Thursday, 4 April 2019

My Annual Letter

Dearest Molly,

Last year, a few months after your "birthday", I wrote you a letter. I am embarrassed to say that it took me almost two months after you made your entrance into this world to collect my thoughts. Chalk it up to emotional upheaval on my part. I simply couldn't give a proper voice to everything magnificent about your arrival. But, write to you I did and that first missive has led me to this one on this your first birthday.

Meeting you has been one of the purest and greatest joys of my life. I thank the Divine Spirit every single day for the gifts you have brought into my orbit. I don't want to place a hefty burden onto your tiny shoulders but seeing the world through your eyes and imagining the future that you will live in, has brought my life into clear focus. It is easy at my age to live selfishly and insularly. We budding alterkakkers sometimes tend to look at forecasts and predictions as mere inconveniences. We pretend that since we will play little to no part in the world that you will surely inherit, the decisions we make today on your behalf have little consequence. Of course, that is a fallacy but the environment we find ourselves in on this your first birthday is riddled with such short-sightedness. I am trying desperately to move beyond such nonsense with you squarely in my thoughts. It is my hope that one of my longterm gifts to you will be one of engagement, involvement, taking up the cause of the underdog, the downtrodden, and care for the planet.

Today, however, I want to give you something far more basic. I want to give you the gift of memory. I want you to be reminded of the joys of your first year. I know that those reminiscences will be shaped entirely by other people's stories, so I wanted you to have some of mine.

I was mesmerized by the attention you paid to our first songs together. When I sang those early melodies to you, the very same my father sang to me, you were completely engaged. You could hardly keep your eyes open, yet you knew instinctively to follow my voice. Maybe, someday you and I can sing Stewball or House at Pooh Corner together just like I did with your dad and mine.

I love the way that you love Gus. Even when he hasn't always been entirely sure about what to make of you, you have been relentless in your pursuit of his affection and his playtime. I hope that you and Gus have many more years together so that you can remember what an exceptional friend he is and how having such a great dog as your introduction to pets has been truly magical. Gus is teaching you about fun, patience, unconditional love, gentility, and sometimes (when you deem it to be so)...sharing. Gus is finally finding his footing with you and he is thrilled with the extra meals you are sending his way. Gus is your first best friend.

I adore that you have a bit of a dramatic flair. I know that your parents will roll their eyes when they read this but there is something incredibly creative about the way you express yourself. Yes, there will come a time when some self-control will need to be exercised and you will soon learn the limits of your expressive outbursts, but I hope that when those lessons are learned you will still know how to advocate for yourself with passion and with strength.

I will forever be moved by the memory of your great-grandfather getting down on the floor in his eighty-first year, to play with you. Your exuberance has been contagious and having great-grandparents around to share in your growth and experiences have been nothing short of magnificent.  The generational nature of your arrival has not been lost on me at all.

I love watching your Zaidy light up in your presence. There is so much that is serious in his world but with you, he is in total fun mode. It doesn't matter what he is doing or thinking about. Whenever he sees you, you become the entirety of his world. There is nothing too much, too complicated, too expensive, or too involved for him when it comes to you.

Every milestone, every new "trick", every photo, every new experience, every family gathering this year has served as a reminder that I am in this for you. I want to see the world through your eyes and to understand what the planet will be like for you when you are my age and beyond. It is not inconceivable that you could live to see the next century and that informs my thoughts and decisions all the time. Sometimes, I find myself looking ahead and wondering what you will be like in five, ten, fifteen years but then I pull back and remind myself to live in the here and now and to enjoy watching the mystery of you unfold in real time. It is an extraordinary and magnificent journey and I will joyously breathe it all in every single day I am afforded.

I love you with all my being, dear Molly.

Happy Birthday. Let's meet here again one year from today. I'm sure that year two will provide much fodder.



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