As you lay there in your big-girl bed asleep, face down and on your knees with your little butt straight up in the air, I felt compelled to write you. (I am still amazed that you find that position comfortable, by the way).
Even though you still shit yourself regularly, you are a sharp little lady. You will probably be able to read this yourself soon and the temporary phase of your attachment to me will inevitably transition to decades of resentment and finding me extremely annoying. It’s okay, your mommy finds me extremely annoying too, and she hasn’t dropped me yet.
I feel compelled to write to you because I have watched you grow from a beautiful little blob that could do nothing more than eat, sleep and wallow in its own fecal matter to an amazing little person. As you are starting to understand, your big brother Kohl has some unique challenges. He hurt his brain when he was born, so he has a number of limitations that you and I don’t have. He is my special little man, and you are my special little lady.
I don’t want you to forget that. What happened to Kohl at birth was not even the slightest bit fair. It is obviously not fair to him, it’s not fair to your mommy and me, and guess what – it’s not fair to you either.
When most families are going to Disney World or the beach, you have to come with us to some random location so Kohl can get the therapy he needs. You were born to two overwhelmed parents who love you and your brother more than anything but suffer constantly from varying levels of stress and mental exhaustion. We haven’t taken you on an actual vacation since you were born, really. There will probably come a time, much earlier than it should, in which you will have to explain to your friends and acquaintances “what is wrong” with your big brother.
These things suck, and they eat away at me. Because it is just not fair to you. I know you didn’t ask for it, but like it or not, you’re on the boat with us. You’re on this crazy, stressful, overwhelming boat, and because of my panoply of imperfections, it is going to be hard on you. But my hope is that you also understand how magical this ride can be too. Yes ma’am, there are some unique advantages to being in this crazy ass family.
You will learn empathy. You will not be as shamefully self-absorbed as I was growing up. You will understand suffering, something I don’t think I really had a grasp of until Kohl was born. You will learn to appreciate the small things and learn to see the tiny little miracles that occur every day that most of us don’t even notice.
You already exude so many of these qualities. Even though I run my mouth about you being an asshole sometimes, you are only two years old, and all of y’all kind of act like dicks sometimes. The truth is you are not an asshole at all. You are one of the most beautiful creatures, both inside and out, I have ever laid my eyes on.
Your intelligence is unquestionable. Where you have learned some of the words and phrases that come out of your little mouth will continue to be a mystery to me. You know your letters, your numbers, your colors and all that other shit people your age are supposed to know and then some. You called our mini van the “wag of swag.” You admonished me the other day to slow down when I was driving that minivan, and you were right.
Perhaps most importantly, you are a kind soul. The “resting bitch face” expression you insist on having for every school picture belies your true nature. You gave Lizzie the stuffed monkey a blanket the other day because you didn’t want her to be cold. You insisted on bringing the stuffed dolphin into Nana and Pop’s house last week because you didn’t want to leave him in the hot car. The other night was a rare occasion in which Kohl went to bed before you, and when you finally agreed to retire for the evening, you insisted on still telling Kohl good night. You walked in his room, gave him a hug and a kiss, and then you turned to your mommy, beaming with pride, and said “that’s my brother.”
Ah yes, you have learned many of the most important lessons already, my little lady, and I am not eloquent enough to convey in words how proud I already am of you and how deeply I love you.
Your embarrassing dad