Malcolm and Matty,
It’s been a full year since my last letter to you and it has been a busy 12 months. In that time you have changed schools, made new friends, learned to swim and grown a lot. For the most part, I have enjoyed our many moments alone while your momma was away. We have cried a little, laughed a lot, and hopefully, for you, started a life that is fun and rewarding. It hasn't been a big shiny life, but it has been satisfying for me.
I don’t know if I was ready to be a dad before either of you entered my life but once you were born I knew I had to become one. I didn't know the first thing about raising children or raising a boy to be a man and you didn't come with instructions. But as your father, I like to think your mother and I are doing a pretty good job with you. We had to and still have to learn most things on our own, but much of the urgency of the early days are gone, and not by luck, but with hard work, making hard decisions, and lots of love.
Malcolm, as I find myself assisting and explaining life's little instructions to you, I can see that you are growing into such an independent man. I know at times I can be rough on you about cleaning your room or playing in church, but you are softening me up quite a bit. I promise that I will give you your space, but not too much.
Matty, When you were born I asked myself if I would I be able to handle another son? Raising you is a different experience from raising your brother for so many different reasons. Even at two I can see that you will be an extraordinary young man full of courage and heart. When I place your hand in my hand I notice how the size difference is not as much as it used to be. Sometimes I see my grandfather’s face when I look at you and I smile because of the great man that he was. Other times I see my dad and I remember what a strong man he is.
To you both I say: My wish for you, as your father, is that you find someone to experience the bigness of this world with and that you grow old with that someone. Your mother has been a great wife and is the most important noun in my life. When we met, she challenged me to be a better human being and made me shift my priorities and reassess my value system. I pray that you find someone to do the same for you and you are blessed to have children as wonderful as you are.
As each of you were born I realized I was responsible for helping you to become good men. As you are growing I’m willing to give you my time, my attention, my love, and my hugs and I am happy to give them all to you. You have been great sons, and I have tried to be a great dad for you both. I have no doubt that you will become tremendous men. I want you to always remember, I will be there for you, no matter what obstacles you may face in this life.