The First Letter To Lewis After He Was Born

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

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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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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The Hero Must Struggle

Dear Lewis,

In every story worth telling the hero undergoes a transformation. To experience this transformation he must face adversity, he must struggle through pain, and he must persevere through suffering. It’s during what’s called the Second Act, the longest part of the story, that he struggles most. Your grandpa, PaPa, is in a Second Act season of life.

In the Second Act the hero is refined through the fires of struggle and suffering. As the hero is being refined, his goal is reshaped – not abandoned – because his struggles have helped put things in perspective. It’s the shift in perspective that causes the hero to be transformed into who he must become in order to get to the end of the story.

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It’s All My Fault

Dear Lewis,

Today we took you to the hospital. You haven’t been feeding well, and it’s causing your mom a lot of pain. It frustrates her, even angers her because it hurts so badly.

The doctor diagnosed you as being tongue-tied. This means your frenulum (the little piece of skin connecting the bottom of your mouth to the underside of your tongue) extends too far forward. This prevents you from moving your tongue through its full range of motion. Right now it makes breastfeeding difficult, but later in life it could affect your speech and cause you other problems. So we decided to let the doctor cut that little piece of skin.

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A Mother’s Day Reminder

Dear Lewis,

After church you and I ran some errands, ate lunch, and then we both took a nap. You’ve been asleep for an hour now, while my nap only lasted about 15 minutes. You might be wondering where your mom is. That’s why I can’t sleep.

While we’re napping, your mom is at a yoga class. Instead of being lazy like us she’s working hard to get back into shape, like she was before she got pregnant.

While lying in bed next to you I experienced something I’d never felt before. My body was totally relaxed and my mind still. Yet something in me was stirring. The best I can put it is that my heart was pulling my mind through the past year.

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