Portrait of My Little Boy
I’ve come to accept the fact that it may be a few more years until I can expect a simple smile when I take your photo. And I realize more each day that I’ve got a ways to go in learning what it means to love you.
I’ve heard other parents talk about their own little guys as being “all boy”, and I think I may now understand what that means. A little boy like you needs to explore, even when it means racing ahead of me faster than your feet know how to run. A little boy like you loves the notion of splashing in the rain, of playing the mud, and drawing on the wall. A little boy must push every button — whether the thing you push is a actually a button or not.
The reality is you push my own buttons too, and you do it more quickly than just about anyone. Where did you learn to do that anyway?
I used to think that being married to Mommy was the greatest mirror of my own faults. Living with and loving her reveals my selfishness and my rough edges. God uses her to grow me into a better person. Though as I’ve become your daddy, I’m wondering now if you might be the spotlight that shines an even more powerful light on to my weaknesses.
I feel that light when you cry about wanting to “wiggle” (wrestle) when I’ve been working at the computer too long. Or when I’m trying to mow the lawn and you hang from the handlebar I’m pushing. Or when you dump all the fish food out on to the carpet…again. You want lots of affection, touch, attention, and time. When I’m weak, I give you punishment, frustration, and impatience. If only I were strong more often, I would choose to take a break from work, or let you push the lawnmower with me. Or even dump the fish food out on the floor with you so that we can see what it feels like. Knowing you, you’ll probably want to taste it too, won’t you? I’ll skip that part.
Buddy, you make me feel inadequate for daddyhood. This isn’t something you’ve done wrong, but something you’ve done right. Why would I expect that you would be anything other than a little boy trying to make sense of your big world. I pray that your craziness continues and that I would learn to go with that flow more often, and enjoy that part of how you’re made.
My goal last night was to take a portrait of you to print and hang on our wall along with a portrait of your big sis. And while she was able to turn on the Glamor Shots charm for her photo, you were all theater. You know that I got frustrated along the way and finally gave up when I couldn’t coax a simple smile out of you. But as you laid down to bed, you squeezed me three times and drifted off to sleep. I calmed back down. I looked over the photos I took of you, and I realized that this photo perfectly captures your goofiness and your fun. It will remind me each day that I get the joy of raising you up in the way you should go, at the pace you can walk it.
I love you, little guy, and I know I can love you better.
Why not share this letter with the daddy in your life? Or tell us about the little boy in your world in the comments below…