A Letter To My Son On His First Birthday

Joseph,

It seems like just yesterday your mother and I were walking into the hospital as we were waiting with great anticipation for your arrival into our family. When we walked into the hospital that day, I didn’t realize just how much you were going to change my life in just one year.

If I had to put a theme on your first year of life, I would call it happy. It seems as though from the moment you made your appearance, you have been smiling and happy the entire time. Sure there were times that you were, like when you had to have your throat checked out to make sure that there wasn’t anything wrong. But it wasn’t 10 minutes later that you were back to your happy self. It seems as though it doesn’t matter what life has thrown your way, you are always… ALWAYS smiling.

Over this last year, you have grown up so much too. Not just in the usual ways. But I am always taken aback when I see just how naturally curious you are. And you have no fear either. When there is something that you want to look at or figure out how it works, crawling over the dog, the couch, up the stairs won’t stop you.

Speaking of crawling, it seems as though you prefer crawling to walking. I mean don’t get me wrong crawling is a great way to get around but walking is a lot better. Just some fatherly advice I needed to pass on. Plus, I’ll need you to mow the lawn in about 12 years. At which point your brother will be close to going off to college, and I’ll need your help around the house.

You have a very special big brother too. He takes such good care of you. I am always amazed at seeing how much he loves you and wants to make sure that you are safe. So many times have we forgotten to close the baby gate or looked the other way, and you started to make your way up the stairs, and he is right there to pull you away from danger. He loves you so much despite the annoyance of having to make sure that all his Legos are picked up. My feet appreciate that though.

You have forced me to grow up over this past year. You have put things into perspective. No matter what is going on in the outside world or how grim things might look, we have each other. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Every year of your life is going to be fun, but this is when the fun really gets going. You will soon be walking, or running, and this whole dad bod that you see on me will probably soon vanish as quickly as your chubby thighs. There is a chance you might be saying your first words. As much as I’d like to think that when you say, “dadda” right now is you actually saying, daddy, you might not be, but soon… you will be, and I will be coming home from work and not only will your brother run up to me saying daddy, but you will be too.

You have made being a dad all worth it. Don’t get me wrong so does your brother but, I am in a different stage in life than when your brother was the same age. I’ve started to enjoy it more. I’ve began to enjoy the moments you are crawling all over me on the floor and yes even the times you wake up at night. I know that there will be a time that you will no longer want to wrestle with me or want me to hold you in my arms. While there might be an end to some of these things, there is one thing you can always count on, that I will be there for you as your dad.

Here is to the next year and the one after that and the one after that.

Happy Birthday!

Love,

Dad

The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad is father of 2, husband, TV Producer, runner, and co-founder of Dads Round Table and a contributor to Traveling Dad and Good Men Project.

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