Friday, January 16, 2009

Dear Big Brother

Dear Big Brother,

It's the end of an "era" in your life.  On the eve of your birthday, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the last 4 years.  There's something special about 4 years as a milestone-high school, college, presidential terms, etc.--and your birthday is no different.  You've sailed through babydom and toddler-hood, and now you're a preschooler.  Wow!  What fun lies ahead.

I remember the day you were born like it happened yesterday.  Amidst a number of memories, I'm struck by how your birth and your first few weeks of life told us so much about your personality.  You do everything in your own time, when you're ready.  After weeks of bedrest, Mom-E went full-term and had to be induced.  Even then, it took 13 hours (and 3 hours of pushing) before you decided to finally come out.  You cried very little after you were born (except to clear out your lungs), and instead just looked around and took everything in, studying it in detail.  That trend continued--even at a few weeks old, you liked to us to carry you from picture to picture in the house so that you could give them a closer look.  You are persistent, calculating, determined, and detail-oriented.  Mom-E and I will not have to worry (that much) about you being impulsive or giving in to peer pressure.  You have no problems saying "no."

Probably some of the most special times we've had had were when you were a few months old.  Dad-E was between school and a job, and we had 3 months at home together.  Though challenging and exhausting, we also had many adventures, tooling around outside with you strapped to my chest, facing forward in the Baby Bjorn.  You liked to hold my index fingers as we walked around.  It was at that point Dad-E decided that staying home with a baby is WAY harder (and better) than going to work.  I also remember one night where you just wouldn't sleep, and we ended up watching the Bourne Identity on the couch at 4am.

My mom told me that I was going to get the child "I so richly deserved."  If she meant an uncanny balance between sweet and stinker, then she got it right.  Over the last 4 years, you've elicited many intense emotions, including love, passion, amazement, wonder, and pride mixed with occasional fear, frustration, and just plain overwhelmed.  Through it all, you have made me a better person.  You've helped me to stop and ponder the little things.  Your curiosity and (almost) never-ending questions, such as "what does evil want to do with God's power?" constantly keep me on my toes.  Your imagination is blossoming.  I was intrigued by your story about how when babies are born, then press a button inside Mom-E's belly, go down a slide, and are caught by a net.  I also enjoyed hearing about how you just had to play with your Play-Doh, because you're a doctor and the Play-Doh was sick.  I love when we sing together as you jump on the bed, even though we probably shouldn't do that.  I'm at my happiest when you laugh uncontrollably out loud.  Your "running hugs" can always make my smile.

As you continue to grow and develop, I'm excited to see what the next 4 years will bring.  You love puzzles and anything technical--computers, trains, bridges, airplanes, and construction vehicles.  You have an almost unquenchable thirst for reading.  You check out library books by the gross.  You love to run.  I love building countless train tracks and Lego suspension bridges with you, only to tear them down and build new ones.  We've also had some fun Dad-E & Big Brother dates, going to see Wall-E and Madagascar 2.  I may be completely wrong, but at this point, I'd guess you're going to grow-up to be an engineer.  I think you may also be a distance runner or soccer player.

That said, you can do anything you put your mind to (so long as it's legal and moral), and Mom-E and I will support you every step of the way.  You're a good boy and a good big brother.  You'll do great things.  You make me proud every day.

Love always,

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