Dear Benjamin

Two weeks ago you were just a writhing bump in my wife’s belly. Now you’re a squirming, crying, farting and cooing ball of life that wakes me up at night, makes me laugh out loud, and tugs at my heart with every seemingly random expression that crosses your face.

Two weeks ago your mother and I were an upwardly mobile young couple, masters of our own destiny and authors of our own story. Now it’s your destiny that concerns us most, and we have a new role as characters in your story.

Two weeks ago I was Jon: husband, geek and student. Now I’m a dad. And for at least the next 15-18 years or so, I’ll be expected to teach you all the things I’m only just starting to understand.

Rest assured that I’m going to make mistakes. That there will be times when I won’t know what you need — whether it’s at 2:00 in the morning and you won’t stop crying, or 10 years from now when you come home from school in tears. That there will be times when I’ll correct you when you didn’t deserve it, and times that you’ll make a mistake and I won’t be there to pick you up. That there will be times when you are hurt, and I’m not there to help you, and times when you’ll be happy and I’ll forget to cheer for you.

But those things will happen because I’m human — not because I don’t love you with all my heart.

I read books before you were born. Books that accurately described how weird it was to have a pregnant wife, but failed miserably at describing how incredible it would feel to meet you. Books that warned that as the dad, I might not be able to bond with you until you were a bit older; that I might have confused feelings about how your arrival changes the dynamic of my marriage; that I might have difficulty learning the things your mother already instinctively knows about caring for you.

Those books were wrong.

I loved you the moment I laid eyes on you.
Your mother and I were totally prepared to have you in our family, and we couldn’t be happier that you’re here.
And you fit so perfectly in my arms that it wasn’t difficult at all to learn how to calm you down when you’re scared, wipe your little butt when you fill your diapers (how can so much poop come out of such a little man?!) and talk to you when you’re bright eyed and taking in your world.

It is incredible to me that you are my son. That you are a part of me and a part of the woman I love.
It is even more incredible to me that I am your dad. That God would trust me with such a huge responsibility, knowing as He must, that no matter how much I love you, I’m gonna make mistakes. I’m praying that I can do enough things right to balance those out. You deserve a better dad, but you’re gonna have to deal with me. I hope that when I fail, you’ll turn to your Father in heaven to take care of the things I can’t.

Love,
Daddy

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