While you are almost four years old and have convinced yourself that you are indeed a big boy, you are still unable to read the words I am writing. I find it difficult to finds words actually to tell you how much I love you, delight in you and ache when I'm not with you. Perhaps this will someday find you somehow, in the digital ether that is now called the Internet. Who knows what it will be called by the time you truly understand my words.
Your mother and I weren't sure you were ever going to happen. For so long it was just me, mom and Dominic. Life was good. But there always seemd to be something missing from our lives. We could never put our finger on it. It turns out, you were the missing piece of our puzzle. Like her first pregnancy, your mom had troubles the second time around also. You were always an impatient soul, ready to take things on before you were actually ready, including birth. The last two months carrying you, mom was in and out of the hospital and doctors worked feverishly to make certain you stayed put until it could not be stopped any longer. Your mother endured all of it with a grace that is impossible to describe and with dignity that humbles me still.
Buy her nice things on gift giving occassions.
You came early. Over a month early to be exact. We were so nervous that there would be complications, but there weren't any. Your brother was excited, though I don't know if he fully realized how dramatic and wonderfully his life was about to change. I remember on one occassion the three of us went to one of the ultra-sounds they performed on your mom. We brought Dominic in the hopes that he would be able to catch a glimpse of you on the screen. He did. The look of wonder on his six year old face is one of the images that I still carry in my heart to this day. You see, I know what it is like to have an older brother. I also know what it is like to have an older brother get it all wrong. You hit the jackpot. You got one of the good ones. He loves you like I've never seen him care about anything else. You guys fight a lot. But you are two thick headed Italian boys living in the same house. Some things are unavoidable.
Be good to each other. You'll always have one another to lean on.
That first year you were born was filled with joy and pain. It was the four of us in a small two bedroom house and life in general was complicated. My mother held you in her arms as one of the last things she did before she died. Throughout the previous four years her health was declining. And once your mom was pregnant with you, things got worse, but she kept fighting. Toward the end, she was in tremendous pain. I remain convinced that she was holding on to meet you, for she died three days after she held you in that hospital room.
Your mom is frequently tired, taking care of all of us. As your second year began, you were frequently sick. As it goes, your premature birth meant that you had some challenges. Eventually you developed asthma, but you would never know it watching you. You were a fast crawler, once you got started. As soon as you began walking, life got more interesting. Though you weren't always steady on your feet, you frequently lumbered forward and didn't seem to care if the rest of your body ever caught up to your feet. Hence, your nickname.
A spirit of adventure quickly became apparent to all of us. Your lack of fear in trying new things or undertaking feats of courage impressed us early on. You climbed stairs and scaled playground equipment at an earlier age than your brother. You are a world class jumper, hopper, skipper and dancer. Some times all at once. While outside with you, I quickly learned that I was the only one worried about your physical safety. You seem to be born to climb trees and the ones in our backyard can attest to that.
You possess a laugh that is so genuine and pure and full of life's innoncence that I sometimes tickle you just to hear it. It is medicine for my spirit.
You love to play chase and you are one of the most cuddlesome little people I have ever seen. A characteristic that we all love about you. Even your brother, though he'll never admit it. You have an extensive vocabulary and you are at your most articulate when you are describing your feelings at a given moment. You express joy with such honesty and sincerity, I pray it is a quality that you don't lose to maturity. Like your mother, you are a master at facial contortions and you and your brother both share her determined chin and jawline. In fact, as a general rule, you are the spitting image of your mother and Dominic is my very own little clone. This does not always work to my advantage. Whenever I discipline you and I look directly into your eyes, I see your mother, and I melt inside.
Someday you'll know what I'm talking about.
So what prompted these musings of all things great and wonderful in the world Aidan. Simple...
This afternoon I took you and your brother to his soccer game. Once they started practicing you asked me to take you over to the playground nearby. As we started walking across the field you slipped your little hand into mine. When I looked down at you, you said, "It feels nice to hold your hand." After we walked a little further you said, "Dad, you're my best."
I will always love you.