First Grade, Here We Come

2016-07-04_01.05.23 (1)Dear Jake,

You are about to be a first grader, and I am so proud of you and how far you have come. You are one of the brightest people I know and in my opinion you’re a prodigy. You are sweet, affectionate, loving, mind-bogglingly handsome and so darned smart I am having a hard time putting it to words.

You are the most important thing in my life. I love getting up in the morning to wake you. I love taking you to school and picking you up. And while I’ve struggled at times with my emotions and patience, I have loved every moment I’ve been lucky enough to spend with you.

I will always remember the times we spent together alone at home playing with toys and watching your crazy cartoons and the times we ate at restaurants and Starbucks. To be honest, taking you places to hang out together was a selfish act on my part. I love you so much, I just wanted to show you off to everyone and say, “this is my boy.”

I have always been amazed at your intellect. You learn so quickly that I often struggle to comprehend it. Yet, I am no longer amazed by your kindness, your mathematical skills or your ability to read from such an early age. One of your teachers has told me several times that you are a “mensch”. Sometimes I lack confidence in myself but then I am sure that I’ve done something right because of the boy you are and the person you are becoming. I’m so proud of that.

I just take it for granted now. Just the other day one of your camp bus counselors asked me “are you aware that your son Jake knows the directions the bus driver takes to camp and back every day?” I simply said to him “Yeah, so?” Your mother and I laughed about that and we call you the human GPS.

You are so much different from me in many ways. Yet just like me, you want people to like you and sometimes have a hard time showing it. That’s a good trait to have because a kind heart never goes out of style.

Your joy for life and sense of humor brings me to the brink of laughing myself to death. Sometimes I can’t control my urge to tickle you because of the sweet giggling fits it produces. Sometimes I enjoy making you laugh too much though when I hear you using some of the colorful words and inappropriate jokes I tell you. You soak it up like a sponge and laugh and laugh and laugh despite the fact that you have no idea what they mean. I guess I’m lucky for that too.

It’s also difficult for me sometimes to accept how much you truly love me. Yet I’m so grateful that you do. I am not the perfect father and I sometimes wear my personal insecurities on my sleeve. But you are always there to stick your face in mine and smile and cheer me up. Not a lot of men are fortunate enough to have a child who displays such unconditional love for them as you do for me. You are truly an amazing boy to have had such a profound impact on everyone you have met in such a short time.  I can’t wait to see wonderful things you have in store for us in your still young life.

So, now you are about to start first grade and I’m excited for you. I remember when I started first grade, Pop Pop Dov called me from work to wish me luck and to tell me how proud he was of me. I’ve never forgotten that and I want you to never forget that I am so proud of you and how much I love you too.

As you said at your kindergarten graduation “’N’ is for next year. First grade here we come.” All I can think is next year is almost here and first grade, here comes my boy, Jake.