The Terror Of Growing Up

Dear Lewis,

Tomorrow you’ll be 10 months old. I’m blown away by how much you’re already capable of on you own. You’ve even begun flirting with walking! You’re taking a few steps before you get so excited you fall on your face.

I remember bringing you home from the hospital. You were 8 pounds of helpless cuteness. I remember how fragile you were, and how careful we were when holding you. Your mom and I were so scared we’d fail to take care of you.

Now look at you…you’re amazing. You’re also terrifying.

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Somehow, Love Grows

December 23rd, 2014

Dear Lewis,

My heart is beating out of my chest. My eyes still sting. It’s nearly impossible for me to take a full breath. This isn’t panic, Lewis. This is Love. Pure Love. Overwhelming Love. It’s Love like I’ve never known. Lewis, I’m going to be a daddy again!

Today was stressful. A hundred things slowed us from getting on the road to Kansas City to spend Christmas with the family. Your mom knew I was feeling stressed so she did most of the packing and loading while I finished working. Finally, we got into the car to head out of town.

Before I put the car in drive your mom said she wanted to give me my Christmas present. She handed me an envelope. Inside was a card, which held my true present – a positive pregnancy test. Instantly, I was a sobbing mess. I kissed your mother and told her a dozen times I was so unbelievably happy. A few minutes later, composure regained, we set off on our three-and-a-half hour drive to Kansas City.

I didn’t even make it to the highway before I started crying again. I cried, off and on, all the way to Columbia, which is about half way.

Lewis, my tears were more than just the overflow of joy that comes from incredible news. They were tears of love and relief. It might sound strange to say “relief.” In fact, that may not be the best word. But it’s the most honest word.

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Resolution: Free Myself From Past Failures

Dear Lewis,

You’re going to hear a lot of talk about resolutions – promises people make, usually about how they’re going to better themselves in some way – this time every year. For a lot of us resolutions aren’t the start of something new. Rather, they’re a rededication to something that once was.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I was in the habit of writing for at least 3 hours a day. All of the things that accompanied the move to St. Louis, the holidays and the blessing of getting to see family for an extended amount of time prevented me from doing much writing at all.

The same goes for my prayer life.

To be honest, no one prevented me from doing anything. I used my situation as justification for not doing what I know I should; what God has called me to do.

So, I’m studying the story of Daniel to remind myself that greater men than me have allowed their situation to justify their inaction, and that things don’t have to be this way next time around.

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What I Learned From Tarzan’s Dad

Dear Lewis,

This morning, you took a giant step toward becoming a man: you watched the 1999 Disney movie Tarzan. As the movie played, we played. We wrestled, rode your tiger Wheely Bug, built towering edifices of letter-embossed blocks, and, when our stomachs growled, we ate chicken and beef while not wearing shirts.

In short, we behaved like men.

By the time the credits began to roll, and Phil Collins sang his final song, you were exhausted. You, my fierce jungle man, laid your head across my lap, and sucked on your pacifier. As I stroked your hair I replayed the movie in my head. The storyteller in me identified the movie’s theme, the story beats and plot points.

However, the dad in me zeroed in on the lesson learned by Tarzan’s father figure, Kerchak the gorilla.

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You’ll Get There: A Letter From Dustin Dean

Dear Lewis,

I’m Dustin, one of your mom and pop’s friends.

Now, I don’t know if I’ll be around one way or the other to get to know the amazing young man I have no doubt you’ll become, but I’ve had the pleasure of being your dad’s friend for some time now, as well as your mom’s, and Uncle Nik’s. I even flew back to Kansas City and St. Louis to meet your Nani and Papa once upon a time.

Today is the party celebrating your first birthday, and also the first time I’ll have the pleasure of meeting you. I asked your old man what you might need, or what he might like to see you get.

Now, I asked him to keep in mind who was asking. Mostly because I’m almost always broke – and left to my own devices I might have gotten myself in trouble.

Long story short, I’m kind of a jackass.

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I’ll Still Be Here When You Need Me

Dear Lewis,

A few months ago you would have cried and screamed and flailed your arms if I’d have laid you on your belly. Now, the moment I put you on the ground you roll over onto your stomach. You don’t stop there. You do this awesome G.I. Joe army crawl that gets you all over the apartment.

It’s wonderful – and terrifying – watching you get into everything in every room of the apartment. I used to say, “I can’t wait until Lewis can do more than just lay on the ground and look cute.” Now, it’s happened. And I’m so proud of how you’ve learned to roll over, get around and entertain yourself.

Pretty soon you’ll learn to crawl. Then walk. Take the bus. Drive. I’ll be there to help you through each transition, but one day I’ll wake up to find you’re capable of moving through most of life on your own. You won’t need me to do much for you anymore.

But I’ll still be there when you do.

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Wisdom Literature: Put Me in the Zoo

Dear Lewis,

Once upon a time there was a man who was rarely seen without a book in his hands. He loved all kinds of books. Classics, like The Brothers Karamazov. Epic fantasies like the Lord of the Rings. Books by spiritual giants such as C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and D.L. Moody.

Then, the goblin prince was born. The man who loved books was charged with becoming the goblin prince’s servant, caring for the prince night and day. For months the servant was unable to read the books he loved.

One day, while the man was scrubbing the prince’s dishes he felt a tug at his pants. The prince had brought his servant a present: a hardback book. Although it was small, brightly colored, and written by an unfamiliar author, the servant was grateful for the chance to read again.

So the servant escorted the goblin prince to the royal play mat, and then began reading Put Me in the Zoo, by Robert Lopshire.

The story would change the servant’s life forever.

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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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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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