Friday, February 23, 2018

For Emma

To my Emma-Jemma,

Was this the fastest year of my life?

It hardly seems possible that an entire year has passed since your mama and I welcomed you into our lives, but at the same time, I cannot clearly remember what life was like before you arrived--those days feel hazy, as though they happened to somebody else, a lifetime ago.

I’ll be honest: I was never much of a baby person. If someone I knew was showing off their baby, I would intentionally keep my distance so that nobody would try to pass the baby to me. Holding a baby or even being in the same room as a baby always made me feel uncomfortable.

When I met you, though, I couldn’t stay away, and I didn’t want to let you go. I still don’t think of myself as a baby person, but you were never just a baby; you were my baby, and for some reason, that made all the difference in the world.

What I remember most clearly from those first days after you were born is counting down the minutes until I could see you and hold you again. You couldn’t do much more than yawn or sleep at that time, but I was still enchanted all the same.

Then, not long after you turned one month old, you started smiling at me. Giggles and games of peek-a-boo were not far behind.

Now you’re almost twice as tall as you were when you were born, and more than twice as heavy. You can crawl, and I’ll bet walking is only weeks away. Smiles, giggles and games are all highlights of my day. How many times have I read Jamberry to you? It’s easily in the hundreds. You haven’t gotten tired of it yet, and neither have I.

I actually got teary-eyed this evening when I picked you up to bring you to bed because I know that in the blink of an eye, you’ll be too big for me to cradle in my arms. I think I’m wired to always look forward to whatever’s next, to live in the future rather than in the present, but these moments are so precious, and I’m learning to cherish them.

Emma, the world is a beautiful place, filled with ducks and plum blossoms and tropical fish and everything else that has captured your imagination in your short time on the earth so far. But it’s also a broken place, and I think I worry about that more now that I’m a father. There’s so much that I cannot control, no matter how much I want to protect you from the world’s hurts.

Know this, though: you are loved deeply and unconditionally. You have a big family, biological and honorary alike, that spans the globe, who loves you. Your mama and your daddy love you. Most importantly, your heavenly Father loves you. This is nothing less than who you are.

Happy first birthday, my child--it has been a year of blessings, not the least of which has been the blessing that you are to us. I’m looking forward to life and learning with you in your second year!


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