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Jan 19, 2012

Dear Colin

Dear Colin,

Your life has been completely turned upside down the last six months and while I'm not going to apologize for it, I do want to applaud you and tell you that you are a peach. You handled all the turmoil and stress of a new baby as if you were expecting this all along, just waiting for her to show up. You continue to deal with your parents both working all hours of the day and night, and you and your sister floating back and forth between various friends and family members, like you scheduled this whole thing yourself. With the exception of brushing your teeth before bed, you conduct your life with such grace and poise and exuberant joy that I find myself envious. Where did you learn to be this put together? I doubt it was from me, and I know for a fact it wasn't from your father.

The reason I'm not going to apologize for doing this to you and your sister is complicated. You and I talk a lot about how important words are, and how to choose the right ones, so I'm going to try to do that now.

You and Caroline are the highlight of my day, the brightest, happiest parts of my life. Your dad feels the same way. The littlest details of your lives are of the utmost interest and importance to us, and we clamor to hear them when we convene over dinner. But even though you and Caroline are the most important things to us, your daddy and I both need other things in our lives, too. We need to work, which is a concept you are starting to play with. You often tell me, "Mommy, I'm going to work now! I'm going to have a great day at work today!" and I hope you say that because that is the impression that your daddy and I give you about our work. We work to make ourselves better, to make other people better, to make each other better. And, hopefully, to make you and Caroline better too. We work so that we can buy food and clothes and toy cars, of course, but we also love our work. We love the people at work and what we do at work and we love to be at work. That is true, but I don't want you or Caroline to ever think that because we love to be at work means that we don't love to be with you. We LOVE to be with you, too, and it's okay to love both.

Most days, you are excited to go to school. Your friends are there and you know your way around the games and the books. You have a routine that makes you comfortable and a chair with your name on the back. "C O L I N," you tell me proudly and you point out the letters. You have learned so much there, and you feel like you belong. I hope you can always find a place that pushes you to grow, to learn, to become more than what you were when you got there. A place where you feel you belong. I want you to have that away from our home and family, and then to leave that place, come home and embrace your family, eager to share what you've learned and to love each other in your home.

It isn't always easy, and sometimes things fall apart a little bit. The last few weeks have been really busy for our family. While I've tried to keep things as relaxed and joyful at home as usual, I don't think it was successful, and you started having accidents at school. I took this as a personal, secret message that I needed to pay attention, to step it up, to make sure you and Caroline knew how much you are adored around here. I don't know if that is really what's going on, but thanks for the reminder anyway. It won't be that last time you'll have to set me straight in all likelihood, but know that I'll be listening when you do.

Today I dropped you off at school and reminded you to use the potty. You wrapped your not-so-little arms around my neck and said, "I will, Mommy. I'm going to make you so happy!" Having no words, I buried my face in your hair and squeezed you until you complained and wriggled away from me to build a tower out of blocks and change the world.

You make my heart sing, little man.

With love,

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