One day you’re going to look back on this and realize I wrote my first letter to your big sister shortly after she was born. You’re then going to see that this letter is coming a few weeks later. All I can say is, ‘I’m sorry.’ Life, you see, has been a bit busy lately.
Just because you’re my second daughter doesn’t mean you are going to come second. I’m not sure how it all works yet, but I know I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you and your sister are treated equally. Still, I can already tell that you and your sister are different.
The first difference between you and your sister is you are more of a cuddler. Maybe it has everything to do with the fact that we were able to hold you the first week of your life because you didn’t need light therapy. Maybe that’s just you. I just know that your mommy is very excited to get a cuddler.
These days I go to work with a different attitude than I did when I first got into my career. You see, right now I’m a TV news reporter. I’m not sure that TV news will exist in its current format when you are able to read this or not. The industry is changing rapidly. I’m not even sure if I’ll still be where I’m at now by the time you’re able to read this. All I know is that right now I am working to make the world a better place for you. I don’t know if I’m making any bit of difference, but I do know there are people who say I’ve helped them.
In reality, I want you to be proud of me. I know I will be proud of you and your sister. I want to make sure that I set an example that you will be able to follow. Not to follow in my footsteps…I will discourage you from getting into the TV biz, but that’s just for your own good. I want you to be able to follow an example of honesty and integrity. I want you to be someone who will stand up for what’s right, even when it’s not popular. I want you to grow into a woman who will defend honor and promote humanity. Lofty goals. I know I expect a lot from you, but if you’re going to change the world you will need to aim high.
As I watch you sleep in your crib, it’s hard to imagine this tiny baby girl will one day be on her own. Still, it will happen. I hope you’ll forgive me for the times I over react…be patient with me as I learn the ropes of being a dad of two girls…and be kind when you are a teenager with hormones. You’ll know what I mean one of these days.
I am writing this letter on your last day as an only child. I doubt you will ever remember a time when you were our one and only little girl. Tomorrow we are going to the hospital to meet your little sister Karis. I pray you will both be best friends and love each other dearly.
Don’t forget you are still my little girl. I know tonight you can sense something is about to change because you didn’t want to go to bed. You’re sleeping in a toddler bed of your own. We call it your ‘big girl bed.’ You are such a big girl and so very smart. You figured out how to get in and out of it so quickly. Tonight you wanted daddy to hold you for a while.
Your favorite night-night ritual is our finger kiss. It is, quite possibly, the sweetest thing you do. After we put you in bed and say our prayers you hold out your little finger and point up at me…waiting for me to do the same. When our fingertips touch, you giggle and then go to sleep. Your little laugh warms my heart in a way I never thought possible.
Tonight we played and played…I don’t know if you know you are about to have to share your parents. I am praying God gives me the wisdom to be a good daddy to both you and Karis. I am planning to try to give you as much attention as possible. Your mommy and I both don’t want you to feel left out. I don’t think you will be. I think you will want to help take care of your baby sister. You already do such a great job taking care of your dolls, making sure they are all tucked in before they go ‘night-night.’
Here’s hoping and praying we all have a great day tomorrow and are able to welcome your little sister…into our family.
This is a picture from when Selah was only a few months old. At the time, one of her favorite toys was her radio. It’s shaped to look like a little boom box and plays a variety of children’s tunes. What’s interesting to me is that when you turn the dial it actually plays static and the sound of skipping over radio stations. As I watched my little girl play with this, I realized she will likely never know what radio static is or what it’s like to turn a dial to get a radio station. Who knows, she may not even know what a radio station is in the traditional sense.
It go me thinking about all the things she’ll also never know about, things that I grew up playing with or that were a part of my life.
The biggest thing…VHS tapes. It was a big deal that we had a VCR with a remote when I was a kid, but our remote had a cord on it and you loaded the cassette in from the top. It was a big deal at the time. Even now, we have DVDs and I’m sure those are going to seem as ancient to my girl when she is old enough to know better as VHS appear to me now.
Computers are constantly changing and I wonder just what my daughter will be able to do with technology. Will the world look more like the Jetsons?
Will my daughter make fun of me for going to movies in 2D? Will the high-technology 3D movies we see today be ‘oldies’ to her generation?
More importantly, will I be able to keep up with it all? I think I’m doing a pretty good job riding the technology wave. Accepting whatever comes next, reading up on trends…but one day will I be that weird old guy who is trying to be hip by having the latest gadgets? You know who I’m talking about. They are usually really old guys who bought Beta when they first came out because they were a big deal, but now they can’t even spell ‘internet.’ Yet, this same person who was clearly once into tech, has spent years avoiding it…and now has a smartphone. Not that every old person with an iPhone is like this, but there are some who are just way too excited to be on the “world wide web” connecting to the “internets.” I don’t want to be that guy.
Who do I want to be? I want to be that guy who’s not scared by the tech, but not necessarily driven to always have the latest stuff when it comes out. I’d like to always be like I am now. Someone told me that can’t happen…and that eventually I’ll get old. I’m not sure I believe them…but then again that stranger in the mirror laughs at me when I tell him I am the same guy I was in college. What does that old man know anyway.
This is your daddy writing…you’re actually starting to get the hang of saying ‘dada’…although when you get really excited you sometimes get it backwards saying “ah-dah, ah-dah.” These are the memories I hope I’ll be able to hold onto forever.
Your first year of life went by so fast. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that we were bringing you home from the hospital. Sometimes I laugh at the things your mom and I worried over at first. You are our first…so we might have been a little over protective. However as we have talked to some other parents….we seem pretty mellow. Whatever we did…we must have done something right, because you really are the most wonderful baby. Everyone says so.
We also recently found out you are going to be a big sister. I know you will be a good big sister. I can’t wait to see how you will be able to play with your little brother or sister. The daycare tells us you are very good with the little babies. You also just got two baby dolls for your birthday. It is adorable to see you hold and rock your little babies. You do put the babies in your Halloween pumpkin tote…I’m guessing you won’t do that with the real baby.
I am really trying to be a good dad. I hope you think so…I can only judge by your smile, which we do get to see very often. Your mommy and I hope you will understand though we always want what is best for you and sometimes that means keeping you out of trouble, even when you think you are just playing.
I wonder what you’ll be when you grow up, when you read this. Will you be a good student…will you be a daddy’s girl? Will we be having tea parties or will you be helping me build a tree house? It really is a world of possibilities. I hope you will be happy. I’ve heard parents say that before…but never really understood it until now. Just know that your parents love you very much.
This post is a little late in coming, but we have a baby now, so I get a pass on getting things done for…well how long can I use the ‘new baby’ excuse? Anyway, yes that is a picture of a ceiling fan in the baby’s room. My dad came down a few weeks ago (the same time my mom was staying with us to watch Selah while the babysitter was on vacation) and helped me with several things. The biggest of which was this new ceiling fan and light for Selah’s room. I was looking at it again tonight and realized it what a huge help my parents and my dad have been. I can’t wait for the day when my little girl (and any other future kids) are able to say “Thanks Dad” about something I’ve done for them.
The last visit from my parents also gave me one of those “blow your mind” experiences. We were all sitting in the living room talking, or watching TV, or something and I was holding Selah. Then I looked over and saw my mom and dad watching me hold my little girl. What is that like? I was once as little as my baby and they once held me the same way. What is that like to have that view point? Looking at a grown up, thinking of the child they once were. Boom! Yep that was my mind blowing again.
I don’t want to be one of those “my baby’s growing up so fast” kind of parents, but Selah just learned to roll over. We’ve got boxes of clothes she’s already outgrown…clothes that at one time seemed so big on her. When I hold her and she looks up at me I try to save a mental image of that face looking up at me. My mind tries to do one of those sitcom flashback montages, where it’s the same shot, but everyone grows up in a series of pictures. Granted I only have 4 months to time lapse through, but I can’t help but think that someday those big brown eyes will be graduating high school and college (and with any luck some post-graduate work that will ensure she has enough money to pay for the good nursing home). How will I look at her then? How will she look at me then? Will she look at me and say “Thanks Dad” or will she, like me, not learn to appreciate her parents until she’s lived on her own for a while? I guess I just have to take time and relish in these moments where she’s all mine and still looks at me with wonder.
She also loves to look at the ceiling fan with wonder. If she could talk I bet she’d say thanks grandma and grandpa for taking time to visit and help out so much.
Oh and this is not to say Keiana’s parents don’t do anything. I could write a novel on all they have helped out with as well…but this one was about my parents. Luckily I have been blessed to have two sets of parents (now grandparents) who love me and my wife. I really could not be luckier.
I am so blessed to have family. Not just my family, but a new family that became mine when I met my wife. I was also blessed to have time to spend with not just one family this Christmas, but both sides. It meant a lot of traveling and since I am paranoid about crime after doing a story about social media and crime I did not tweet for most of the week before and week of Christmas. Don’t worry I saved my more poignant thoughts.
- “Traveling with the baby for the first time ever. This should be easy” (before leaving the house)
- “Traveling with the baby is insane” (after packing the car with the entire nursery)
- “Dallas would be more fun if traffic during the day was as smooth as traffic at night.
- “Never staying anywhere but Comfort Suites again.”
- “Coke + MiniFridge Freezer = Morning Mess”
- “Best Christmas present ever: Father-in-law just told me he would stay up with the baby”
- “Hmmm…everyone wants to hold the baby, but no one wants to change her.”
- “New Rule: If you’re holding the baby, you’re changing the baby. No free cuteness”
- “Had to re-learn how to play the piano…thank goodness for the metronome app.”
- (In car) “Baby and dog both just farted”
- “Baby is only talking to my Grandma and for some reason Grandma can hear the baby and not me when I talk”
- “Price for my mom babysitting a week…letting her show off baby Selah to her entire church. #totallyworthit”
- “Old ladies who think they’re whispering in church aren’t really whispering.”
- “Home again. Already miss family, but glad to be back in my own bed.”
Among the more troubling revelations I learned at home this Christmas…apparently the woman who my parents let babysit me on occasion kept a snake in her house to eat the mice. And apparently there was more than one snake. Very disturbed. Random thought, but I can’t let it go.
Back to the real purpose of this post. As I listen to the song, it asks how do you measure time? Perhaps its the song, or the slight chill in the air that reminds me it’s fall and I’m literally transitioning to a new season or perhaps it’s the little girl sleeping in front of me that makes me realize I am entering a new season of love myself.
We all go through seasons of love and would imagine, most of them are very similar. Sure the circumstances are different, but like every Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter our seasons of love are essentially the same.
Life begins as we are totally dependant on others for our survival. The love of a child for their parents is so simple, yet so deep. It’s this dependence on others that helps with the bond between parents and children. This season of love is so subtle that I don’t think any of us realize when we leave it to transition into a new season.
As we grow older, love becomes focused on self. It may take different forms, but let’s face it, as we grow more independent in our teen and young adult years we grow to love ourselves. There’s nothing inherently wrong with self love. I think it’s vital to our growth as individuals. Even at times when I’ve hated myself or my life I still was exhibiting self love. It was about me and I did little to care, really care, about anyone else.
I think the first time I really noticed a season change in my life was when I met my wife. I thought I was doing just fine on my own. Though I will be the first to admit there was something missing. I filled that hole with work and friends and just assumed that was how my life would progress. Then I met Keiana and my world changed. It was as noticeable as the first snowflakes of winter. A beautiful blanket covering up the gloom that comes in late fall. The gloom that no one wants to talk about because we only want to talk about the beauty of the leaves changing and the crisp, cool air. However when the air changes from crisp to just cold, and the leaves have all fallen and the trees are bare there is a need for something to change. That’s when God sends in winter.
I think Winter gets a bad rap. It’s cold, but that just means we need a fire to move close to and hot cocoa to drink. It is a time when we need others more than ever. In my mind, this is the next season of love. I remember the first time I made a major career decision on the basis of ‘we’ instead of ‘me.’ The realization that there is someone else instead of of just self can be shocking. Instead of running from the unknown, I embraced the new season. That embrace was the warmth that protected me from the cold I didn’t know existed. I was walking through a season of life that was growing cold and lonely, but I had ignored the signs that Fall had lost it’s beauty. That’s when I found a world of new beauty in my wife. It was now us against the world…standing together. Two independent people who found strength leaning in, ever so slightly, growing together.
Now the seasons are changing again. This season, is an awakening. Love. Pure love springing from me like the green grass appears from the frost-bitten earth. This little girl brought in the spring of our lives. Children are the rebirth of love. It’s not that love ever left, it’s just God decided we did not have enough love in our lives. We don’t need flowers either. The landscape looks perfect and complete, but when the first daffodils bloom or the spring tulips spread their petals we realize what was missing from the picture.
I don’t know what the next season of love is. At this point I don’t really care. I’m still trying to figure out this new life change. It’s scary, exciting and puzzling all at the same time. Bring it on.
Someday I hope you’ll read this. I’m sure we’ll have told you most of the stories about your early days, even those before you were born, so many times you will be tired of hearing them. Just in case I wanted to let you know from long before you were born, you were so loved by your mommy and me.
I hope you like your name…we put a lot of thought into choosing it. Your mother wanted a far different name, but that’s because she didn’t grow up in a place where people named cows and didn’t realize it would have been inappropriate. Don’t tell her I told you that.
We went back and forth on names. We knew we wanted something from the Bible and something that had a good meaning. I didn’t want you looking up your name someday and being disappointed. I remember the night we were going through names and I was just reading through a list of names and each of us said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or just remained indifferent. Then I read “Selah,” and we both paused. A quite appropriate pause because the word means ‘to pause and reflect.’ It was the first name that we both agreed on that wasn’t too popular and sounded as beautiful as we knew you were going to be.
I hope no one is giving you a hard time about how to pronounce the name. We did our research before settling on pronouncing Selah as, SAY-luh. We actually found a website that had native speakers, (your name is Hebrew) and the pronunciation there was very close to SAY-luh, the only different is the accent. We weren’t going to make you go around having to change your accent every time you said your name, so we went with the Americanized version of the pronunciation. I hope you are the only Selah in your class.
As I write this, you are still weeks away from arrival, or you are supposed to be weeks away, and we are still getting ready for your appearance. The room is painted and the crib is put together. I hope you like your ceiling…it took me forever to refinish it. Just know that everything we do is because we love you.
See you soon.