My Dear Son Charlie,
As is the yearly custom, I’m stunned once again that you are now another year older. I can’t believe that you are Five. It only seems a second ago that I could practically hold all of you in one hand.
You have matured in so many ways this past year. Your ability to conceptualize, or put ideas together in your head, is remarkable. I’ll never forget walking out of your favorite store (Radio Shack) recently and sharing my frustration that the man helping us couldn’t think creatively enough to help us figure out how to light up the pirate cannon we were making.
“Well, Daddy,” you said as we walked, “you and I don’t have any problem being creative, do we?”
Indeed we don’t, Charlie. You know, the older you get, the more I see so much of myself in you – the good and, yes, the not so great sometimes, too. Of course, you’re not exactly me and I try to remind myself of that constantly, but there really is quite a lot of similarity: the fascination with how things fit together, the passion for doing projects, the exuberance of spirit and the love for making and sharing good stories. There’s also the tunnel vision (an asset and a curse) and so much emotion flowing through your head that sometimes it’s hard to be fully aware of others around you – and yet, you’ve made some very special new friends in the last few months of being here.
It may not always be easy for you to ‘fit in’ but always know that if you look long enough, keep an open mind and a loving hand, that there is always a special place for you. There will always be people, like Isabella or Molly or Caitlin or Yael or Aiden, who will be able to see how wonderful a person you are.
No matter how old you are reading this letter, don’t forget this.
Lastly, I believe that when you are an adult and I’m, well, a tad older, we won’t just be father and son. We’ll be good friends as well. Let’s not hurry things along too much, though, okay?
In the meantime, being able to spend the time that I do with you, Charlie, is a true gift for me. It makes me feel more alive to be around you and your brother. It makes me more aware of myself. It makes me grow as a person as much as you do. Snuggling on the couch in the mornings, reading stories together, going on hikes to Ramapo Reservation, searching for coins on the beach, treks into the city to see the Molly, ‘The Red Balloon’ or the ‘Magic Window’s’ around Christmas – these are all things I know we both will always cherish.
I love you so much, Charlie, no matter what. Happy Fifth Birthday!