Daddy – From A Distance

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Dear Lewis,

As you can see by the date of my last entry, it’s been almost a month since I’ve written to you. Honestly, things have been ridiculously busy. To be even more honest, I’m far beyond feeling overwhelmed.

We closed on our house in St. Louis. I’ve been coordinating with the contractor on the renovations so the house will be ready when you get there. Here in Salt Lake, we’re slowly packing and preparing for the move. I’m working more hours to get things in order so I can still do the same jobs, only while living in St. Louis.

I’ve been writing a new book. I’m currently reading three. I do a podcast with friends, which requires a lot of reading, movie watching and note taking. We’re trying to find time to hang out with all of our friends before we move, so our nights and weekends are scheduled down to the minute.

There’s more, but you get the point.

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What My Son Taught Me About Augustine

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Dear Lewis,

Slowly, we’re getting settled into our “transition home.” For the next several months we’ll be living in grandma and grandpa’s basement. It’s really not a bad setup. Well, except for all of the accessible dangers.

For example, we used to have a door that would close off our kitchen. Now we have what a creative realtor would call an “open floor plan”, with the kitchen, dining room, living room, storage and office area all being the same room.

The problem is you’re able, and determined, to get into everything.

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You Got Hurt, And You Will Get Hurt Again

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Dear Lewis,

I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t think it’d be so soon. Given how adventurous you are I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Last night you split open your noggin and had to go to the emergency room.

We had an awesome day, just you and me. We played in the yard, at the park, and even went book shopping. You fell on the sidewalk once, and another time in the Barnes & Nobel parking lot. Each time you looked up at me, grinned, and then stood to your feet before returning to business as usual.

But, when you took off running through the living room on your way to bed you tripped over a pillow, fell into a table leg, and then split your head open in two places.

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Why It’s Pointless To Bargain With God

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Dear Lewis,

Our family has spent the past few weeks getting ready for a major change. For the next several months we’re going to live with your grandma and grandpa. I don’t want to scare you, but I do want to be honest with you – you’re going to live in the suburbs for a while.

Lewis, sometimes you have to spend seasons of your life in places you’d rather not be. I can assure you, if God leads you there it will be worth it, and you will get far more than you bargained for.

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The First Letter To Lewis After He Was Born

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Friends,

If you’ve had a child you know what it’s like to enter the upside-down world of parenthood. If you haven’t, well, imagine taking sleeping pills or NyQuil, then being awakened after only three hours of sleep, and then being asked to solve the Middle East conflict in your altered state. That’s the state of mind and pressure of parenthood.

In the weeks leading up to and after Lewis being born my world moved at a million miles an hour. I wasn’t calm. I wasn’t relaxed. If you’ve read more than two of these letters you know why – loving someone unconditionally was new to me.

About a week and a half after Lewis was born I sat at my kitchen table while he and his mom slept. I opened my notebook and realized it had been 73 days since I’d written a letter to my son. I stared at the neglected notebook. Every second that ticked by brought a new wave of pressure. This was going to be the very first letter I wrote to Lewis after he was born.

I don’t know if it was from feeling overwhelmed by this new level of love or just from being tired, but I sat at my table and began to cry. After a few minutes I regained my composure, took a deep breath, and then penned the only worlds I could.

These were the first words I wrote to Lewis after he was born:

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The First Letter To Lewis I Ever Wrote

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Friends,

Three months before Lewis was born I went to the bar with some friends. At the end of an awesome night I walked a mile and a half through the city back to my apartment, my heart and mind racing the entire time. Even though I didn’t get home until after 2am I had an overwhelming desire to tell Lewis about what had happened. So, I sat at my kitchen table and wrote my very first letter to Lewis.

Unlike most of my letters to Lewis this one wanders through a few thoughts with no real segue. This one also isn’t edited down to make it as short as possible. This is, however, my favorite letter to Lewis because it was the first.

I kind of thought I’d always keep this one for myself. But, today is my birthday. And hobbits celebrate their birthdays by giving presents to all of their friends. I promise, this is the most personal present I could ever give you.

-Paulie

March 22nd, 2013

Dear Lewis,

When you use the bathroom in a stall at a gay bar always look at the ceiling. What you will see on the floor will warp you. When the day comes where you use this advice I hope, I pray, you’re there because of a man, a friend, like Jeff Hacker.

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The Cost Of Being An Original: A Letter From Uncle Kevin

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Nephew,

When your dad asked me to write you a letter I began to think of the things that I could share that would change your life. Well, at least make you laugh. I thought about teaching you that having a nice round belly doesn’t mean you’re fat – it means you get paid. (That’s one of the things I taught your dad, and teased your Aunt Melissa about non-stop since I don’t have a six-pack.)

There’s a lot of pressure in writing this letter to you. Your dad is a great writer. Your Papa David is a great writer. And these letters are filled with not just great writing, but great insights as well. So naturally, I began to feel inadequate. I began to feel pressure to write you a letter that is as good as your other letters, and written well (or good, I’m not sure which to use).

I mean really, I’m just me, and I can’t do some of the things that others do. I can only do things how I do them.

But that’s ok, actually – better than okay, because no one else can do me better than me.

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What I Learned From Playtime

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Dear Lewis,

Recently you’ve begun to do something that fills my heart with more joy than it’s ever known: you play with me. For a month or two you’ve seemed to recognize my voice. But now you actually sit and play with me, crawling over me, swatting at my hands, even laughing and smiling when we play peek-a-boo.

I find myself doing ridiculous things to entertain and interact with you. I make strange faces, funny noises, and, my favorite, crawl toward you like an army man. I speak in oscillating tones, repeat phrases over and over again, and slap my hands against the ground just like you.

We roll around together, crawl toward mommy together, and even sometimes take naps together. Playing with you is exhausting, but never boring. Sometimes I can’t believe the stuff I do, the sounds I make, and especially the funny positions I find myself in when playing with you.

But I love every second of it.

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Choose Your Friends Wisely

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Dear Lewis,

You’re going to make a lot of mistakes throughout your life. Some will simply embarrass you. Others will get you into serious trouble. And there will come a day when a mistake gets you hurt.

You’ll be able to bounce back from most of your mistakes. If you find the book you’re reading to be horribly written, you can put it down. If you choose the wrong college, you can switch. If you take a job because it pays well, only to discover the company’s business practices are unethical, you can quit.

Lewis, there’s one mistake you can’t afford to make: choosing the wrong friends. And if you need an example of what true friends should be like, look at Merry and Pippin.

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10 Reasons I Want My Son To Be Like Bilbo

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Dear Lewis,

I love the Lord of the Rings. I mean I truly, honestly, in the nerdiest way possible, love it. The fact that I have to prevent myself from saying, “That’s like the part in Lord of the Rings where…” in every conversation is why your mother doesn’t worry about other women trying to take me home when I go to the bar without her.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the books. Yet, every time I do, I discover something new, something wonderful, something life changing. It’s a part of who I am. It’s shaped the way I think and the way I view the world.

It’s even shaped the way I parent.

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