365 days ago, at this exact time, I held you for the first time.
You see, your mom got you all to herself for nine months. My connection to you was through occasional viewings through creepy looking ultrasounds that just made me feel like I was watching terrible sci-fi or through putting my head to your mom’s belly. That can be uncomfortable for both of us.
So when I held you, I didn’t want to let go. Not for your mom. Not for nurses. Not for grandparents. Unfortunately, letting go is what I’ve done a lot of over the past year.
I’ve let go of the idea that I can turn back time. I can’t relive the times when you snuggled up on my chest for hours at a time while I watched NBA games, Sportscenter, or 3am infomercials.
I’ve let go of the idea that I can be there all the time for you. I’ll always try to be there for what’s most important but I’ve already missed out on moments.
I’ve let go of you being some combination of your mom and me. You’re an individual who already expresses herself in unique and new ways.
I’ve let go of the idea that I can protect you from the terrible things in this world. The best I can do is prepare you as best as possible for it.
I’ve let go of the notion that I know how to parent better than anyone else. I have learned that I’m good at improvisation and that might be better.
I’ve let go of comparing you to other kids. Okay, that one might not be entirely true. I still believe you’re smarter and better than every other kid out there but that’s hardcoded into my biology. I can’t help it.
I’ve let go of this idea that we’re running a perfect ship here. We still haven’t done professional pictures of you (oops!) and we don’t have cute little stickers showing how old you are on a per month basis.
I’ve let go of being in control. I’ve never been in control, but know how schedules change or how things work with you on a particular day have made me less of a schedule freak.
I’ve let go of thinking that you’ll always be that adorable apple of my eye. Kids can be little turds sometimes. At least right now, I know it’s mostly not intentional. Still, can’t we agree you can sleep through the night already?
Finally, I’ve let go of being a perfect dad. There’s no such thing. I wish I could tell you that I’ll always have the perfect response to every situation. I won’t. I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out how to be the right dad for you at any given moment. Whether that’s giving out snuggles, boundaries, encouragement, independence, sage advice, or trying to out stubborn you at your own game, I’m just trying to figure out how I can be what you need me to be.
I’m still figuring that last one out. Luckily, we’re in this together and if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past year, there’s no challenge too big for us to take on.
Thank you my Boo for a wonderful year that’s helped our family grow in both literal and figurative ways. I can wait to see what our next year holds.