It was on this day, nine years ago, that my entire world changed. This day is the day I became a father.
I cried that day. Once you were finally here and you were crying and complaining at the light and the cold that you were experiencing for the first time, I slumped against the nearest hard surface and bawled. I well up now just thinking about it. My son was born.
That crying, vulnerable, beautiful baby boy is nine years old today.
I remember your mother and I as first-time parents, worrying and struggling over every little thing. I remember the pizza sauce and icing smeared across your face on your first birthday. I remember you, eighteen months old, peacefully sitting on my lap as I played games on the computer. I remember the day you got your big-boy bed, and how excited you were. Memory after memory, each one a portrait hanging on a wall in my mind with your name at the top.
Son, I’m watching you. You’re not really a little boy anymore, even though I desperately want to hold tight onto that part of you just a bit longer. I can see the young man you’re growing to become. So, I want you to know these three things:
I love you.
I am proud of you.
I see how good you are.
You have become more and more responsible with each passing year. You are diligent in your work, and you see the reward of it. You give without argument. You love and care for your baby sister without complaint. I could go on and on, but I have to save something for next year.
I’m sorry for all the ways I haven’t deserved to be your father. I’m sorry for when I’ve blown you off, when I’ve had no patience for you, when I’ve been angry at you. I’m sorry that I’ve not been even a passable reflection of the Father that loves you more than I ever could. I could never give you up, even if it was the only way to save the world.
I thank God for you, Steven. My life is richer because you are in it.
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