You’re Sick, Lewis. So Am I.

Dear Lewis,

The past few days have been crazy. It has nothing to do with Christmas. It has everything to do with you getting sick for the first time.

It was Christmas Eve. You and I were hanging out like we do every morning. Except this morning, even though you hadn’t eaten for 11 hours, you weren’t interested in your bottle. I kept at it, and half an hour later, and less than half your bottle later, you puked on your self, on me, the couch, even the floor.

You didn’t cry, but I panicked.

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What I Learned From Playtime

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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Your Normal Isn’t Normal: A Letter From James Kennison

Lewis,

Your dad asked me a while back to write you a letter. My immediate thought was “NO!” What could I say to a baby I’ve never even met that would mean anything? Your Dad hardly listened to me in his youth… why would you?

The tone of these letters are always very deep and serious. They’re life-altering and they speak to all of us. Your Dad is an awesome man for not only writing his thoughts to you, but sharing them with the rest of us. Part of the reason I didn’t want to write was because of the great amount of respect I have for your Dad’s project… the other part is because I know there’s a big chance that you’ll take this all for granted.

I imagine you’re around 16 to 17 years old. You’re on the threshold of the rest of your life and it’s time to read through these letters full of hope, passion, struggles, lessons and truth. Maybe you’ve read some previously… but now you’re of age and they’re really starting to make sense.

But here’s the thing I worry about… this is normal for you.

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Simple, Life-Changing Love

Dear Lewis,

You’re sitting on the floor, smiling from ear to ear, mumbling unintelligibly, and banging your fist against a plastic plate. And I couldn’t love you more than I do right now.

God must look at what I do everyday and see a fool mumbling unintelligibly, banging plastic plates. And he couldn’t love me more than he does right now.

I love you, Lewis. God loves you more.

– Dad

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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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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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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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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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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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