A letter to my son on his first birthday


Dear Jesse,

Congratulations on your first birthday!

I remember that night a year ago very vividly, when you came knocking at the door in the middle of the night and over 5 weeks early. I guess you were ready to step into this world and move ahead, as you do so powerfully since that day.

The kind of love you awakened in me took me by surprise. It’s not more or better than other love, only different. Different from the way I love your mom, different from the way I love my parents, brothers and sister and different from the way I love life. It has enriched my life.

And with that love comes a full range of other emotions. I have experienced feelings of helplessness when you were in the incubator in the early weeks, feelings of despair when you were crying relentlessly in the early months. Feelings of pity when you were in pain from what we now know were food allergies and feelings of insecurity about all the new aspects of life that being a parent brings with it. They too have enriched my life.

A new beginning, a radiant life
A blank book, yet unwritten
And nobody can reveal
How you’ll fill the pages
It’s going to be your story
We’re at your side, reading along
text on birth announcement card
(translated from Dutch)

You have inspired me by just being you. The relentless effort you put into discovering the world and developing your skills in all its tiny variations have astounded me more than once. It makes me wonder why and when we lose the ambition and energy to be so vigorous in developing ourselves.

You have also awakened another level of being me. You made me think about life in a different perspective. You made me think about life beyond my own and its consequences, this still has me puzzled in many wonderful ways.

Your being here has also deepened my love for your mother. I can see her love for you and her devotion to be the best mom she can. It fills me with love and warmth to see you two together, playing together and sharing love and fun.

Know that I’ll be here for you on your path through this thing called life. You can count on me for being there when you need support in all its subtle appearances. A hand to help you when you attempt your first steps, a hand to catch you in case you might fall, attempting another audacious effort at something you don’t master (yet).

Keep on filling the pages of your book in your unique way, I’ll be reading along and helping you along the way.

Thank you for being your beautiful you. I love you.

Your papa

Posted in magic beans on Wed 2007.10.10


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk October 10, 2007 at 21:57

There’s something sacred about caring for a young child, isn’t there?

Lodewijkvdb October 11, 2007 at 07:37

There sure is, Jean!

Jarkko October 11, 2007 at 12:42

Happy birthday, Jesse!

You seem to have been born to a caring, loving family, and you have a great dad. I’m happy for you! :)

Tom October 11, 2007 at 15:19

Wow, this even moved me in ways I could not have imagined.
Happy birthday to all (again ;-) )
And enjoy

Jeniffer October 13, 2007 at 18:24

What a beautiful post! It reminds me of how our children have so enriched our lives. Very well said. Very moving. And happy birthday (a little late).

Lodewijkvdb October 17, 2007 at 23:17

Thanks guys! And Tom, the fact that I made you contemplate having children, even for a brief moment, was a great gift and a compliment in one. Thanks for that!

Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker January 3, 2008 at 17:21

The birth sharing of our lives with our children enriches our lives so very much. My children are 31 and 30 years old. The love continues to grow right along with them. You think when your child is a baby that your heart can’t get any bigger. It can and does. My 85 year old mother-in-law just told me a few days ago, that it doesn’t matter than her sons are 58, 63, and 65, they are still her babies in her eyes.

Sandie Law May 21, 2008 at 16:48

Oh! That picture is SO painfully adorable! I love this post…almost as much as your son will when he’s older. :)

Lodewijk May 21, 2008 at 22:44

@Sandie – Thanks! He IS adorable (as any father would say I guess). Every now and then he features in photos on this blog. The last photo (b&w) on Birth of a Blogger is him as well.

Rohini April 14, 2009 at 15:56

This is so touching. The letter’s written so beautifully. I came upon it while looking for something nice to send along with my son’s 1st birthday invite. Now I am all inspired to write something original for him. Thanks so much Lodewijk. My love to the adorable to little one.

Khaye August 6, 2012 at 04:51

What a lovely letter! Thank you for sharing. Being a parent is such a blessing! :)

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