To Jim on His 2nd Birthday

I thought about writing you a physical letter, but by the time you would be somewhat interested in reading it that piece of paper would have inevitably gotten lost. So I’m putting it on here. This is my blog. Who knows what they’ll be in 10 or 20 years. I realize that by directing you to this one day, I am taking a bit of a risk. You’re going to discover that in addition to writing about matters of faith and raising you that I’ll occasionally waste over 2,800 words pitching sequels to cheesy movies from the 1990s. Your dad can be a bit of a nerd sometimes. I’m sorry about that.

It’s hard to believe that you are already two years old. It doesn’t seem that long ago since we were in that hospital room. That entire day was a blur. But I still remember how small and fragile you were. You may have opened your eyes once that first day. Everyone was so excited to see you. Your mom and I felt blessed beyond anything to have such a healthy, handsome baby boy.

We feel infinitely more blessed today. You are no longer that tiny, fragile baby. You are definitely a tough little guy. You are constantly moving. You shoot balls into a laundry basket. You climb up and down off the couch. You trip and spring back up. When you run, your shoulders and arms curl up like you’re a cannonball about to shoot off. You give really good hugs even though sometimes your version of a hug is looking to the side and just saying “Awwww.”

Two years ago, the only sounds you really made were crying and cooing. Today it seems like you add another section of the dictionary to your vocabulary every week. When we drive through town, you point out the cars, the flags, the names of restaurants, and animals. The other day when I was trying to get Obie into the car, you told him to “Hop in.” We can carry on some conversations with you. One of the coolest things about being your dad has been getting to watch you discover the world around you. I hope you never lose that sense of awe.

Now I don’t want you to think that you were perfect during this time period. On occasion, you throw a wicked temper tantrum and during those you have a knack for hitting me in the windpipe. You haven’t quite learned that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Of course, you are two. You also have a pretty thorough addiction to watching Curious George on television. Most mornings the first thing you say to me is “Watch George.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably prefer that to a lot of shows you’ll end up watching in the future, but good grief, we watch George a lot.

But those are just little things. On the whole? My gosh, you’re amazing. I cannot adequately describe to you how lucky your mom and I feel to have you as a part of our lives. By being your parents, I think that each of us have become better people. We’ve become more patient, more caring. I cannot adequately put into words how much we both love you. And the fact of the matter is that love is only going to grow.

In a way, you have been one of the things that has kept me tethered to God these last few years. The world, sometimes the church, and mainly folks on the internet make it really hard sometimes to continue following Jesus. But I look at you and I want to keep going. I want you to love and trust Jesus. I want you to be a Christian that loves people and makes a true difference in the world. I don’t want you to have a house of cards faith like so many people do where if you remove an inconsequential thing then everything else comes falling down. And so there are times when I’m not sure if I want to press on and you’re one of the reasons that I still do.

It’s weird to think about you reading this in the future. A lot of things are going to change. For starters, you’ll be able to read. I realize we’re going to hit a point where I suddenly will become exponentially less cool to you. We’ll grow apart some because that’s how life works. Your capacity for disobeying us is going to increase one day and we’ll have to discipline you. You’re going to mess up. We’re going to mess up. My hope and prayer is that we can make it through all of that. I hope we do a good job teaching you right from wrong and about loving God in a way that doesn’t self-destruct when you hit adulthood. I hope I don’t screw things up because I believe you can do so many wonderful things. 

I promise you that I will do whatever I can to protect you and guide you through life. Know that I am always here for you. Know that you can ask me absolutely anything no matter what. Know that I will always be proud to call you my son. Know that I love you more than you’ll ever know.

And know that one of the very best things that happens to me everyday right now is when you look up at me, smile, and say “Daddy.”

So Happy Birthday Jim. I love you with all my heart and I really do believe you are the most amazing kid in the world.

Your Dad 

Meanderings on Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

Remembering Baptism