Silent, Not Absent


Dear Lewis,

I’ll admit: a lot of the gaps in my letters have been because of laziness. This last week was different.

Your Uncle Josh was in town, so we hung out with him as much as we could. Most of Sunday we were with Uncle Dago and Aunt Niki. You and I spent Monday night walking the city while mama was at a yoga class. I’ve been a little under the weather the last two days, but we’ve still watched your favorite show, Frasier, when I haven’t been sleeping.

What I’m trying to say is that I haven’t had a lot of free time to write this week because I’ve been busy being with you. As you get older and life gets crazier this is probably how it’s going to be most of the time. Since this is my special way of conveying my thoughts and love to you I’ll understand if you’re disappointed by my silence.

I’ll understand because that’s where I am with God right now.

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A Novel Failure

Old typewriter keys. ©Robin Nelson

Dear Lewis,

The average novel is approximately 100,000 words. As of tonight I am at 1500 in my current one. That means I’m only about 1% of the way there. But I’ve made it farther than 99% of people ever do.

Ray Bradbury once said you have to write a million words of fiction before you know what you’re doing, before you’re a real author. Total, I’ve penned over 300,000 words of fiction, so I’m over 30% of the way there. My 300,000th word was better than my first, but the first was no less important. The first led to the second, which led to the 300,000th.

That’s putting a positive spin on it. The fact remains: so far, I’ve failed to write a good novel.

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My New Passenger


Dear Lewis,

It took me almost 30 years to figure out who I am and how I best operate. That changed when I got married. It changed even more when I became your dad.

I’m a night owl. You’ve made me an early bird. I don’t function without a pot of coffee’s caffeine. I don’t remember the last time I finished a whole cup. The list goes on.

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Love It To Life


Dear Lewis,

Today is your first birthday! I can’t believe you’ve been alive for a whole year. More impressively, I can’t believe your mom and I managed to keep you alive for a whole year.

Sure, the cake, the balloons, the frog-shaped pool, it’s all in celebration of you. But, it’s also a celebration and a reminder of how God has invited us to take part in the act of creation, to be creators. It’s a reminder of why he created us, why he created the universe and everything in it.

I can’t tell you how he pulled it off. I can’t tell you where the “stuff” came from. I can only tell you what it came out of: love.

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My First Father’s Day


Dear Lewis,

Every year, Father’s Day comes and goes without much fuss. It’s not usually a memorable holiday. But this Father’s Day is different. This Father’s Day I’m scared.

I’m scared to talk to my dad, Lewis. I don’t know what to say to your PaPa. I’m not sure I’ll be able to speak if he answers the phone. I feel so ashamed, even though I know he loves me no matter what.

It’s his love that’s the problem.

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Too Much All At Once


Dear Lewis,

Last night Uncle Matt came over to work on music while your mom was at yoga. You were fussy, and demanded my attention the whole night. When it was time to eat you fought me, taking an hour to eat 4oz of food. Uncle Matt and I managed to be productive, in spite of your neediness.

I’d already had a taxing day, so by the time your mom got home, showered and ate dinner I was spent, overwhelmed, and ready for a new day.

Thankfully, you slept 9 hours straight. You missed a few feedings since you slept so long, so this morning you downed your normal 4oz. When the bottle was empty you started crying so I gave you another 2oz. You sucked that down, screamed again, so I gave you 2oz more.

After finishing 8oz total you were good. Or so I thought.

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We’re Good, Because I Love You


Dear Lewis,

Tonight you pooped like you were trying to qualify for an Olympic event. It broke through your diaper, seeped through your clothes, stained the changing pad, and covered my hand. It took 11 wipes to get you clean. That’s a record for you. Congratulations.

The restaurant where we went to pick up burritos was packed. Your mom and I, and judging by their faces, the people in line around us, smelled something awful. I immediately recognized your scent, and dashed out to the car to change you.

You massacred that diaper. I’ve never seen anything so disgusting in all my life. I don’t know how I kept from puking.

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Uncle Josh: Barbarian


Dear Lewis,

Last night you met your Uncle Josh for the first time. Uncle Josh has been one of my three best friends for more than a decade. We’ve made a lot of music together. We’ve experienced abundance and we’ve been penniless together. Once, we even slept on the sidewalk in front of LAX airport together.

You might be wondering why it took you so long to meet him. Lewis, with more pride in my heart than I can express before my first cup of coffee, you haven’t met Uncle Josh because he’s a Barbarian.

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