Happy birthday! I am delighted to have you in my life, and I’m thrilled to be celebrating this special day with you and your mom. Congratulations on reaching so many milestones in the past year. Just a year ago, you weren’t able to walk on your own, but now you can walk, run, jump, and climb all by yourself! You completed a full year at day care and have made friends. We love to hear you sing songs that you’ve memorized by heart, and we’re constantly amazed by your expanding vocabulary. Most recently, you even pooped in the toilet for the first time a few weeks ago! I hope this past year has been fulfilling for you, as you’ve been busy unlocking new skills one after another.
I am very thankful that my experiences with you have been overwhelmingly positive — a privilege that not every parent can boast. I had so much fun taking care of you mostly because you have a relatively easy temperament. You sleep well, eat well, and play well. You are jolly and smiley around people, and you are not afraid of trying new things as you are brimming with curiosity.
I would like to thank you for making me more optimistic about this world. You have a way of walking up to everyone and say hi, and you even give unsolicited hugs to complete strangers. To my surprise, most have reciprocated with smiles and hugs! As you may know, I have one of the most egregious cases of RBF, and I did not know how beautiful and warm this world can be when seen through a baby’s eyes. After all, this world does not seem as grim as I thought it was. I was just not cute enough for this world.
On this important day, I revisited what I wrote a year ago. And I stand by every word I wrote then. I believe our relationship must transcend any measure of utility. We’ve got no reason to justify our existence as a father and a son, but instead, we have a transcendental goal to be gratified in one another, mirroring our relationship with our heavenly Father.
If other father-son relationships are any indication of what our future relationship may look like, it’s likely that we will encounter some bumps along the way. I’ve already observed some early signs of challenges ahead. As you form your own ego, you’re developing a growing set of stronger preferences. Some are innocuous, like your love for ice-cold water and toy cars, while others are dangerous, like your desire to play with knives and scissors. Regrettably, you sometimes enjoy wickedly immoral things. I cannot comprehend why pinching my nipples as hard as you can and seeing me writhe in pain is so entertaining to you. Why?
I must admit that I am still very much blinded by my “my-baby-is-the-second-cutest-baby-of-all-time” bias, and I am conditioned to overlook any of your shortcomings, so to speak. However, I know that our relationship will not be aided by this cognitive bias forever. Eventually, I will have to confront, intervene, and correct you more often. As a result, we will need to learn how to handle these tensions well.
Your mother and I have been contemplating how best to help you develop personality traits such as empathy, compassion, and selflessness, that are essential for managing interpersonal conflicts. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to promote you to the role of an older brother. If all goes as planned, you will be able to hug the new baby by early November.
We are excited and looking forward to welcoming our second child, but I must admit, I am quite nervous because I have no clue what it’s like to have two kids. Your mother and I will need to split our attention, time, effort, and energy to take care of the newborn.
You might have to scream a bit louder to get our attention. We might be a few steps slower in responding to your needs. Our time with you might cut short to address more ‘urgent’ needs. You may feel neglected at times, and I understand that these are some of the inevitable changes that we must embrace.
I believe the true strength and quality of our relationship will be measured by how we handle these frictions, not just by how wonderful our relationship has been in the first two years. I promise that I will do my best to help us navigate through the challenges ahead.
I am aware that it will take many years for you to comprehend what I wrote here, and it may be a long time before you actually read it. I hope that when you do read them, you will be filled with joy knowing how much you are loved. If by any chance, our relationship deteriorates and you ever doubt my love for you. May this letter be a proof that in my purest and most adulterated form, I have nothing but love for you.
Happy birthday son, and I love you very much :)