A Love Letter to Aaron

 

When I started this blog a week ago, I had a very positive reception. And I am so grateful for the support and encouragement. I’d like to send a special thanks to my friend Ash, who pointed out that one day this would be “an amazing love letter to your son.” She’s right. And I should make the most of that.

Dear Aaron,

Where do I even start, my little universe?

I wanted to take a moment to talk to you in a way that we don’t generally talk. So that if you read this someday – whether I am around or not — you will understand what it is you mean to me. That there will never be any doubt how special and loved you are.

You are such a beautiful enigma wrapped up in charm and wit and intellect (and righteous anger, at times!) and smiles. You make my heart burst with joy and pride. The flip side is, of course, that you know how to cut my knees out from under me in the blink of an eye.  🙂

I live everyday with you reminding myself that I never knew my father. He was gone long before I ever had a chance to. Maybe that’s why I’m constantly trying to create memories with you — for fear that I, too, could be gone in an instant. And that more than anything in the world, I would want you to remember me fondly and specifically and know the depth of my love for you while we were able to be together.

From the moment you were put on this Earth, I had a higher purpose. I suppose every parent thinks that. But with you, it was different. I felt I owed you the father’s love I never had as a child. My dad was an imaginary being I talked to when I was upset or scared. I still do to this day. I wanted yours to be flesh and blood and imperfections and silly anecdotes and long talks and bear hugs. I wanted to teach you how to do things and have a million pictures of us creating and playing together.

So, if I insist on a photo, humor me. Ok, boss?

People sometimes stop us and say “Oh, he’s a little clone of you!”. They are wrong. You are all the best parts of me improved upon. And your potential eclipses mine like the sun does a candle.

So, my goal now is to teach you, as best I can, things like humility and respect for others and responsibility and selflessness. It’s a work in progress, but your empathy even now makes me proud. Perhaps it is what I am most proud of. Because it means you will grow up kind. I know of no better lesson or gift I can impart to you.

My promise while I am here is to support you in whatever endeavors you wish to undertake. I will be there to guide you and coach you, but also to hold you accountable. Because I know what you are capable of when you set your mind and heart to it, and you owe yourself no less.

I love you unconditionally. You will make mistakes, and so will I. We will own them together and — even as I teach you now — we will say “I’m sorry”, forgive each other, and move on.  I’ll never shame you for a mistake you take responsibility for. We will celebrate the lessons learned and how we grow from them instead.

I love watching you grow. Please don’t be embarrassed or be too hard on me if you catch me simply staring and noting the details and changes in your face. Or if, even now, I need to run my hand across your brow or cheek. I want to make sure I capture everything I can while I can. Because it is all too fleeting.

If you’ve stuck with me through this point in this letter, I’m flattered. Your reading stamina has improved quite a bit since 1st grade.  😉

I love you, Aaron. I could write those four words all day. And you still would not comprehend the boundless depths of that love.

Keep growing. Keep discovering. Keep taking risks and chasing dreams. Because as long as you are true to yourself and kind in your treatment of others, you will never be a failure in my eyes.

You will always be my little trooper. And I will always be proud.

All my love,

Daddy

 

Leftovers

It started with leftover chicken.

Last night, I cooked a roasted chicken for Aaron and me. It turned out perfectly. I mean, anytime your six year-old asks for seconds, you’ve done some “Iron Chef”- level poultry mastery. We laughed, we ate, we cleaned up. We went through the rest of our evening, and I put him to bed after we read and cuddled.

This afternoon, I pulled out the chicken. And as I took off the plastic wrap, I felt the tears.  Because I realized that by the time I see him again, the chicken would be gone or spoiled.

A whole weekend without a part of my heart…again.

And now, here I am. Compelled to finally start sharing what I feel as I struggle to navigate going from full-time Dad to half-time parent.

Our grasp on what we love and how we maintain control over our emotions and order our lives when faced with tremendous life-changes is tenuous, at best.

So, this is now a part of my therapy. And my sounding board. And my comedic sketchpad, on occasion. Because I really do hope that those who join me for this journey will, indeed, find solace as they cope with their own trials and have cause to smile and laugh with me at times.

Just not at this moment.

Right now, I hug his pillow and sob.