Yesterday, on my day off from work, I drove to see my grandmother with Will because it was her birthday. She didn’t know that Will and I were coming and oh my sweet God you should’ve seen her face when she spotted Will.
I should mention, Will and my grandmother got off to a rocky start. For one reason or another, he cried a lot when he hung out with her. I know that was because he had been sleeping in the car for an hour or had been overstimulated at family functions. But my poor grandma thought it was because he hated her. But not this time.
As if Will knew it was her birthday, he began putting on a show for everyone. And for the next hour, he was the center of attention and the apple of his great-grandmother’s eye. They were both giggling, laughing, smiling and it’s the youngest I’ve seen my grandmother act in years. And let’s face it, she’s an old lady (I know you’re reading this grandma, I’m just teasin!).
And even though I got her a birthday gift, I realized it didn’t matter. To her, the only gift she needed was Will. I used to roll my eyes when I’d ask someone in my family what they wanted for their birthday or Christmas and they’d say, “Just for you to come over and visit.” But now I get it. I understand they’re not full of crap. All my grandmother wanted was to hang out with my son for as long as she possibly could. She said it was the best birthday of her life. And even though my grandmother and hyperbole go hand in hand (she still thinks I’m the most handsome young man on Earth, so we know her judgment is spotty at best), I believed her.
So even though I know it’s a little early for Thanksgiving, I’m saying thank you to Will.
Thank you for your smile, which is simultaneously adorable and heart-melting. Thank you for those two front bottom teeth which makes the aforementioned smile even cuter. Thank you for allowing us to pass you around from person to person and hardly ever getting upset about it. Thank you for your laughs, giggles and especially that ear-piercing shriek of joy when you’re REALLY happy. That one’s my favorite.
Thank you for those chubby little legs and your angel face. Thank you for allowing me to hug you and hold you after I’ve had a long day and you’ve already gone to bed. I always start out trying not to wake you but then I get greedy and I want a little smile from you. But you always seem to understand and then go right back to sleep. Thank you for liking the dogs. I was worried you’d hate them and we’d have to get rid of them, but you not only let them lick you in the face, you LOVE it. And in turn they let you pull their fur without getting angry. It’s a good system.
Thank you for (relatively) sleeping through the night from an early age. I’m not sure if I could’ve dealt with things otherwise. Thank you for making me more attractive. If I had known the best way to get female attention was to walk around with a cute baby I would’ve done this years ago! Even though I didn’t gain any actual physical attraction, women figure if I helped produce a baby that cute I must have some redeeming qualities.
Thank you for being pure entertainment. Like when grandpa gave you cranberry sauce for the first time yesterday, the look on your face was priceless. It reminded me of my first shot of Jack Daniels as I drank it down and contorted my face as I took in all the flavor. And, just like daddy, you had seconds after you processed everything. And thank you for your hilarious Baby ADD. I love how you cry over the smallest thing like me taking the newspaper away from you. It’s like the world is ending and all of humanity is in peril. But 3 seconds later you’ve been distracted by a shiny object and all is right with the world again. You definitely get that from your mother.
But most of all thank you for making our lives better. With the exception of a handful of days Will, you’ve made coming home from work pure joy because I know I get to see you and play with you for a few hours. When you approach a milestone it consumes me and I love working with you until you perfect it. And then I wait breathlessly until you’re on to the next one. You have this way of making everyone you come in contact with feel happier and better about themselves. You remind me of those dumb Skittles commercials in that everywhere you go you rain sweetness. Sometimes I seriously think you take a dump sometimes and you might as well be crapping out Skittles because no one thinks you do anything wrong.
Despite all I’ve already learned from you buddy, I know I still have so much more to go and I thank you for the opportunity to be your dad.