To My Youngest Son, on His First Birthday

Remy,

It seems like about five minutes ago that we brought you home from the hospital. We didn't even know for sure what your name was that day. Your mom and I were up most of the night with you that first night, taking turns feeding you and rocking you. We decided there, in the middle of the night, that your name was Remy Shay. After having called you that for a year, I can safely say we got it right.

You are mischievous, inquisitive, loving and outgoing. Watching your personality develop and see the ways that you and your brother are alike and the ways you are different is absolutely fascinating. I can't wait until you can run and play with Judah. I think you guys are going to be the best of friends. I have a wonderful older brother and sister, but we were too far apart in age to grow up together like you and Judah will. Your Aunt Jena was close to my age, but she's a girl, and well...that's different. I hope you and your brother will be each other's confidant, partner, best friend and greatest rival. You can and should make each other better in every way. I hope we help foster that for you both.

You're not a baby anymore, so I feel like I can tell you that the world is a rough place. There are a lot of skinned knees and broken hearts to be had out here. But never forget that you've got it better than most people. You live in a country where you are free to choose your own destiny. You've got a huge family on both sides that loves you and will work to help you in anyway they can. You've got a big brother walking just ahead of you to help show you the ropes. You've got a mom who has already committed three years to raising you both full-time, and loves you more than you can ever imagine. And, hopefully not least of all, you've got a father who would walk through hell for you. I'm not perfect, Remy, even you know that by now, I'm sure. But, I will never give up on you, and I'll do my best to never give you a reason to give up on me.

My littlest man, I love you more than I can say. I wish you the happiest of birthdays, and 200 more behind it.

All of my love,

Dad.