This Year’s Introspection Perception Reflection

Dear, Daschel,

I love this time of year, I love winter and snow and all the festive spirit floating around. But not as much as I love you, of course.

There are some emotions only parents have access to. For example, listening to you discovering your own identity, expressing your own point-of-view, these things are difficult to describe, the way they make a fella feel. 

You’re 5 already. Listening to you expressing yourself, your own thoughts and ideas, to me and especially to others, trying things on, asking so many good questions – there is nothing else like it, to watch you emerge into your skin. Thank you for being my son. I am so proud of you.

This year, again, I watched and listened to you talk face-to-face with Stephen (“Stevie” or “Mr. Steve”), now 21, who returned to spend Thanksgiving with us away from his busy life at Washington University in St. Louis. You love him so much and he sure loves you like his own, little brother.

I am so grateful he makes time for us and shares his presence with you, with us, and for being to able to continue watching him grow from a small, quiet, unassertive child into a tall, confident, though gentle, intellectual giant (and an amazing athlete), who asks smart questions about the world around him, forms his own opinions and makes genuine contributions that are good and in earnest. Listening to the two of you talk about dinosaurs, robots and ice cream makes me feel like I now know a definition of success. What an amazing gift – time delayed by many years. He shares many of your qualities and seeing the two of you mix it up is the best gift of all. Music to my ears. Thanks to him for coming and continuing to be a part of our family. We are so proud of him, too.

Our home and family continues to become a haven for all of us. The construction of your new room is exciting and nearing completion! You will have a new space to make into your lab and secret base to test all of your machines and inventions, swing in your nest, relax on foof, sleep in the loft bed and so much more. I imagine we will all be spending a lot of time up there, helping to cristen the new space with you!

Our little family had quite an amazing year, so much to celebrate and be grateful for! So many new and fun things planned for the year ahead! Thanks, in advance, for the best of times yet to come. We are growing together and learning from and more about each other every day. Thank you for all you do that adds so much to all of our lives. Marielle, Lucienne, Thibault, Pascal, Meta and me: we all love you so much more than I can write.

My work continues to evolve, too. I am grateful for my gifts, the least of which is certainly not an ability to continually learn new things. That I am able to find other smart and talented people who value my contributions is another reason to be grateful. I can already see it in you, too, which makes me glow from the inside out. You, too, are as engaging as can be. I watch you make friends wherever you go, with anyone within earshot, and brighten days with each step.

I have said it before but I have no doubt you will find purpose and meaning in your life’s work and a team who appreciates, challenges and nurtures you to grow to be your very best self. Be patient if it doesn’t happen right away because it often takes time. I am a late bloomer, for one, and have always known this, which is why I had to be a little extra patient at times. Being able to bring value to something larger than ourselves may be the most important subtext in each our own pursuit of success because it feels great to be given respect and latitude in equal and direct proportion to our contributions in helping move the collective forward.

All these words to say that my heart is full, again, this year. We have overcome many challenges by always focusing on what is most important. So, a quiet and humble thank you for so many things. For embodying the fun and open spirit I am so grateful you have. For being an inspiration during good and not-as-good times. I am grateful for you, Dashy, each and every day. Thank you for being an inspiration to me as we continue building our life together. No small thing.

Merry Christmas, my sweet pal,