Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jackson

Today is your eighth birthday, Jackson. You don't know that I'm writing this, and you may not know it for years to come. But I want you to know how proud I am, and what has meant to me to be your father.

After you were born, your mother and I bought our very first house to make the best possible home for you. It was brand new, the walls flawlessly white. The one bit of color, and the only color it would get for the first four years was your room. Like the only ornament on a tree. We bought the best of everything: a crib, a rocker, shelves, changing table and dresser, stroller, car seat, Baby Bjorn, even a fancy country-style backpack that we only used once. Everything had to be perfect.

Your mother had a stack of books she read tirelessly, insisting that I read them too. Of course I didn't, because I am just a guy after all. I went to all the classes though. Lamaze. Even one on breast feeding. I saw some videos that still wake me up in the middle of the night.

There is nothing in the world that can prepare a couple for a new born baby. When you first came out, you were like a little alien that looked just like my grandpa. It wasn't real, and yet it was all too real. We had no idea what to do.

The nurse swaddled you in a blanket so that only your little scrunched-up face stuck out. You barely weighed more than a feather. I could hold you in the palm of my hand. And I did, quite often, just for the fun of it. I never let you out of my sight. When the nurses took you to the nursery, I followed right behind in case they tried to switch you out for another.

Despite the fact that we had spent so much time on your new room, you slept with mommy and daddy for the first year. We had read and heard accounts of what kind of trouble we had created for ourselves, that you would never sleep in your own bed. But when we finally did put you in your crib, you didn't mind at all. Lesson in life: don't believe what you read. Parents are just kids with deeper voices. The good ones do what's best for their kids.

I read to you every night, and thank God I did. Now you love books almost as much as you love video games, just like your dad.

Once I sat the video camera up on a tripod and filmed my advice to you in case I was killed in a car accident. I drew a total blank. Feeling embarrassed, I rewound and taped over it. Too bad. You would have seen how inarticulate I can truly be. Hard to believe, I know. It's one thing to know who you are inside, and another to put it into words with such confidence as to inspire the same in someone else.

When I look at you, I see a lot of myself. All the good things and none of the bad. We all have insecurities, and I have plenty. The advantage you have in this life is a mom and dad that will always look out for you. We won't yell or hit or belittle, and when we make mistakes we will apologize. That's a world apart from how we were raised. Instead of passing the buck, the buck stops with us. You will always have the advantage that our undivided attention will afford.

Mere words cannot express the ocean depths of my feelings toward you. When I see you smile your real, ungoverned smile, and hear the musical lilt of your laughter, it lights the darkest of darkest days. You are my son. You are the best part of me. You are the future, and it is my foremost purpose to make yours the best that it can be.

Happy Birthday, Jackson.

6 comments:

mr. schprock said...

Really nice, Scott. I hope Jackson gets to read this someday.

Shesawriter said...

What a beautiful tribute. A father's love is eternally pure and never-ending.

Bailey Stewart said...

Happy Birthday Jackson.

I second Mr. Schprock - I hope Jackson gets to read this one day.

The Zombieslayer said...

That's awesome, Scott.

I read to you every night, and thank God I did. Now you love books almost as much as you love video games, just like your dad.

This is one thing I don't get. I read a lot of books to Junior, yet he has no interest in books at all. Both of us read a lot, and we try to live by example. Well, maybe he'll start reading later.

Alan said...

Woo, Lordy. I will resist getting all runny here (see what I did?!), but you have to know how frikkin' awesome this is to me.

You're awesome.

I'm linking to this in my next post. You've got a lot of readers, but I want to share you with a few more.

magnetbabe said...

Oh, Scott this is so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Jackson will grow up to be such a wonderful man because of you and your wife.