About a Boy

My son turns nine today. Originally, I wanted to write a post that gave a snapshot of him now: His favorite activities, foods, interests, dreams, friends, etc. However, while cleaning up our bedroom yesterday, I came across a journal I started approximately ten years ago. The journal is filled with entries from my perspective as a yet-to-be first time father to my yet-to-be born first child.

Obviously, when I found the journal and skimmed through it, my original plan for this post changed. I’ve decided to share the contents of the journal with you all. In a way, I’ll be reading these right along with you; this will be the first time I’ve looked at this journal in probably three or four years. Any present day musings that come to mind are italicized for easier differentiation between past and present thoughts:

11/20/07
You don’t know me yet, but you will soon enough. I’m Keith and I’m your dad. Your mom Amber and I are so excited to meet you. Only 14 weeks or so to go! You may be wondering why I’m writing a journal to you. I guess it’s a way for you to learn more about me and it gives me an outlet to express my thoughts and feelings with you before you’re actually here. I want to give you a little insight into how our lives are going and what we are doing to get ready for your arrival. Some of these entries will be funny, while others might be serious. That’s kinda how life is; it has it’s ups and downs at times. I’m going to do my best and be consistent and write in here every day (I had the best intentions saying this..) If anything, maybe one day it will inspire you to keep a journal of your thoughts, dreams, and daily activities. Well buddy, it’s about 9:45pm and your dad has to get up early tomorrow for work. One more 10 hour day and then a nice 4 day break for Thanksgiving. I love you very much and can’t wait to see you!

Love,
Dad

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11/21/07
Well, today was an interesting day. The forecast called for light flurries, the first official snow of the season. Imagine my surprise to get to work, take a break after 30 minutes or so and see a ton of snow swirling outside. It was crazy Luke; The wind was howling, snow was drifting throughout the parking lot, making it look like a giant, dirty box of fine sand. Just to let you know, I’m not a big fan of snow. It’s pretty to look at, great to play it, but horrible to drive in. You’ll understand when you’re old enough to drive. Remind me to have your mom teach you winter driving techniques when you get to be 15 or 16 years old (you’ll know what I’m talking about when the time comes.) (I said this ten years ago and stand by it to this day.)
Anyway, today is the day before Thanksgiving, always a hard day to get through. Everyone leaves early to travel for the holiday and there generally isn’t a whole lot of work to be done. I spent most of my day testing websites and talking to your mom online. She was having a stressful day at work, but your Aunt Andrea wrote her a really nice note that made her happy. Never miss an opportunity to brighten someone’s day. Whether it’s a hug, or a heartfelt note, or just listening to someone with your full attention, always do good. Treat people how you want to be treated. Doing so will deepen your relationship with others, with God, and people will respect and trust you as a genuine and loving person.
I need to go help your mom make candied yams and green bean casserole for tomorrow. I love you!

Love,
Dad

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11/30/07
Hey Luke! Sorry I haven’t written in here in about a week and a half. It’s been a pretty crazy week too: Your mom, Aunt Ali, and me work up at 4:30 in the morning last Friday to go shopping for Christmas gifts. We went everywhere in like five hours, took a few hours off to relax and watch the Nebraska/Colorado game (we lost), and then went back out shopping. (Nebraska lost this game 65-51. It would mark Bill Callahan’s final game as head coach at NU, as Tom Osborne fired him the day after the game and eventually named Bo Pelini as head coach.) We didn’t get home until 10:45pm! It is nice having all of our Christmas shopping done. If I remember correctly, I think you got a few things in there…
Today your mom and I went in for a regular check-up, and we found out that her gallbladder was inflamed.We had to meet with a few doctors and they ran a couple of tests, including an ultrasound. It was so cool to see you again. You were face down and throwing jabs and uppercuts at your mom’s spleen. She thought it was really cool to see you move on the screen and feel you at the same time. I know I’m going to say this plenty of times in here, but we can’t wait to meet you. You’ve grown so much since your mom’s last ultrasound four weeks ago. You have these huge feet (Cheryl, the ultrasound tech, called you “Bigfoot.”)
I’m going to go take care of your mom now. You keep growing and know that we love you very much!

Love,
Dad

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12/4/07
Well buddy, not much has been going on here lately. This week has been pretty hectic at work. We’re trying to finish a big project here by Thursday (the 6th), so I’ve been busy. Mom is feeling a little under the weather, so she is taking it easy at home. I’ve been coming home around 5:45pm and pick up the house, load/unload the dishwasher, make dinner, etc. Anything to make her life easier. I’m going to be out of town in Washington DC next week, so it’s going to be your job to keep her company while I’m gone. You’re like the little man of the house. Make her smile, put her to sleep at night, and show her all the love I can’t while I’m away.
I have to get back to work now, but I’ll talk to you soon.

Love,
Dad

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12/10/07
Hello from 37,000 feet! I’m currently flying on an airplane from Chicago to Washington DC for training at Marriott’s corporate headquarters. I hate to leave you and your mom behind, but the managers out at corporate wanted to get us out to learn some new stuff and meet some important people. So I’ll be gone today through Friday. I miss you and your mom so much. I cried when I left the house this morning (no matter what anyone tells you, it is ok as a man to cry…in fact, it’s good at times.) (This trip marked my first time traveling on business. I remember having a panic attack before I left thinking something terrible was going to happen to either me or Amber while I was away, hence the strong emotional reaction.) Anyway, I need to try and sleep a little bit; I was up at 5:30 this morning with mom getting ready and having breakfast. I love you and mom very, very much and can’t wait to see you in four days!

Love,
Dad

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12/18/07
Hey Luke! Things were really good out in DC. It was nice to meet everyone and get the training that we need to get our jobs done correctly. I really missed you and mom while I was out there. I was so glad to get home and see you guys. You’re growing so big! Your mom’s stomach is so round and cute. Last night I put my head on her stomach and could feel you kicking my face. We were joking how you’re trying to beat up your dad before we even meet you! (My son loves to wrestle and roughhouse. He always, I mean ALWAYS, needs to get the last hit in. Nothing elicits more pride…and blind rage then getting sucker punched one last time after you say, “okay, we’re done.”) It’ll be so much fun when you are here and we can wrestle and play tackle football in the backyard. I can’t wait to meet you Luke. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, bouncing around the tree just going crazy with anticipation. At the same time, I want you to grow up healthy and strong, so I want you to stay in your mom’s stomach until you are ready to come out and meet us. So you take all the time you need, but know we are going crazy in the meantime!
I just looked at the clock in the break room and I need to get back to work now.

Love you buddy!
Dad

***********************************************************************1/3/08
Well Luke, 2007 is gone and 2008 is here! I thought I would take a few minutes to share my New Year’s resolutions with you. I’ve never been much of a huge list person, but I’ve noticed that if I write stuff down, it’s easier for me to track my progress on the things I want to accomplish. So anyway, here they are, in no order of importance:

  • To not faint at your birth 🙂
  • Decide whether or not I’m going back to school or finish my ministry classes
  • Lost 20 pounds
  • Read at least six books this year
  • Write more, watch TV less
  • Be the best possible dad I can be
  • Ask questions, listen more, talk less
  • Vote in the ’08 election
  • Keep learning new things about your mom that make me love her mom and more each day
  • Never stop asking questions
  • Pray more
  • Find truth and beauty in all things

Maybe next year we can compare lists!

Love,
Dad

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1/7/08
Only about 8 more weeks until we get to finally hold you in our arms, and it couldn’t come a moment too soon. Mom has been pretty achy and doesn’t have the energy she did a few months ago. That’s ok though, because I try and step up and help out more around the house. I usually load/unload the dishwasher, do laundry, and pick up the house.That way, when mom gets off work, she can kick up her feet and relax. Sometimes when she’s lying down watching TV, she’ll put the remote on her stomach and we both laugh when you knock it off. You’re out strong little man! (although you can be a little too strong whne you beat up mommy’s bladder.)

I love you very much Luke!

Love,
Dad

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1/17/08
Luke-
Things have been so busy lately! I’ve been working a lot of overtime and your mom and I have been spending a lot of our free time getting ready for you. We’ve rearranged the house, cleaned your room, gone shopping …you name it, we’ve done it!
Tomorrow we go in for another check-up with the doctor. We are going to ask her if we can induce mom early. The pregnancy has been taking quite the toll physically on mom and with both of our jobs, it would be easier if we could have you early. I’ll let you know tomorrow what she says!

Love,
Dad

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1/21/08
Luke-
You sure know how to scare the heck out of your parents, and you’re not even here yet! For the most of the day yesterday, your mom just slept because she was really tired. Well, in the evening, while we were watching some TV, she tells me she can’t feel you moving. So she tries poking you and putting herself into a number of different positions to try and get you to move, with no luck. She even tried drinking apple juice (your favorite drink right now) and you still weren’t kicking around. So we called the nurse’s hotline and Dr. Cozad advised us to head up to the ER. As your mom drove, I put my hand over you and prayed that nothing was wrong. We got to the ER and they sent us up to the high-risk ward on the 9th floor. Once we got into our room, your mom changed into a hospital gown and they hooked her up to a fetal heart monitor. The nurse took awhile to detect either movement or your heartbeat. I guess me saying “awhile” is misleading, since it was about 30 seconds before we heard your heart beating, but it seemed like an eternity. But then your heart started beating through the monitor, faint like a whisper at first and increasing until the sound filled the room.
After about 45 minutes or so, the nurse said the print-out of your heart beat looked great and cleared us to go home.
Just promise me you won’t do that again, ok? 🙂

Love,
-Dad

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2/6/08
Wow Luke, it’s seems like forever since I last wrote in here! I need to take this journal out of my backpack more often. Like the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind,” I guess. Well, we went to the doctor last Friday and mom is 1 cm and 70% effaced. The chances of you coming before March 3rd are pretty high. The doctor said at this point, all we’re doing is just waiting on you…so hurry up!
Saturday we had a baby shower. Let me tell you son, you are one lucky and very loved kid. You got a ton of really cool toys, clothes, stuffed animals, you name it, and you probably got it.
I can’t wait to see you, little man. Keep on cookin’ and we’ll see you soon.

Love,
-Dad

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2/6 would be the last entry I wrote and Luke arrived 11 days later. Rereading these entries is definitely a trip down memory lane: A mixture of happiness, wistfulness, and the feeling you get when you recall a time that you haven’t thought about in quite a while. It’s still hard to believe he’s nine years old today…it feels like yesterday we were loading him up in his car seat and leaving the hospital as first-time parents. So much has changed in the past nine years since I wrote these entries, some good, some not so good. Through it all, I’ve enjoyed and cherished the opportunity to watch Luke grow into the young man he is today. It’s humbling to think that God blessed me with the honor to be his father. Here’s to another nine years and beyond.

I love you buddy!

Love,
Dad

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