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Today marks the one-year anniversary of your birth. It's hard to believe how quickly this year has gone by and how much you've changed. You came to us unexpectedly early -- almost three weeks. Looking back, I wouldn't have had it any other way, because we got to see all of your milestones three weeks early, and more importantly, we got to see you three weeks earlier.
As you were growing inside your mommy's belly, we really didn't know whom to expect. Now, you are most decidedly BOY. Filled with your own boy-ness, complete with your own wants, preferences and personality. Each day this past year, you've shared more and more of who you are and who you're going to be, and each day your mother and I have grown more and more in love with you.
At each turn you've surprised us. Some of the surprises, like your sleep habits, have been challenging, while others have brought your mother and me to joyous tears. Nonetheless, this past year has been the best year of my life and it is solely because of how happy you and your mother have made me. At every turn you've made me so proud of who you are and how you handle everything that's thrown at you.
As you turn one, there are a few verities that I want you to take with you throughout your life. First, put your trust in God, and do not despair the tests that life throws at you; you are the product of such tests, and you have brought immeasurable joy to those who saw your mother and me endure those tests.
Second, your mother and I will always be here for you, at every triumph and misstep, at every burst of happiness and every pang of heartache. We love you and you can always come to us.
Third, you are surrounded by many people who love you, and you can lean on them in times of need. Your grandparents, uncles and aunts awaited your arrival, and they will be there for you.
Finally, life will never be as you expect it, but if you stay true to yourself, your Faith, and find the right balance between mind and heart, you will be equipped to handle whatever comes your way.
As I close this letter, I'd like to offer the first morsels of fatherly advice. Be kind -- kindness will always be repaid in some form or another. Do right -- if you obey your moral compass when faced with right and wrong, irrespective of the environment that creates the choice, your path will be correct. Forgive -- this one's hard. I still struggle with it, but I think that you'll find that most people are capable of change and if you can't forgive, you may miss out on some of the gems of this world.
Son, I love you. This year has brought so much change into both of our lives and I'm proud to have you as my son. Please keep teaching me how to be a good father, and I'll do my best to guide you through this world.
I love you, son.