I can't believe it's already March! Today the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and although 35 degrees may sound cold to the rest of the world, it was warm enough for me to leave the house without my big winter jacket this morning. It would be the perfect day for a nice, long walk with you and the dogs. It's weird to think that one year from now, I'll have a 7 month old baby boy or girl to go on walks with--crazy!
Switching gears a bit here. Your dad had a hard day at work yesterday. He works at an alternative high school for what we call "at-risk" teenagers, basically kids who have either failed out or have been kicked out of traditional high school. One of his favorite students, who he's gotten to know really well during the last two years, came into his office and basically had a melt-down. I won't get into too much detail, but this student has lived a really tough life-- he's never met his father and has an emotionally abusive, alcoholic mother. As a result, he really struggles with drugs and alcohol himself, and is in real danger of not getting enough credits to graduate before he "ages out" of the public school system at 21. Dad tried to encourage him and talk to him about what was going on, but this student said something that I can't stop thinking about: "It's easy for you to give out advice, you've had everything handed to you in life. You were dealt a fair hand in life and I wasn't."
In a way, he's right. I think sometimes I take for granted how lucky and blessed your dad and I were to be born into the families, the lives, that we were. I have never once doubted whether or not my mom and dad loved me, and I know your dad feels the same way. I used to get so annoyed that my mom always wanted to know where I was, had to meet my friends' parents before sleepovers, forced me to wear a dorky helmet when I rode my bike around the neighborhood, and insisted on going to every single parent-teacher conference at school, but it was all those little, "annoying" things that made me so deeply aware that I was loved. Someone cared about me. Simple things, that to most of the people don't seem like any big deal, can mean the difference between a kid "making" or "not making it" in life. It breaks my heart that there are so many kids, like Dad's student, who have never felt loved or cared for by their own mom and dad. If he had been born into my family, would he have ended up at an alternative school, crying in dad's office? Probably not.
There's so many things I want to teach you, but above everything else, I just want you to know without a doubt that you are loved. I love you now, and I can only imagine how much I'm going to love you once I meet you. Your dad loves you. Your grandparents love you. Your aunts and uncles, second cousins, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and even our friends love you. I tell you this so someday when you're mad at me for making you call me and check-in when you're out on your first date, or nag you about wearing your seat belt, or God-forbid even force you to wear a helmet when all your friends' parents let them ride bikes without one, you know it will be because I love you.
I might not go as far as making you wear a swimsuit with a built-in inner tube, like Grandma made me wear