I will never forget the day you decided to change the way you address me. Yes you’re getting older. I’m dad. Not daddy. Daddy J was short lived. All of those references to me I love. You’re maturing. I remembered in that moment when you said, “I’m going to call you Dad now. Okay.” It wasn’t a question of permission. It was a statement. You were putting your ‘Dad’ on notice of how you would address him. You just know yourself. That’s great!
I also remembered every milestone in your life since you entered my life. You cried the whole first evening/night and awoke hungry. You ate half a dozen scrambled eggs and played bubbles until I fell asleep from exhaustion. I remembered the first time calling me ‘Daddy’ and that’s when I shed my first tear as a parent. It was love.
I remembered how it took me, what felt like forever, to figure out how to help you take a bath and not scream bloody murder when water would get on your face. Those screams were true terror. It shook me. This was a fear I felt at one point I wasn’t going to be able to help you conquer. When that time came I didn’t care that the entire bathroom floor was wet and your sister was all wet too. She passed the time away playing with the water.
I remember your first fall at school. The panicked called when you said, “Daddy I need you!” You were in pain and needed me. I was the person to help you with that. I’m fortunate. That is my joy as a parent.
I remember when you went on your first trip away from home. So young. So brave. So smart. You were so fearless. That’s so cool. I remember your laughs, jokes, funny picture poses over the years, the many ‘hello’s’ shouted from any room at any given time.
But what I remember most is it all led to now. Right now. A confident young tween soon to be teenager. I’m not ready for that yet.
You are sure of yourself. You have no fear. You are smart. You love what you love and you don’t apologize for it. You are the most confident young boy I know. You are proud of your family. You love us all. You are A W E S O M E.
I can’t wait for the journey ahead. Watching you grow up is the best gift a parent can receive next to actually having children. Life is grand beyond what it actually is. My son. The boy who always needed a hand to hold no longer needs anyone to hold his hand.