This isn’t goodbye. Not really. I’ve tried that before and somehow or other I end up back here. I just don’t have the creative spark right now. I had hoped that forcing myself to publish something once a week all last year would help me be excited about writing again, have it be less of struggle to get that Wednesday post out there… and some months it worked, but most months I had to force myself to publish something I wasn’t always happy with just to meet the deadline.
So, I’m giving myself a break.
If I follow you I will still read your posts and comment and support your writing as I have always tried to do. The desire to read your words has never faded. You are all amazing.
And now that I’ve written this I will likely pop up once a week anyway just to prove myself wrong.
I haven’t written to you here in a while. It seems fitting to break that silence today, though.
I won’t keep you for long, I know how busy you are. You have a kingdom to run. And what a fine kingdom it is. I help in my way, of course, but I’m just a jester. There’s only so much I can do. We both know the amazingness of the kingdom comes down to your own amazingness. You are devoted and selfless, creative and driven, and you work, work, work to constantly improve us, both the kingdom and its inhabitants. You care in a way I can only strive for. Your passion is unparalleled.
Your passion is one of the things that drew me to you all other years ago. Your passion for all things, for living this life to its fullest, for adventures. That passion has transferred to your family now. We aren’t the same kids we were when we met but the passion remains.
I’m not entirely sure where I was headed with this letter, except to say that you are seen. Your tireless work is seen. Your love is seen. You are seen.
I hope we do enough to show you how wonderful you are.
So this is six? And how is that possible? How are you six already? Time is surely playing some trick on the Queen and I… Surely that’s the only explanation. I would shake my fist at time but, alas, the moment has already passed.
Six. What a great age. You have such a fun year ahead of you. Finishing up kindergarten. Starting first grade. And? What else are you going to start this coming year? What adventures will you go on? It’s a mystery for now. Soon to be solved.
And we say goodbye to five. The year you became a lego master like your big brother. You really took to your swim lessons over the summer and are turning into a fish, also like your big brother. You got back into bike riding. You leaped ahead in math. You got into the Worlde and Quordle craze. And, and, and. And it was another year absolutely full of adventures. Too many to recount. Too many to remember, actually. It was a blur.
I know we had our struggles, too, of course. Five was a tough age. We got through them, as we do, as we always will. I’m sorry for the times I yelled when I could have found a gentler way to parent. I’m sorry for the times I couldn’t understand your needs faster. I’m happy to report that the days ahead will get easier. Just like you, I’m constantly learning. With each new day I’m better understanding how to be the best dad for you that I can be.
And so, I’m excited for six. I think it’s going to be a great year.
This week’s story is based on the following lyrics from Kiss From a Rose by Seal:
“There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea. You became the light on the dark side of me.”
“Why do you always look so sad when you look out at the ocean?”
“I’m not sad.”
She smiled kindly and put a hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t say you were sad, darling. But, you do look sad when you stare into the distance like you were just doing.”
The corner of his mouth twitched. He knew what she was talking about but it was going to be hard to put it into words. He knew, too, that she wouldn’t rush him. She was patient like that. It was part of why he loved her, part of why he was comfortable enough around her to let his emotions walk in the past. His eyes settled on a point just shy of the horizon and his thoughts dipped back into the years between his youth and his adulthood. Magic years. Haunting years.
“Have I ever told you the story of the lighthouse?”
“Is this a literal lighthouse?”
His lips twitched again, more than they had before, and the small smile betrayed his truth. “No, not a literal lighthouse. It’s a story, a parable or some such thing.”
“Then, no, I don’t think you’ve told me this story.”
Silence, as quiet as the beach ever was, settled around them. The waves, gentle long rollers, washed in and dragged out, over and over. A few pelicans gave up fishing for the moment and settled on the surface just beyond the breakers. The breeze that sometimes roared off the water was little more than a whisper.
“Will you tell me?”
He put his hand on hers, still resting on his shoulder, and nodded.
A moment later he began, “The lighthouse stood on an island far out to sea, it was a beacon of both hope and doom. To see its light meant were near land, but that land could be your salvation or your death, right?”
She said, “Yes, that makes sense.”
He continued, “We have many lighthouses in our lives. People. Memories. They stand in the vast ocean of our minds and flash their lights at us. You have to draw near to see the threat, to understand why the lighthouse is there, but if you get too close you will be dashed upon the cliffs, or the reef, or whatever.”
“And you see these, these ‘lighthouses,’ while you are gazing toward the horizon?” She asked.
He squeezed her hand, and answered simply, “Yes.”
“That is sad,” she murmured.
He squeezed her hand again and said, “It’s okay though. You see, I don’t need the lighthouses anymore. You’ve always got my back. You are always helping light my way forward.”
You are two. Such an amazing age. Such an amazing time to be a toddler tornado. You’re a force to be reckoned with your big laughs, big cries, big mischief, big everything, while still in a little package. Don’t worry, though, it’ll all even out in the end. Every day you’re learning and growing. Soon, sooner than we’ll be ready for, you’ll be adventuring through this life like your two big brothers. They certainly are doing a great job setting the example for you to follow.
You are two. It seems like too small number. It can’t really do justice to the amount of growth and life and adventure you’ve already lived. How has it only been two years? Then again, how has it already been two years. Didn’t you just arrive last week? Weren’t you just a newborn the other day? Wasn’t your first birthday yesterday?
You are two. And the last year saw so many firsts for you. Your first trip to mammoth and your first time playing in snow. Your first plane ride, followed quickly by your first night in a hotel, unplanned even as our flights got messed up and we found ourselves stranded in Chicago for a few hours. Your first trip to Kings Canyon, a place that holds almost magical importance to our family. The kingdom is our fictional and literal home. Kings, for a lot of us, is our heart’s home. The mountains may call to us, but that canyon and that river scream at us in thundering echoes, demanding our attention. You have no idea what I’m talking about, but you will.
You are two. And I’m so excited for all the adventures you still have ahead of you. I know they won’t all be easy but the Queen and I and your two big brothers are always doing our best to help guide you along. Well, almost always. I mean, your big brothers adore you of course but they might occasionally work against you. Brothers. So it goes in this kingdom, this circus, this whatever this family is from day to day.
You are two. You are loved. That’s what it comes down to.