Monday, October 24, 2016

dear carson, love dad

as you all know i’ve been blogging about carson’s life since the day he was born.  for his first birthday i asked cody if he’d be willing to write something, a letter to carson.  without hesitation he did and i melted into a puddle.

Carson Taylor Sobotka.  I remember the first time I said those words together.  Your mom and I were on the boat in the middle of summer.  She was stunning of course, sun kissed skin, relaxed, and glowing with happiness.  As so many memories with her are, it was perfect.  It was at that moment that we really started to wonder just how our lives might change once you arrived.  We knew there would be new challenges, new joys, and new emotions, but couldn’t predict the magnitude of each or how we would react.

We did what we could to prepare, but in hindsight we really had no idea what we were getting into.  You decided to come six weeks early, which was certainly a surprise.  Things at the hospital happened quickly.  I didn’t know what to do other than support your mother, so that is what I did.  She took care of the rest.

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The moment that I saw you, my life changed.  As you will come to know, I am not terribly expressive with my emotions.  However, in that moment I was so overwhelmed with joy that I cried.  Your mom can be brought to tears by a new pair of shoes with the right thought behind them, but let me assure you this reaction is representative of a powerful experience for me.  Instantly I felt a sense of pride and a sense of responsibility I had never felt before.

We spent the first few weeks in the hospital together.  It was rough, but we were all together and made it through.  Your development impressed the doctors as it has to this day.  Once you were eating well enough, they let us go home and another transition began.

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You met Allie (our dog) for the first time.  We were not sure how Allie would react.  She was somewhat skeptical, but loved you.  We have noticed both expressions hold true to this day.  I have a feeling that when you stop pulling her hair and chasing her with a screeching voice, her skepticism will fade and love will grow.  You will likely be the best of friends.

We worked to get you, and ourselves into a routine. We had moderate success.  I want to make it clear that it was not all fun and games bringing you into this world.  The lack of sleep and overall change to our sleep pattern was the biggest challenge for me (amongst others).  It also took us awhile to discover you suffered from acid reflux which made for some testy nights. 

Our friends and parenting mentors encouraged us to be patient and that things would improve after the first few months.  Others assured us that this was only the first of many sleepless and stressful nights you would cause us.  Both have been right thus far to some degree.  Your mom may disagree, but we tried to split the duties as best we could to help make it through.

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One of the duties your mom tasked me with is putting you to bed.  Before having you for some reason I never pictured that as my responsibility.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just hadn’t considered it.  After little discussion I thought it was least I could do and gave it a try.  After a few nights this became one of my favorite times.  You went through phases where you would go down easily and others not so much.  In any case, you would eventually give it up and I would have a private, peaceful time to bond with you.

Sometimes I would read stories to you, other times I would just hold you and enjoy the moment, knowing you would not be that little for long.  I would wonder what life would bring you.  I would think about all the things I wanted to teach you and prepare you for.  My head still spins about the best way to teach you an appreciation for life, the importance of respecting others and your country, remaining loyal to your friends and family, and to develop a passion and work ethic to pursue something you love.  I guess we will figure it out (sorry if we don’t).

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Aside from bed time, play time has been my other favorite time with you.  It starting with tummy time and the goal of being able to lift your own head.  I would encourage you and celebrate with your success.  The same was true with each milestone you would pass.  Rolling over, back to front and front to back.  Then grabbing objects, sitting up, jumping in your bouncer, discovering your toes, moving objects from one hand to the other, crawling, exploring your voice, getting a tooth, eating baby food and real food, standing up, walking behind your walker, and now standing for a few seconds unassisted and climbing stairs.

I have really enjoyed these last few months as your personality has grown and you have begun to react to things more and more like the unique person you are.  You smile so big when you see us, you laugh at our funny faces and noises.  You have made friends at daycare, which makes me happy, and your teachers are always commenting on how happy you are.  I’m sure you will go through phases with time where all of this will not be the case, but for now (at least during the day) you light up our world.

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Speaking of the future, I’m not sure what kind of dad I will be or will seem to be when you are old enough to read this.  I am prepared to be tough if I need to be, and if our family grows much more I may not have the time or energy to do as good of job as I want to.  Whatever the case may be, please know that we have done and will always do our best for you.  Others may do better, but give us a break, we’re not perfect.  What is perfect is our love for you, and the unique sequence of events that brought you into our lives.

Congratulations on turning one Carson Taylor Sobotka!  We love you!

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