How to close? After describing all the things that you’ve done to me—my knuckles, my anxiety, my clothes, my hair, my sanity—I could spend this final chapter describing instead what you have done for me. I could explain how you have thawed a glacier of joy that I did not know resided in me. That every sleep deprived morning I awake, it’s not the coffee I need first but instead to throw open the curtains in your nursery and bellow good morning. My loud voice brings a smile to your face. It’s a smile I know better than any other thing that I know in this world. That smile is how we converse. You have a small smile, a big smile, a slow smile, and a spontaneous smile. Sometimes you season it with a deliberate laugh, and other times you cannot help but to be compelled to giggle. You can smile with your mouth wide open or with your lips still sealed. Of all your smiles though, my favorite smiles are the ones that raise your cheeks so high that your eyes are relegated to wrinkled crescents and you take on the appearance of a joyful Buddha. That’s the smile you make in the morning when you see me for the first time, and it’s the smile that I make right back at you, because if there’s no other perceptible feature which you got from me, we do have the very same smile.
But I won’t go into any of that. Instead, I’ll tell you simply this: it has been a magical year. A year I will remember forever. The thousand small moments our family of three has created are moments that will sustain me for the rest of my life. Through tragedy and setback, this absurd adventure has fulfilled me in a way I could not conceive before children. In the same way that marriage transformed me into a husband, you have transformed me into a father. Thanks to your mother and you, I am a better man than I ever otherwise could have been—not because you altered who I was, but because you uncovered the full extent of who I am.
I won’t be with you forever, but rest assured that when I am forced to leave this world, I won’t be far from you. I’ll ask God to find me a ridgetop where my soul can sit in peace and wait for your mother while watching over you. I’ll be serene in a happy twilight—cringing each time a descendant nears a croquet ball, chuckling at each catastrophic diaper change, and smiling with my whole heart each time a new baby is born and a new family is made.
There is one more thing to tell you, and I hope it does not distract you from all that I have just written. I accidentally got your mother pregnant again.
I, for one, am delighted.