Dear Tommy

A letter to a newborn son.

You’re stirring in your sleep, sprawled in your basinet maybe a dozen feet from where I’m writing this. It’s 2:19 a.m.; if I hurry, I might get this written before you wake up and start calling for food.

And there’s so much to say. So many stories already, and you’re only two weeks old.

The stories started before you were born, of course. There’s the one about how our dog Coltrane told me Mom was pregnant. There was the first Christmas present you gave us, when we first saw your tiny heart flickering on the sonogram.

There were the marigolds that bloomed on your birthday, just like the tulips that bloomed when I was born.

You came into this world right on deadline — 11:39 p.m. on your due date. I’ve been bragging about this to everyone at the newspaper where I work, since they all know what a deadline junkie I am.

You’re growing so fast. Mom swears you’re bigger every time she picks you up after a nap. And, oh, you’re such a good sleeper. You go for hours and hours at a time, and Mom and I are unimaginably grateful. (I’m bragging a lot about that at work, too.)

And you’ve inherited my personal modesty. Even in utero, you refused to let us get a good look at your privates, so we never knew if you were a boy or a girl. Mom and I joked that you’d come out the birth canal and demand a fig leaf. We weren’t far off: Now that you’re out here with us, you scream whenever we take your shirt or diaper off.

And I love it. I’m absolutely infatuated with you.

I love the way you clamp your mouth onto my finger and suck with all your might. I love how you furrow your brow all the time, making you look like you’re contemplating global warming or the situation in the Middle East. I even love the little “splurt” your digestive system makes, trumpeting to the world that your diaper is full. (Mom and I about fell over laughing the first time we heard it.)

I just love being a dad. While Mom was pregnant with you, all my colleagues and older friends told me my life was about to change forever. They were right, of course, but I can’t imagine how I could have prepared for it. Mom and I spend a lot of time these days talking about how things have changed, how we’ve become boring old farts at the frightfully young age of 25.

But you know what? I’m okay with being a homebody if it means more time with you. Being your dad is more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

I’m so grateful to you, Tommy. Yeah, there will probably be times when I won’t feel so appreciative, like when you feed my income tax forms to the dog or when you wreck my car one of these years. But even then, you’ll be enriching my life just by being here with me. Thank you so much for being my son.

I don’t know when you’ll read this. Maybe I’ll have the nerve to show it to you in 10 or 15 years. Maybe you’ll discover it on your own. It doesn’t matter. Just know this: I love you. I’ve loved you since the moment I knew you existed. And I always will.

It sounds like you’re waking up; I should probably go help Mom get set up to feed you. I guess I’m really just looking for any excuse to hold you and snuggle you close to my chest, letting you know you’re safe and warm and that I’ll be here with you forever.

I love you.

— Dad

Article © 2005 by Michael Duck