You are one year old already! I can't believe it.
We will celebrate you this Saturday with an American-themed birthday party, taking advantage of all the Fourth of July decor and fanfare. We're going to Make First Birthdays Great Again. The whole family has patriotic outfits to wear. You have a classic Obama "Hope" t-shirt that says "Miss you" (because we do miss Obama). Uncle Scott is bringing a bouncy house for the toddlers -- nothing more American than that. You're getting a smash cake from Corina Bakery. Have at it, kid.
Grammie and Popa are in town for a couple weeks to party with us and enjoy the cool Northwest summer. You are getting a lot of love from the grandparents.
You've answered the call of this milestone birthday by accelerating your development. We've encouraged you to hold up a pointer finger to tell us how old you are and now you point at everything with excited, wheezing-like breaths. Your Mom taught you to "blow out your candle" so now you can blow whistles and bubbles. When Eliza blows bubbles in her water cup with a straw, you cackle with excitement and belly laugh. You haven't nailed words or sign language yet but have your own set of sounds like "Grrr" for Greta and use various baby talk to have conversations with us. You like to throw balls and chase after them around the house. You started cruising along the couch and constantly stand wherever you can. When you crawl, it's fast like a spider and we have to jog to keep up with you. You love water whether it's in a pool or dog bowl (gross). Just yesterday you showed us how you can "cheers" and clink your sippy cup to our wine glasses. Salute.
Last week we visited with our friends Jama'l and Lindsey, who are expecting a baby boy in the fall. Jama'l talked to me about the "head trip" of raising a son -- the idea of guiding a young man who may have a similar life experience, or not. You and I are are going to need to make a pact: I'll show you how to navigate the path ahead as I know it; you decide how much of that path is right for you. I'll be tempted to keep you on course, and you'll be tempted to stray from it. That's the natural parent-child dynamic of me wanting to nurture your success and you wanting to find success your own way. We can't avoid that dynamic, but we can recognize it and respect each other trying to get to the same outcome -- the same your Mom and I pray for -- that you'll be happy, smart and healthy. Everything after that is frosting on the smash cake.
I love you so much, son.
Love always, Dad