You turn 12 today. It’s hard to believe. Adults tell you that time goes by so fast. It’s true, and the older you get, the faster it goes.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel today. It’s an emotional Neapolitan scoop of joy, confusion, and sadness.
I love you so much. I love you as only a father could love his first-born son. I became a dad because of you. I will always be grateful for that.
You are one of my very favorite people. I am proud beyond words of the man you’re becoming.
Your humor and curiosity bring me a joy that I am forever thankful for. I love when we make up crazy stories and laugh until it huts. Those are the best.
I look back over these incredibly short 12 years and stand amazed. God gave mom and me this incredible person to care for.
I was 21 and scared the day you were born. That’s only 9 years older than you are now. I didn’t think I was ready for that kind of responsibility. Who ever is?
Now I’m 33. I’m still scared, and I still don’t feel ready for this responsibility.
I’m so confused, even though you might think I have it all together. Every day is a new adventure. You’re asking more and more questions that I’m not sure how to answer. I hope you know I’m doing the best I can.
Are you seriously in middle school now? Last week I left you in Mrs. Barton’s kindergarten class on your first day of school.
High school is only two and a half years away. I had a really hard time with that. I hope I’ll be able to help you out. Will you please ask me for help anyway? I’ll still want to talk to you about it.
You’re into football and will soon be into girls. I know next to nothing about either of those things. Just ask your mom.
Sometimes I wish you were into books and writing like I am. I’m not disappointed in you, though. I respect that you’re becoming your own man. Don’t let this world make you into something you’re not.
I can’t teach you how to change the oil in your car or shoot a deer. But I can help teach you how be patient, loving, and take responsibility for yourself. I hope that’s enough.
I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I trust that God knew what He was doing when He gave you to me.
It makes me sad to think of all the opportunities I’ve squandered with you. I feel so undeserving of teaching and training you.
When I yell at you for not taking out the trash, I still see your 5-year-old face looking up at me when I used to yell at you for not going to sleep.
When I ignore you because I’m too “busy,” I still see myself not paying attention to a 7-year-old begging me to come see his latest Lego creation.
When I harp on you (again) for not picking up your room, I still see a 3-year-old crying in the corner after I threw your Hot Wheels across your room because you wouldn’t pick them up.
And it breaks my heart. Will you forgive me for all that?
I’ll never get those moments back with you. All the yelling and chastising is etched on the walls of our past. I hope you’ll be a better man than I am.
I have no way of knowing how much more time I’ll have with you. It could be the rest of my life, or it could be one more day.
If it is one more day, then please know that I want to make our moments count. All I have with you are the moments right now.
I can’t promise I’ll never yell at you or ignore you. I can’t give you my word that I won’t take out my frustrations on you. I can’t say that there won’t be times where you’ll hate me for what it seems I’m dong to you.
But I can promise that I will forgive you always.
I promise I’ll love you fiercely and unconditionally.
I promise I’ll love you with everything I have for every moment I have left.
The best part is, even though I don’t deserve it, I know you’ll do the same for me.
Always know I love you, bud.