My elder son, Charlie, turns Four tomorrow. Honestly, I really can’t believe it. He’s such a big boy now. It seems like almost yesterday that I was racing back to Jersey from the Hamptons Film Festival after my wife called me to share that Charlie had decided to arrive five weeks earlier than his due date. As it turned out, I could’ve gotten there by turtleback and still made it in time as Charlie was born Nineteen hours later.
Every birthday since I’ve written a letter to Charlie on his birthday and this year I thought, given the theme of the film, it would be fun to share the note here as well as read it aloud to him as I typically do. So, here goes…
Wow! Your mother and I can’t believe you are now Four years old and we are so proud at how wonderful a person you’ve become. So much has happened this past year. You can speak better than some adults I know. You finally got the hang of the toilet this past Spring and now you don’t even need a potty seat to sit on it properly. You’ve made some good friends at school, like your buddies Matthew and Zachary and Lily. You’ve figured out how to share and also how to stand up for yourself when needed. You’re learning to be a good brother to Jamie and your patience with him is greatly appreciative. You can walk all around town without the need for a stroller. You can ride a big boys bike with training wheels. You can tread water all by yourself! This has been a big year for you.
Charlie, we’ve also been very excited by your fascination with all things mechanical. You have shown cleverness and creativity - things that will serve you well throughout life. One thing I remember your doing this past year was coming up with the idea of playing the radios in both your room and Jamie’s, shutting those doors, sitting in the living room and toggling the baby monitor from channel “A” to “B” as if you were a disc jockey. Recently I observed how you took your Velcro wallet and slipped your hand through it to make it into a wristband. You’ve always been into buttons and how things work but to demonstrate an ability to use your imagination like that is really wonderful. I’m not sure where you are getting this from, but my guess at this point is you have an engineering mind like your mother’s father. It’s so wondrous to fathom what you get from where. Your tunnel vision focus is definitely from me – a double-edged sword as you can already see – as is your boisterous lack of volume control – something I’ve always had to work on.
It’s been such a joy finally getting to watch some of my favorite movies with you. Seeing your reaction to viewing The Yellow Submarine was such a thrill for me. I love hearing you sing all of those songs. Sitting with you thru The Red Balloon was equally special and I can’t wait to take you to see it in a big movie theater – something I’ve been looking forward to doing with you since the day you were born.
There’s nothing better than having you come into our room at 7am (no earlier!) giving me a big hug and kiss and saying, “Good morning, Daddy, time to wake up.” Spending mornings sitting on your bed, with Jamie sucking on a bottle and your resting next to me as we read a book is something I know I’ll miss when you and your brother are older.
A week or so ago, as we were getting into the elevator of our building, I had this flash of what you will look like when you are a teenager. The amazing (and frightening) thing is that the way time is moving along, you’ll be there in no time.
I love you, my beautiful son. Hoping you have a terrific birthday to remember. May you always be so blessed.