Your tiny head of wavy black hair fits perfectly in my palm. Your thin little fingers are covered with delicate skin that looks like crumpled tissue paper but feels so soft against my own. When you wake up, yawn, and try to peer out from under those heavy eyelids with those beautiful dark eyes, my heart just melts.
Welcome to our family, Seth. I’m so glad you’re finally here in my arms.
Mom and I were so excited to learn she was pregnant again. But you made the next nine months pretty rough for her, starting with weeks and weeks of heartburn. (After Mom saw on the sonogram that you were a boy, she figured you were just being manly and liked hearing her burp.) Then you started the kickboxing training on her ribcage and the headbutting on her bladder.
After all that, you had the good sense to make your delivery pretty easy for Mom. You came out after only five minutes of pushing, even though you have shoulders like a linebacker. You have a neck like a bodybuilder, too, and a face like a Sumo wrestler, with your jowly cheeks flopping around your itsy-bitsy mouth.
And there’s no better feeling in this world than holding you close to my chest, even when your little whimper of a cry builds to a full-throated scream.
You know what, Seth? I’m pretty scared, too. I didn’t think I would be — I figured I had made all of my baby-soothing, bottle-feeding, and diaper-changing mistakes on your big brother. But, see, there’s my new mistake right there: I’m comparing the two of you already! What if I end up doing stupid things that make you feel like you’re always competing with your brother? How can I convince you that I love you just as much?
This part is so new. I know how to be a daddy of one little boy, but I’m terrified that somehow I’ll screw up when I try to be the daddy of two little boys.
But that’s okay. You can teach me. You’re already so strong, so confident. Every time you fight to open your eyelids and watch the shape of my outstretched hand, every time you try to pick up your head using that tree-trunk neck of yours, you make me believe.
You are an amazing boy — and you will be an amazing man — entirely on your own merits. Never let me or anyone else convince you otherwise.
I’m already so very proud of you. Proud of how your lanky legs and feet resemble mine. Proud of how you sleep even when your brother bangs on the piano and the dog won’t quit barking. Proud of how you grasp and clutch at my fingers, how you suck on your pacifier with all your might, how your eyes search every detail of my face.
I don’t know when you’ll read this, but I want you to know one thing: I love you. I’ve loved you since the moment I knew you existed. And I always will.