wrong and to show you a better way.
Despite those frequent sibling dust-ups you continue to bring a joyful presence to my life. Family and friends smile at the mere mention of you. People we meet when we are out and about will sometimes stop just to share a smile. The other morning the two of us were enjoying a father-son breakfast together at a cafe while your sister was in school. By the time the check arrived every waitress in the place had come by to say hello and talk with you. They remembered your name when we stopped in again a week later. I cringe a little imagining what that skill will bring later in your life when you realize girls have more to offer than crayons and orange juice.
As always you have remained my constant companion, volunteering to help me with any task especially if it involves power tools. Your desire to help and be a part of my life is something I relish. I was a dad for three years before you came into our family yet you continue to teach me your own lessons. Fatherhood always feels new again with you.
My big, joyful son, today you are three years old. It’s time to celebrate another amazing year with the best son a father could have. My love for you is endless.
Happy Birthday to you, my Little Monkey Man, my Duncan Philip.