To James On His Second Birthday

Dear James,

It never ceases to amaze me how you and your brother are growing up so fast. You have done so many incredible things this past year. You learned to walk. You discovered your favorite color (yellow.) You learned to talk. You figured out how to get along with people.

Before you were born I believed that nurture and nature are equal in defining people. However, seeing how different you are from Charlie and knowing that we’ve given you the same amount of time, love and care, it seems evident to me that the balance is more like 80%nature to 20% nurture. You and your brother definitely arrived with your ‘bags packed.’

While your brother would still probably be allowing us to feed him, the moment you could grapple a small fork, the message was very clear: I want to do this myself. You no doubt have your mom’s independent streak. You want things your way and how you like them. It’s funny how when Charlie wants something, we can easily distract him with something else, but you are not easily distracted. It’s good to know what you want, but don’t get too rigid as you’re sometimes want to do. Life just doesn’t always work your way.

I have no doubt that when you and your brother are older, you’re going to be looking out for Charlie – or at least that’s my hope. “Don’t mess with my brother or you’re going to have to deal with me,” is something I can imagine hearing the teenage version of you saying. That’s not to say your brother is a pushover, but I can already see that you’re tougher. Not only mentally but physically as well.

You’re already quite the schmoozer. One of the moments this year that really stands out was when we were in the process of selling our Hoboken apartment and the real estate agent came over with a contract offer. We were sitting around the couch in the living room. You wanted to check out the contract and so I put the document on the other side of the ottoman, so that it would be opposite to where you were. Well, you decided to charm the agent by smiling at him, then finessing your way past to get to the contract.

And then there was the time last Spring when we were all on that water taxi at Epcot and you started flirting with an entire team of cheerleaders. (Yes, there are videos, so go look.) Between your good looks and your charms, I’m not terribly worried about your future dating life.

So, happy 2nd birthday sweet baby James. I love you so much and know that years from now I’ll look back with a big smile at the quiet mornings that we used to sit quietly and read story after story, sitting on our couch, drinking milk and OJ together. Being able to share this moment in your young life is such a gift.

With great love,

Daddy

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