William, this is one of the few times I will address you by name. But I want you to know this…
I Love You!
While what happened to the 7 to 8-year-old children in Newtown, Connecticut is tragic, it will not keep me from letting you grow up. I can’t protect you forever. You always want to hold my hand to go to sleep. However, I will not always be able to do that. I can’t keep some creep from coming in and taking you in your sleep. I can’t keep you from playing on our driveway and some drunk driving through our lawn and hitting you. I can’t keep you from playing in our back yard and someone shooting a gun in the air a mile away and the bullet hitting you. I can’t keep you from going to school and someone deciding that shooting children is the answer. These are all things that have happened before, what is to keep them from happening again.
I can’t keep these things from happening. As much as I want to, I can’t. William, I love you! I love you more than you will ever be able to realize. That is the one thing I can tell and show you. I will tell you that every, single, day. I do NOT want something to happen to you and deal with the feelings that I would have if I did not tell you that. Those feelings would be more difficult. I can not even imagine what the parents of the children who were shot are going through. I do not wish that upon anyone.
I have to let you grow up, I have to let you go places where I do not have control over the surroundings. It is one of the risks that I am taking as a parent. I want you to know though, I love you William.
Son, this piece of advice that I am going to give you is something that I wish I had done when I was younger, yet I know that later it will come back to bite me in the butt.
Santa is real.
You have just started recognizing who this strange man is. You know that he has a white beard and is round plump belly. You point out all of the Christmas items we have in the house that are of Santa.
When you believe, Christmas means so much more to you. Not only that but you get more presents, something that you are just now going to learning about but Christmas carry’s a whole new meaning. The Christmas lights shine brighter (wait till your older son and all you will see is your electric bill rising because of them), the presents under the tree seem bigger, the egg nog tastes alittle bit more eggier.
That son, is why you want to always believe. I wish I did.
Son, I dread the holidays. Well OK, you got me, I love the holidays. I just hate the holiday travel. At this time you probably don’t know why. I know that you probably hate being strapped into your car seat for hours on end as we go and see family, get used it. Once you become a parent, you will fully understand my hatred of holiday travel.
Since you hate travel you make it difficult for your mother and father. We have come up with a few ways to help elevate the problem however that can only go so far. You can only take a nap for at most 2 hours, unless we give you bourbon, but something tells me that I would not be a good parent if I did that. You can only read the same book so many times and you can only play with the same toy for so long.
I would hope that this year will be different. I would love to count the trucks as we drive and I would love to play eye-spy with you. Not only would this help pass the time but it would keep you entertained for at least an hour of our 6 hour tour. My singing obviously doesn’t keep you happy because you keep on screaming “DON’t DADDY” as I sing to you.
Let me tell you son, that if you are pleasant in the car, it will make the trip go by much quicker and make mommy and daddy more pleasant to be around. I wish that there was a way to show you how much more fun we are to be around when you follow our directions but I can only practice what I preach for so long before I go insane.
You do not get to see this side of the family that much and so at least I am excited about seeing them, your mother on the other hand might not be looking forward to seeing the in-laws, but what person likes seeing their in-laws right? I know that you will have fun because this is a Thanksgiving and Christmas for you! You will get to eat a lot of food, hopefully fall into a turkey coma, and play with the new toys that your grandparents will be getting you.
All I ask is for a nice quiet trip out there and back and maybe if you are good, I might get you a Sonic Slush.
Son, I am going to give you some advice. I know that you will not completely understand what I am talking about until you are 40. Some advice that your grandparents have given me, I still haven’t learned. This piece of advice though I don’t want you to wait 5 years upon entering the real world to realize, like I did.
Find a job where you get holidays off.
There are a lot of jobs where sometimes you have no choice in the matter. As a news photographer, I did not have that choice. I worked holidays whether I wanted to or not. Some years I worked on Christmas and the others I worked on Thanksgiving. It was difficult to plan any family visits, even more difficult seeing family members create traditions disregarding the schedule that was forced upon me and my family.
However, when I entered the work force after graduating college, that life style was something I enjoyed. I loved the life of being on-call, working awful hours, and holidays. Then, I met your mother, eventually you were born and my whole perception on my job, and career path changed. I wanted to be able to spend more time with you and your mother. I wanted to start those family holiday traditions that every family has.
Luckily, this year, just after your second birthday, we are able to start those traditions. I now have a job that allows me to spend more time with you and your mother. My job allows me to spend the holidays with our family.
Thanksgiving is soon upon us. One thing that I will be excited to share with you is what this holiday is about. It is all about spending time with family and giving thanks. Whether that is around a dinner table, on a Skype session with your loved one serving overseas, or in a line for Black Friday sales at Wal-Mart.
Son, you are developing an attitude. I realize that you are two and that my bad attempts at rationalizing with you are futile. I know that telling you if you eat atleast 3 bites of your meal will lead to getting to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will never really mean anything to you. More then likely you will still say no and mom and dad will go back on our word two hours later and let you watch Charlie Brown when you have begged enough.
However, in an attempt to understand the Language of “Toddler” that you speak son, I think I have understand what you really mean when you say “no.”
You really mean “Yes!” When you say “No daddy” to when I ask if you want to help pick up, you really do want to help pick up.
When you say “No Mommy” when asked if you want to read a book, you really do want to.
When you say “No Mommy Daddy” to us when we start singing to you, you really do want us to continue singing.
When you say “No Mommy Daddy” to us when we ask if you want to go to bed or not, well you may not really want to go bed, but deep down you do.
I could be completely off in my translation of your language. You could mean the exact opposite and really mean no when you say, “No.” If that is really the case than we need to work on your attitude young man.