Dear Judah: A Letter to My Son

Judah,

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It's a big day. Or, more accurately, tomorrow will be a big day. Your mom, the irreplaceable glue that holds our family together and the person without which, your diet would consist mostly of pop-tarts and chicken nuggets, is going to be giving you a little brother and me another son.

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I've been so excited ever since we found out about your Little Brother that I haven't often thought about how the whole thing might affect you. I know that you've noticed the change in mom's waistline and energy level, but I don't know how much you've understood of the things we've been telling you about where this is all leading.

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Let me tell you now what this doesn't mean.

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It doesn't mean you are any less important to us, or that we'll love you less. You have been the most important thing in the world to me and your mom (and several other people) for the last 17 months. Now, we'll just have two "most important things." Your brother is going to get all the love and attention that you got (although I can't promise he'll get quite as many photos as you did) but that doesn't mean we're taking those things away from you. We're just drumming up more for everybody.

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It doesn't mean you're losing your room, your toys, your recliner or your half of dad's biscuits and sausage breakfasts. Baby brother can get his own, that stuff is all still yours. You two ARE going to share a room for at least a while, but we'll keep him in our room until he's big enough to understand boundaries and lines of demarcation. No way we're letting him infringe on your rights vis-a-vis the Treaty of Versailles.

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It doesn't mean that you're going to get shipped off to Grandma's house or with Aunts and Uncles while we play with the NEW baby. First of all, let's face it, those people can't really keep up with you anyway. Second, you are far too integral to getting this newbie situated into life at Casa del Awesome. Who else is going to show him all the cool hiding spots for when I come home from work, or how Mom likes it when you move the potting soil with Otis' water bowl, or how the fridge holds all sorts of goodies that you can reach when Mom and Dad aren't looking? This kid probably won't even know how to use the mouse and keyboard to switch the Mac's native language to Mandarin or make it speak all the menu items. Mom loves it when you do that, somebody's gotta teach him how.

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So, to sum up, the big stuff is all going to be the same. But there are going to be changes. You'll have a lot of authority as the Big Brother. And with authority comes responsibility.

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Your Mom is going to need you more than ever to be independent and self-sufficient. Little brother is going to be mostly drools, dribbles and poops for the first couple of months (you were there once yourself, mister, so don't crack too wise). He's going to take A LOT of work. That means that you'll need to pull your own weight (and maybe even some of his) around the house for the next little while. It's okay to be a kid (you're pretty great at it), but the time for being a baby is mostly over now. That means less tantrums when it's time to change diapers, take a bath or go to bed, and more communication on what you need and want with me and Mom. We're going to be reading lots of grunts and goo-goo's from Little Brother, help us out by using that big vocabulary you've developed.

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I'm gonna need you to help me teach Little Brother what being a Mr. Awesome is all about. You've apprenticed well over the last year and a half, and I'd dare say you are well beyond your years in Awesomeitude. Let's make sure Little Brother gets that same leg up. Besides, who wants to have a lame Little Brother anyway? If we're going to have him (and we ARE going to have him) he might as well be as cool as the rest of us.

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Stick up for your brother, even when he's being stupid. It's fine for YOU to make fun of your brother (it's natural. If you don't believe me, ask MY brother and sisters) but if anybody else does it, they're cruisin' for a bruisin' (not that I'm condoning fighting, but if Judah's fist happens to meet Signor Bully's face, well, that's just physics, isn't it?). Apart, you two would just be two really awesome guys. Together, you could rule the world, son. Fight amongst yourselves when you need to, but to the rest of the world, always be a team. Know that your Mom and Dad are right behind you with plenty of firepower to back up your play.

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Continue becoming the awesome person you already are. The last 17 months has been the most amazing in my life. Everyday you do something that surprises, astounds and excites me. Keep it up. I know it's no small order, but you're on your way to making Mom and me the two proudest parents in the world. Why slow down now? In your new Baby Brother, you've got the world's best competition/motivation. Make him work hard to keep up with you, then help him when he tries. You'll both be better for it.

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We're just a handful of hours away from the expansion of our family, but know that I love you as much now as I ever have, and I'll love you same tomorrow afternoon. That won't change no matter how many Little Brothers or Sisters come home with us.

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All my love,

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Dad.