A Letter to My Son on the Occasion of his First Father's Day

Father’s Day: June 21, 2015

To My Son:

As Father’s Day approaches and Doug receives cards and books from you and Alex (a family tradition), I’ve been thinking about your first official celebratory day as father to beautiful baby Solomon.  Your active engagement and absolute joy in your role as a father confirms all that I have wanted for you and your brother (as I imagine Alex in a similar position some day) as parents. Although our family life was, at times, unorthodox, you seem to have gleaned the best parts and incorporated them into the ordinary parts of your family life.

 The smiles on your face in the early pictures with Solomon and Kate, replicated in full in-person when we visited last month, reveal so much to me. I think “besotted” might be an apt description, although your love for Solomon must grow deeper each day than any words can express. I cherish the telephone calls (and of course, the pictures) with the details of your days and nights, learning of Solomon’s progress, his daily development, his quirks—and your awe (I must admit, I will always think of your college senior project when I use that word) at the constant changes in this little boy who has captured all our hearts.

 When Kate’s mother spoke with her a few days after Kate and Solomon were home from the hospital, she heard crying in the background. Kate said, “No problem, Christopher will take care of him.” And you do, swaddling your son, taking him for long walks in his stroller to the marsh and through the woods, even comfortably changing his diaper on the forest floor, not wanting him to be uncomfortable for the additional ten minutes before we returned to the house. You have embraced fatherhood completely even as your daily life is no longer under your control.

You and Kate have invited us into your lives with grace, knowing that holding and feeding your baby are two of the most intimate, loving, and incredible feelings we, as grandparents, can have. Your brother anxiously awaits his in-person introduction to his nephew and, although he doesn’t have as many friends with children as you do, I’m sure he will embrace this role with aplomb and flare. I only wish my parents had had the opportunity to meet this great-grandson. You were very special to them; especially to Dad, who would immediately see your quiet strength and intelligence in this little boy. He would hold Solomon in his large, slender hands and cradle him with love. I will think of them, your Nana and Grandpa, as models when we fill this role for our grandson.

 I am so thrilled that you and Kate invited me to share the Taiwan trip in January, which will give me unprecedented time with Solomon and some mother time with you: an adventure, I’m sure! Please know that we are available to help in whatever way we can; however you may need us; whenever the time arises.

 I tried to meet each day as your parent with wonder, amazement and curiosity: some days were difficult, some were sad, all were fulfilling. I look forward to seeing you and Kate experiencing all these different emotions with the family you have lovingly created. My son with his son: a perfect combination, always in my heart, forever in my mind.