Dear Violet, Henry, and Charlie,
Oh my gosh! We made it! It’s Christmastime, you guys, and we made it! I can hardly believe it, but it’s true.
We’ve gone through so much this past year, huh? We’ve cried together and laughed together and pigged out on ice cream together and talked so much together about you guys, and mom and dad, and how much love we all have for each other even though we have two separate homes now, two different worlds.
We’ve brushed our teeth together.
We’ve lied about brushing our teeth together. (Hi Henry!)
And we’ve managed to keep smiles on our faces together, not all the time of course, but way more than I had even hoped for back when we set out on this new road last winter.
Oh man, am I ever proud of you three. It’s hard for me to even explain to each of you how amazed I’ve been by your love this year. But trust me, I have been amazed … again and again. I just wanted to tell you that. I just want you to know.
Hey, remember the other night when I broke out the big boxes of holiday decorations and all four of us started tearing into the plastic Santas and the miles of beat-up garland and all those old Christmas cards I’ve been saving for years now?
Remember how crazy happy we all were when I flipped on the Christmas records and you guys started sticking stuff in really weird places (“No Henry! You can’t put the paper angels on the stove burners!”), and I followed you all around telling little Charlie not to put the ancient candy canes in his mouth?
That was so fun, huh?
But you want to know something else, something really cool? That was also the first moment when I realized that I just might be the luckiest daddy in this whole wide world. I mean it. Our lives have been pretty tough at times this past year. But even on those cold, dark mornings when Dad has to wake you up early so we can all get dressed and eat breakfast and get in the car and ride the 20 miles to Violet’s bus stop, you three handle it all so well.
And even when Dad starts to panic out in the park when Charlie is running over towards the woods and Henry really needs a push on the swing and Violet has to pee, I often catch you two watching me, Violet and Henry. I often spot this tiny gleam in your eyeball that says, “It’s alright, Daddy. We get it. You go chase Charlie! We can do the swings and the bathroom in a bit!”
You know, someday I’m going to have to sit down with you three and tell you each how much you helped me through all the changes and sadness that I’ve been through. It really isn’t supposed to be that way. Dads tend to think that THEY’RE supposed to be the helpful ones! But I’ve come to understand that that just isn’t the case. Each of you has helped me more than I can ever possibly explain.
When you bug me for Popsicles and then plop down into my lap to eat ’em and drip ’em all over my legs? That helps me.
When you keep bugging me to get you a candy bar at the grocery store checkout and I cave in and then you both smile at me back at the car and say, “Thanks, Daddy! You’re the best dad in the universe”? Oh boy, does that ever help me.
When we all lay on the big bed together sometimes in the evening and you guys jump all over me and ram your heads into my top lip by accident and then giggle and squeal so loud as you cover me with blankets and tell me I’m a polar bear in a snow cave? That helps me more than anything has ever helped me in my life.
And now … Christmas. Our favorite holiday.
I want so much for each of you, I want to give you each your own elephant to ride around on and your own dragon to protect you. I dream of being able to take you all on a trip around the world: pancakes for breakfast at the Tower of London, burgers for lunch on an African savanna, a pizza dinner up at the North Pole. I want to make sure you always feel safe and warm and loved and that you know that even though our family isn’t exactly like a lot of other families any more, we will always be okay. We will always be who we are today, each of us rolling in the worn-out blankets and living in the best “snow cave” on Earth … together.
Merry Christmas, you nuts. Thanks for being you. And thanks for putting your sippy cups in the sink without me still having to ask you 50 times.
I love you more than the moon in the sky.
I love you more than Santa loves cookies.
I love you more than I ever dreamed possible.