To my son on the day of his birth…

Dear Lamb,

Today is the first moment I’ve had to stop amidst the harried hubbub of task and obligation to sit and write a few lines in observance of your birth, these two days prior.

Oh, and if you are confused: I call you “Lamb” right now because you are so quiet and serene in your conduct, save for a few grunts that sound more like bleats whenever you are hungry or need to be changed.

So, I call you “Lamb” for now. It doesn’t seem to have caught on with anyone else, but I like it…  I once read that Eleanor of Aquitaine called Richard the Lionheart “Lamb” his entire life, even after he was well established as one of the great barbarians of the Crusades.

I don’t know how old you’ll be when you read this letter, but I beg your indulgence…  this letter was not written to the hulking, red-headed and hairy-legged incarnation you will likely become sixteen years from now, but to the wide-eyed and fuzzy-cheeked cherub whom I can hold burrowed into my arm.

You and your mother just came home yesterday, after only a day’s observation at the hospital. Everything checked out and you were discharged shortly after 5 p.m. You were greeted at home by your gleeful siblings and extended family members.

In appearance you seem far “wilder” than any of your siblings.

Your hair has a bright copper-colored sheen, and your eyes are large in proportion to the rest of your face. Like the great King David, you are “ruddy and handsome, with pleasant eyes” though I see none of his diminutive frame in you. Your palms are wide with long fingers, though your legs are long and yet spindly, they hold a deep chest and broad shoulders. I suspect you’re going to be the tallest and the strongest of my sons. Your mouth is small and you keep a perpetual expression of ironic bewilderment on your face, as though you are rather bemused at your circumstances.

Aside from this, you are quite calm and a generally peaceful child. Between nursings and changing, you are quite content to sit and look about. You accept being held and being left alone with the same tranquil demeanor.

I also want to tell you what a good job your mother did throughout this pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I really cannot imagine how it could have gone any better than it had.

From the moment she first learned you were to be she has carried herself with a grace and verve that leaves me only with a sense of amazement and sheer awe. No doubt by now you might’ve heard some of the stories in the years leading up to the reading of this letter but, if not, prevail upon one of us and ask about it sometime.

However, I do want to say this: your mother is an incredibly strong woman, a woman who bore you with courage and panache, a woman who cares for you with a great tender attentiveness and profound wisdom. I am thankful for her, and I hope you are as well.

Other than that, I don’t know what else to say across this divide of time and space. I am about to conclude this letter and go gather you into my arms.

Welcome my son, I look forward to coming to know you more in time. May the Lord grant us many years together to laugh and to love one another.

Love, your devoted father,


3 thoughts on “To my son on the day of his birth…

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