Happy 6th Birthday, Oliver: Love, Daddy

August 2
Tabuaço, Portugal

Oliver, I still remember the day that Mommy called to tell me the good news that you were growing inside of her. There is no question that from that very first call, you changed everything in my life for the better.

I am quite certain that you helped to save me, as you gave me a reason to stay sober nearly seven years ago. There were times that I barely held on, but you were, without question, my saving grace.

While I strive to live a more spiritual and balanced life, the reality is that you are, by far, a better person than I will ever hope to be. Your heart and your spirit come from Mommy and all that is good in her shines daily in you. Thank you for being an amazing little boy and for filling my life with unimaginable love and happiness.

From the first phone call from Mommy, to the kicks and everything in between, the day you were born was truly a gift from God. I still remember tummy time when you were a little boy and laying you on the boppy next to me when I had to get on a conference call or actually get some ‘real’ work done. I also recall tucking you in on the 17-hour flight to Japan to start our first grand adventure roughly four years ago (when we traveled back then you were free and could fit almost anywhere).

We have now traveled for approximately three of your six years and I wanted to thank you, as it has been a great honor and privilege to be able to see many of the glorious wonders of the world through your eyes. Your innocence and loving spirit have helped me see things that I was all too blind to before. Hopefully, someday, you will be as lucky as me and will be able to travel all over the world with your little boy by your side.

We left ‘the world as we knew it’ when you had just turned two and I spent 13 months with just you and Mommy traveling through SE Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. This time we shared together are some of my fondest memories and the most cherished moments of my life.

I stood in silent awe as I watched 100 hundred little Chinese boys and girls form a circle around you in Tiananmen Square. With all of the gigging and smiling faces, you and another adorable little girl, both holding the PRC flag in your hands, were chasing each other with reckless abandon. It was a moment that touched me and it is when I knew, undeniably, that traveling together as a family was the right thing to do.

We snorkeled the Great Barrier reef with you in a tiny ‘stinger suit’; we rode camels in India, elephants in Nepal, and petted tigers in Thailand with you on our laps; we walked through the streets of Luang Nam Tha, Laos when you met your first true love, Garuda; we watched you sleep under huge mosquito nets in Cambodia and play with kids in an orphanage in Phnom Penh; we rode mopeds all over SE Asia with you asleep, tucked between Mommy and me, with a helmet that was twice your size; we bicycled with you in a basket, on my back and every which way possible; we canoed through Halong Bay, Vietnam and went swimming in Koh Rok, Thailand; we hiked in the mountains of Nepal with you on my back; we saw crystal blue waters in Esperance, Australia and we watched in horror as you tried to feed the dingoes in remote Western Australia (and we almost hit a couple of kangaroos along the way as well); we had Christmas in Fort Cochin, India and Vienna, Austria; we have been in bounce houses all over the world and water parks wherever we could find them; I fell on my face with you on my back in Tiger Leaping Gorge, China; we circumnavigated New Zealand with you in the back of a motor home with a giant bucket of toys by your side; we learned of the atrocities of Hiroshima, Nuremberg, the Vietnam War and the concentration camps in Trieste, Italy and we marveled at the heroism at Normandy; we watched you collect 15 Junior Ranger badges during our three-month trip through the US West Coast National Parks; and the list could go on and go.

Everything we have seen and experienced would not have been nearly as meaningful or as much fun without you there to share it with us.

Thank you for giving me a reason to stop working my life away and for showing me that no amount of money is worth the time that I get to spend with you.

Thank you for always kissing me on the lips and giving me big hugs and being the most affectionate and caring little boy that I know.

Thank you for ‘never listening’ to me and turning around to tell me: “Daddy, I do not know why I am so crazy; I just can’t help myself.”

Thank you for being such a loving little boy that when we pray at night and I get tears in my eyes after telling you how much I love you and how thankful I am for you, you always grab my cheeks and say: “Daddy, you don’t need to cry. I love you more than anything. You are the best Daddy in the world.”

Thank you for your faith and for always lighting a candle for those people in our lives who are suffering.

Thank you for your endless energy and beautiful smile.

Thank you for being such a wonderful BIG brother to Kendley;

Thank you for being YOUl!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote, “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.”

Ollie, each day I spend with you is truly a gift from God, as you have helped to heal my soul, calm my mind and fill my heart with love and gratitude.

While you might not understand or totally grasp everything that is written above, hopefully someday I will get to return the favor and wipe the tears from your eye and hold your cheeks and say:

“Ollie, you don’t need to cry. I love you more than anything. You are the best son any Father could dream of.”

Posted from Tabuaço, Viseu District, Portugal.