Last night we were heading out for our evening walk, and our three-year-old was being difficult (imagine that). We've been taking advantage of the glorious autumn weather by lulling our sweet boys to sleep in their strollers. We cruise the neighborhood while talking about our days and our dreams, and by the time we get home, we simply transfer them to their beds. Although this has been the routine for a few weeks now, Javin was upset when we denied his request to take his Power Wheels Jeep with us. He hung his head low, stuck out his bottom lip, and drug his feet slowly. Being the progressive parents we are, we offered him choices, in hopes of gaining his cooperation. We tactfully asked, “Would you like to walk for a little while or get in the stroller now?” Such choices didn't change his demeanor. We were loitering in front of a neighbor's house, and I was getting ready to lift him up and strap him in, despite the fit that would ensue. However, your kind and calm energy saved us from the tears.
You crouched down to his level, and invited him into your personal space. You warmly encircled his little body with your arms, and talked to him in a firm, but patient and understanding way. You said, “Javin, what do you want? You can't take your Jeep right now. But would you like to pick a car to walk to?” You sparked his interest. He said he wanted to walk to the white car at the end of the street, and jumped from your arm circle with a happy hop in his step. In this moment, I fell in love with you all over again. You talk to our children with such love. You understand them, even in difficult times. You made our son feel heard and empowered, which allowed him to relax and move on. You lead our family with your calm and confident power, and your ability to listen and communicate in an honest way. You earn respect by giving it, even to the littlest of people.
Once Javin got in his stroller, he ate a snack. When he was finished, you busted out his toothbrush, which you are always clever enough to bring along. You bent down to him again and talked to him as you scrubbed his teeth in the street (yes, our neighbors probably think we are crazy). I watched as the two of you went through the tooth-brushing drill. You said things like, “Bottoms…tops…tongue.” And then, the last part of the procedure was a kiss. Once you finished brushing his tongue, the two of you said simultaneously, “And a kiss!” You both puckered up to each other with delightful satisfaction in the ending of your familiar routine. Again, I watched with admiration. I love that despite your manliness, you are mushy. You are generous with your hugs and kisses, and your snuggles and cuddles. Last night you said to Javin, “Being your daddy makes me the happiest person in the world.” You should have seen how his face light up. You model good love and affection to our boys, and I'm certain I will reap the benefits for a lifetime. So, thank you.
You are silly and playful with our boys. You and Javin regularly crack each other up, and he often says, “You're just kidding, right Daddy?” Because of you, he is sure to have a great, yet twisted sense of humor. He will, as you put it, “probably get in trouble for it until he grows into it”. You balance the sillies with lessons of where his food goes when he swallows and how to cross a street. Although you are often joking, you are also honest and direct. Your boys know that you mean what you say, and they respect your rules and boundaries. They trust you to be fair, because you always listen and consider all that they say. Even though our boys are still so young, you share your whole self with them. I love that because who you are is wonderful.
I fell in love with you for the man that you are, and I fall deeper in love as I admire the father you are.