This one is for you. I think when we’re all older and we look back at this time in our lives, we’re going to remember that I was Koen’s person. With that, he demands a lot of my attention, so I don’t always give you as much of my time as I’d like to sometimes. Your mom and I joke that I’m Koen’s favorite person, and mom is your favorite person. I’d like to think that she and I are both your favorite people, because you’re my first born son and I think we share a bond that only we’ll be able to understand (I was a first born son too, you know).
It think it’s worth noting that I’ve deleted and rewritten this a few times over the past few months. I think it used to be easier to talk to you this way (me writing to you) because it was harder to express myself and how I felt to you in person since you were so young. What I’m finding now is that you understand so much more and I can have real conversations with you in person. As I write this, I can’t help but to think how cool that is and what a fun age you are!
But, as I imagine you reading this when you’re older, you might want to know a little more about yourself at nearly five years old. As an adult, I think my earliest memories are at about that age (not many, mind you). I remember my two best friends when I was that age who lived on my street in Reynoldsburg – Trent Spangler and Eric Fryer. Eric hadn’t moved in yet, so maybe that was a year or two later, but Trent and I used to play all the time. I remember going over to his house and watching Top Gun (his favorite movie). We’d play baseball in the big field behind his house and we’re ride his Power Wheels jeep (you also love driving your Power Wheels jeep).
The other memory I have from that time is a reoccurring dream that probably started for me at that age. I still have it from time to time, but it was more frequent when I was younger. I was alone in your great-grandma’s house (Tutu’s mom) and there was a monster upstairs. I had to kill the monster, so I remember walking up the stairs. It was an L-shaped staircase, and at the elbow where you would turn and head up the final four or five steps to the second floor, someone was there holding a blue and pink book in each hand. To defeat the monster, I had to choose the right color book. I chose pink because as a five-year-old boy, I remember thinking that blue was “too obvious.”
For awhile, I thought about that dream and thought that it meant I was supposed to have a girl when I would get older and become a dad. But, I don’t think I ever believed that because I always felt in my heart that I was meant to be a “boy dad.”
There are so many things I love about being your dad — I love the playfulness we share and the energy you have for the things you love. I love seeing you grow and learn and stand out in whatever crowd you’re in no matter how big it is. I love how you talk — both your little country-twang that comes out every now and then, but also the goofy things you say that can come out of left field some days. Just last night, your mom and I were sitting downstairs. She was working on her computer and I was reading. You came out of your room (as you often do once we put you down), and go into the bathroom. Nothing out of the ordinary, until a faint little whimper comes out from the bathroom.
Side bar: this is a reoccuring thing you do. We put you down, you come out 3, 4, maybe 29 times for the next hour having to either “gotta go pee!!” or “I fell out of my bed and really hurt my arm.”
Anyway, that little whimper got a little louder when neither your mom or I acknowledged what might be happening up there. A few moment later, you come out and call down to us that the toilet seat fell down and hit you in the head. The mechanics of how your head was between the toilet seat and (presumably) the bowl are still a mystery, but your mom and I laughed pretty hard at that one after we assured you that you were OK and to go back to bed. Like I said, you just say such funny things!
In the dream, I never did see what the monster looked like or got to see if my choice was correct or not. I would always wake up after picking the pink book. At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters. What does matter is that you are the absolute perfect kid, even when you’re being a little too crazy, a little too goofy, or a little too excited to maybe stay down and go to sleep. Your mom and I are so lucky to be your parents and I’d go to the edge of the earth for you if you ever needed me to.
Love you so much, buddy.