So, pardon me if I go all “proud, doting dad.
Six years. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true. The kid that I could almost hold in one hand as a newborn now comes past my waist when se stand together.
The kid who’s first words were toddler-speak for “thank you,” which came out as “dee doo,” is now a regular chatter box and is taking Spanish.
The kid I once recorded singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” now requests two songs per night from me when it’s my turn to put him to bed. (And makes up some rather interesting songs of his own.)
The kid whose first steps I witnessed how plays soccer and takes swimming lessons.
The kid whose boo-boos I kissed now comforts his little brother when he falls down, or catches him before he falls. The same kid felt bad when a friend of his was sick and couldn’t come to his birthday party, and wanted to send him a card or a present to make him feel better.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that as a parent and a human being, I feel indescribably lucky and blessed to have Parker as my son and to be his dad. In fact, every so often I think to myself “I’m someone’s dad,” and it blows my mind a little.
Every day I am more proud of his spirit, his compassion, his confidence, his intelligence, and so many other things that on a daily basis cause me to smile or shake my head with wonder.
Every night that I put Parker to bed, before I close his door I say to him “Daddy and Papa love you.” Because I want that to be the last thing he hears at night, but also because we do.
The greatest gift of parenthood, for me, has been the discovery of a capacity to love I didn’t know I had, and the depth of which I never imagined.
When Parker was a toddler, I got down on the floor and looked at him and asked, “Do you know how much Daddy loves you?” And he’s open his arms and I’d say “more than that,” and he’d open them wider and wider until he started laughing, and I’d say “you can’t open your arms wide enough to show how much I love you. I can’t either.
My hope as a parent, is that I my children grow up never doubting that they have my acceptance, support, and love, and I draw on that capacity every day, to give as much of that to them as I can.
So, thank you, Parker. For being. And happy birthday. Daddy loves you. Always will.