Tuesday, December 01, 2020

to campbell, on your 9th birthday

I was just taking a look and realized I've blogged just one single time in 2020, and it was my thoughts on a hate crime and tragedy.

May my words be much lighter and full of more love here.  

Here is my annual open letter to my son on his birthday. 

Riding with your Dad, cheesin, wearing
Mommy's vintage Leia shirt from 1983

Dear Campbell, 

My my what a year it has been.  As you get older, begin to understand pop culture and catch phrases and references, "2020" will be one for the books.  

So, there was this pandemic, see... basically, a virus came into our country, swept through the country, scared a lot of people, many people died, many more got it and were fine, and so on.  I'm sure you and I will talk about the finer points of all of this one day, but 2020 was the Coronavirus year. 

It didn't start out that way. January was a fine month, fine indeed, and I even got to go to Disneyland for my job and meet some really cool people -- I talked about you a lot.  Kobe Bryant, a legendary NBA player died in January from a helicopter crash, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, and the only music I really enjoyed from 2020 was a song called "Blinding Lights" from The Weeknd and music from a chick named Dua Lipa.  

There was also some song released called "WAP", but you aren't allowed to listen to it -- not so much because of the lyrics, but because I'm raising you to have taste.

It's hard to even talk about 2020 movies this year because so many of them came out on streaming services. Someone told me the other day "Can you believe 'Birds of Prey' came out THIS YEAR?!" and I actually had to go look that up to confirm, because this year has been so insane.

I keep going back to how crazy this year has been... in March, enough people had gotten this virus that basically the country shut down.  Movie theaters closed. Many restaurants closed, and the ones that did stay open only did drive thru or curbside. Wal-Mart decided it was going to close at 6pm instead of being open 24/7, grocery stores closed at 5 or 6, churches closed doors and went online, and when you came home for Spring Break, you didn't go back, as schools went virtual.

And it was really, really tough.  On our entire family. Your Mom started working from home, and we still had to get you up to try to do things online with your class -- and of course, you weren't really into that, so that was a struggle. Truthfully, I feel guilty sometimes because I feel like me not pushing you more may have set you back further, but I promise, we did what we could. 

This summer, we did our best to stay busy... we started riding bikes together, and honestly, that was a proud moment as a Dad for you. Yes, the training wheels are still on, but we'll get there. We hit Splash Adventure four or five times this summer, including once when you sat up on the 75 foot tall slide and nearly gave me a heart attack. 

You spent a little time with your friend Hillary, kinda your BFF, and watching your face the day Jack & Lily stopped by this summer was so amazing.  I hope your first instinct is always to give a handshake or a hug when you see your friends. 

2020 was the year you went all in on trains. 
Obsessed with Thomas, and in your Mom's
absence, we went on train hunts.

It's been fun to watch you at Next Levl too... I've watched you conquer those trampolines one by one, climbing up, falling backwards, failing to get back up to the ledge, whining, then trying it again. You persevere, Campbell -- its one of your attributes. 

You did get to go some this summer to a shortened summer school schedule, and you finally got to go back in September, albeit a crazy schedule. 

The Disney trip we had planned for March, the one where you saw the doctor in Florida was pushed back to May... then June... then September... then late September... but we got to go!!!

And you had your first waffles and pancakes (and syrup, which you dipped everything in, from your bread to your meat). And your first ham sandwich. And your first hamburger.  

And I'm proud to say, your first Blue Milk from Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.  And you loved it. 

Of course, you went all in on trains, including Thomas the Tank Engine -- our living room floor looks like a flippin stockyard. And all in on YouTube... by the way, you are obsessed, and probably need an intervention. 

Then... November came. 

And Campbell, this is where I have to brag on you and tell you how proud I am of you.  Every year when I do these online letters to you, hoping that one day you will read and absorb, I try to teach you a little something. Last year, we talked a little about kindness.  The year before, it was about Truth. And before that, it was Respect

This year? Adaptability.  And you showed all of us how good you are at it. 

I went away early in November for a few days, and Aunt Becky came to stay with us. And she was already not feeling great. Mommy had to take her home, to Aunt Becky's house, while you and I stayed here together... and no, you weren't happy that first night, but when we called to talk to Mommy and Aunt Becky, she (Becky) asked you "How much does Aunt Becky Love you??".  You replied "SOOOO MUCH" -- that was your thing with her, remember?  I don't know if you know, but that would be the last thing you'd say to her. And honestly, that's a good one to go out on.

Aunt Becky went to the hospital and didn't get better, then Mommy got sick with -- you guessed it, coronavirus.  And when Aunt Becky went to be with Jesus, Mommy and I fretted over how to tell you.  

On a Sunday afternoon, I finally just gave it to you -- Aunt Becky passed away and wouldn't be coming to see us anymore. You looked at me, then put on your shoes and were ready to go.  

Do you remember that day? I think you processed, and did so for much of the day. 

Your mom was gone for over two weeks... and you handled it like a champ. You didn't meltdown (much) you didn't freak out (much) and you didn't cry and scream because routine was so insane and upside down. You handled it. 

One of my fave pics of us, after getting soaked on
Splash Mountain, me losing my hat, and you having
just come down from a meltdown of epicness. 
Just the two of us. 

And I cannot tell you how proud I am of you for that. Had you had freak out moments, had you melted down every day, I'm not sure I could have handled it. 

But God took care of you, and me, and of course Mommy, who came back to us after 16 days, healthy and maybe a little tired.

Campbell, you adapted. You rolled with it, and kept on. And that is a huge trait to have. 

I know this letter is so much different from year's past, when I just gave you a recap and told you your accomplishments, but this year has been different, so it works somehow.

Welcome to 9 years old, my dear son. We love you more than you'll ever know... and still can't compare with the love that Jesus has for you. This year we began our nightly prayers together, and we'll keep praying for our family, for our friends, for our church and our pastor, for our country and our President, and that one day you'll find Jesus in your heart. Honestly, I've thought for a while now that you have your own conversations with God internally. He knows how to talk to you in ways we can't. Hopefully, you can tell me on your own one day if I was right. 

Finally, as I was driving the other day, I heard Will Smith's great remake of Bill Withers classic "Just the Two of Us"... from a father to a son, here are the lyrics I'll leave you with:

Feel the strife, but trust life does go wrong
But just in case, it's my place to impart
One day some girl's gonna break your heart
And ooh ain't no pain like from the opposite sex
Gonna hurt bad, but don't take it out on the next, son
Throughout life people will make you mad
Disrespect you and treat you bad
Let God deal with the things they do
'Cause hate in your heart will consume you too
Always tell the truth, say your prayers
Hold doors, pull out chairs, easy on the swears
You're living proof that dreams do come true
I love you and I'm here for you
With love,

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