Dear 2 year-old Jack,
Today was one of my proudest moments as a father. Today you swam. By yourself. Okay, you had the help of a “Jack Sandwich” also known as small floating pads, which just barely could keep your head above water if you weren’t moving. But you moved yourself in the water without any help. It was amazing. Realizing that you could go anywhere, of course you started chasing a ball down. Once you got said ball, you threw it as far as you could and then you went after it again. And again. And again. All by yourself. When your teacher told you to climb out of the water. You did so. And then jumped back in and swam to me. I am still smiling now.
I’m not sure why, but it feels like we worked harder for this than we did for walking. Week after week of swimming lessons, first at Atlantis in Burnsville and now at the YMCA Blaisdell in Minneapolis, you have been a trooper. As an 8 month old or a 16 month old it was just exciting to see you like the water, blow bubbles, and kick, but over the last few weeks, it has been exciting to see you push your limits. You go underwater and come up with a big smile. You throw a duck as far as you can. Then you “kick and scoop”, grab it, and then you try to throw it farther. Every now and then you turn to me with a “whoa” face and we share a moment where we both realize “this is awesome!!!” and then we go back to doing something cool.
Two nights ago, I was also quite proud. You wandered on to the porch while I was taking out the garbage and found your Mega Blocks. Similar to Duplos or big Legos, these are slightly easier for you to manipulate so we took the Duplos out of the bin and replaced them with the Mega Blocks. We then put the Duplos in the bag and left them on the porch for
rediscovery months down the road. Immediately, you started to build. Sticking two blocks together and then looking for another to add to your structure. You looked at me and said “castle” and I was transported back 25 years to my parents house where I would do this with Papa. So we built a castle. You put all your “guys” inside. It was pretty cool. For about 5 seconds. Then one of your “guys” bumped off a piece. You decided to tear the whole thing down. This time you said “tunnel” and so we built a new castle with a tunnel. The tunnel was big enough for the guys, but when the dump truck tried to go through it knocked down the wall. So this time you said “Tunnel. Castle. Bigger.” and so we did it again bigger. You learned the word “stable” pretty quickly. As you would put a piece on and then ask either to me or yourself, “stable?”
Watching you build, I realized how much of the image of God you have. Creating. Destroying. Building again. The gears in your mind are turning as you learn, explore, and stumble only to get up. You are still our little guy. But you are a little less little. Perhaps “bigger” like your castle.
You do a whole lot more than swim and build. You throw, you play the “tar”, you dance, you giggle, you tickle, you wrestle, you run. You run faster. You talk. You smile. You frustrate. You hit. You dump. You break. You hug. You brother. You love. You are my son and I love you.