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Friday, July 20, 2007

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Dear Nate and Will,

I have several friends who write monthly letters to their kids on their blogs, and I haven’t really done that… mostly so they won’t accuse me of copying them. But today’s special, so I’ll risk their wrath.

One year ago today you two guys were born. It hardly seems possible it was that long ago. It feels like it just happened yesterday, or perhaps 30 years ago, I’m not sure which.

In the past 12 months, we’ve watched you grow from tiny red bundles of need into two distinct individuals with your own habits and personalities.

Nate, you’re a patient and methodical baby. You notice detail and can occupy yourself for long periods of time by performing what I’m assuming are the baby equivalent of physics experiments. You’ll pick up a round plastic lid, drop it, and watch with fascination as it rotates on the floor before stopping. Then you’ll pick up the lid, tilt it at a different angle, and repeat the experiment.

You also appear anxious to begin talking. For the past several weeks, you’ve been mimicking human speech. You’ll look at me with purpose, and say something like, “da da gla gla, ga ma wa.” I imagine you think that means something. You’re actually quite bookish for a 12 month old child. Even when you were much, much younger, you’d love it when your mom would sit you on her lap and read a book to you. Now that you’re older, you’re interested in turning the pages by yourself. (You’re not actually all that good at it… yet.)

Perhaps your most charming trait is the joy you seem to derive from the happiness of others. One of the toughest things to do as the parent of twins is play with one child while the other it watching. Sure, there are plenty of things all three of us can do together, but some things, (dancing, airplane rides, etc.) can only be done one at a time. While you enjoy playing, you get almost as big a smile when you see your brother having fun. You’ll point and laugh at him and wait patiently until it’s your turn.

In other situations, you’ll try to get the attention of others and try to make them smile. Well, Nate, you make me smile a lot, without even trying.

And as for you, Will, you’ve spent your first year as something of an explorer. You were the first one to learn how to roll over, the first to crawl, and the first to pull yourself up on furniture. Each time, you were focused and determined to reach the next level of mobility.

Once you learn a new trick, you want to see how high you can climb or how far you can crawl. Just yesterday, you almost figured out how to scale the play wall by using a knob as a foothold. Had you been left unattended for a few seconds longer, I’m pretty sure you would have succeeded.

You also like to jump. You were in Utah in November when you started jumping on your grandfather’s lap. You really haven’t stopped since, Will. You bring vigor and enthusiasm to whatever you do, from splashing in the bathtub to shoveling Cheerios into your mouth to jumping on your bed when you really should be sleeping.

What people notice most about you is your smile, Will. You have a broad smile that is difficult to resist. This can make life difficult when I’m supposed to be resisting you by, say, putting you to bed or inserting some odd glob of baby food into your mouth. But your little toothy grin has already earned you some big fans among the sweet young (very young) things in Medford.

In your short lives, you’ve both become minor TV celebrities in the small town you were born in. You’ve appeared on TV about 6 times now, and when I meet people on the streets, they stop and tell me how beautiful you two are and how fun you seem to be.

And they’re right, you’re both really fun. Now that I see how fun you are, and how cool you’re turning out to be, I’m almost a little embarrassed at how much I dreaded parenthood before you were born.

Perhaps dreaded isn’t quite the right word, but I wasn’t all that anxious to enter the world of parenting. But then I met you guys. How could I not like you guys? How could I not love you guys?

While your presence in our lives means that we no longer get to take cool international vacations and go out to eat every night, you’ve made your mom and me happier than we ever could have imagined.

This happiness is in sharp contrast to the events in the world around us. The day you were born, the front page of the New York Times featured a picture of Israeli troops invading Lebanon.

By most objective measures, these are not good times. Our country is bogged down in an unpopular war in Iraq. Our government is mired in a series of scandals that can cause a person to question the very ideals the country was founded on. A shaky economy and housing market have people feeling uncertain about their futures. Then there’s this lingering dread over international terrorism washing up on our shores.

Yet even in these troubled times, your mom and I have found an abundance of happiness with each other. And once the two of you arrived, our joy was increased exponentially.

So on our birthday, I’ll have a few wishes of my own as you blow out your single candle (or as your mom blows it out, anyway).

Wish One: That I get to see many, many more of these birthdays. Your lives are like this wonderful story, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the next page.

Wish Two: That you’ll continue to be patient with your mother and me and we figure out how to be parents. Neither of you came with instruction manuals.

Wish Three: That you’ll be able to see past the deep imperfections of the world we’ve brought you into and find true happiness. Before you were born, I actually debated the morality of forcefully bringing anyone into this world. After all, it’s pretty messed up. But then I met you two guys, and all that worry seemed pretty silly.

Despite all the violence and hate and sadness in the world, there’s also a lot of beauty, joy and love to be had as well. And the arrival of my two little boys last year has filled my life with much beauty, joy, and love.

So happy birthday, little guys. We’ve made you some cupcakes, and you’ll get to open some presents, too. But we will never be able to give you any gift as wonderful as you’ve given us.

Thank you.

Love,
Dad

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4 Comments:

At 4:40 am, Blogger Birchsprite said...

Ahhh

Happy Birthday Boys!

 
At 4:49 am, Blogger The Morey Family from Rochester said...

That was so sweet, Matt. And I think it perfectly sums up all (or at least the ones I know) parent's feelings for their little ones. Give my love to the boys.

Bate

 
At 8:38 am, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

What a beautiful letter! Happy birthday to the boys — I'm sure they'll appreciate this when they get older.

 
At 12:12 pm, Blogger Suzie said...

Now that was just plain sweet. Happy Birthday you handsome boys!

 

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