I hope you are reading this Aiden when you are leaving my house to go off to college, or during some time when you are leaving me and your mommy to go elsewhere- when you are almost all grown up.
I remember the first time I met you. You were with your mommy at church and you were shy. Almost too shy. You were hanging on your mommy and hangin on your Mimgi. It was just church but you were just had my attention. And the way you played with her and your Mimgi was just special. But it was your smile that caught me. And it was the way you smiled and said hi- I remembered it and it brought me no small joy. So I kept it in the back of my mind as I saw you more.
I remember that first conversation where it happened. Where you and I hit it off. You came to Mrs. Sara’s class and you had a Houston Astros shirt on. One with the baseball in a cheesy 3D coming out of the shirt kind of thing. You were shy and quiet, like I am sure you are now and will always be. But I had been watching you, thinking about you and your mommy. You had caught my eye as the kid I wanted to know. I had had these feelings before when i was at camp with young kids, but with you, oh, with you the feeling was so tangible. I wanted to be the guy you trusted, you wanted around, the guy you needed…the guy you loved. So though you had been quiet in class, I tried to tell you how awesome the Astros are, and well, I’m sure I made it up just so I could do something to show you could talk with me. And it worked. You talked about the Astros, you talked about baseball, you talked about playing tball and you talked about the toys you had at home. And you smiled. That was it. I was had from that point on, until now when you have grown up, and until the last day that I ever will see you. You smiled. And you welcomed me. Nothing’s really been the same since.
I love your mommy, I love, love, love your mommy. I am better, I am a more honest, true, loyal, understanding, loving and faithful person because of her. And your presence showed me just how much better I would be with her. It was your smile because of your mommy that touched me. It was your unbounded desire to care for her that changed me. It was your honesty about your life and your mommy, even as a 4yo kid, that made me want to become part of her life, and yours. Nothing’s ever really been the same since.
You have made my life. I couldn’t have ended up any luckier to have you and your mommy, and I am grateful that you let me have her too. Because you were so welcoming, we became possible, we became a couple, we became married and we loved each other. But truth be told, I don’t feel like you and your mommy were luck. From the tips of my toes to the top of my head and beyond even those words, I wanted you and your mommy. I wanted you. I wanted you for who you are. I could have tried other “step-sons” but you were the one I wanted. In you I saw something that I wanted deeply and felt called to- the love of a son who is cute, who is caring, who is kind, whose smile is infectious and whose life is so precious. I wanted you. As you read this, I hope you can look back at the many years and see that I wanted you, and wanted you to know how much I wanted you. When I saw you that first night, you as the Aiden you were and have been in the years since, that is the son whose love I treasured and wanted more than almost anything,except your mother’s love of course. You made my life because of that.
And since that first moment, my love for you has only grown. I know we had our rough patches, as me and your mommy and daddy learned hard lessons. I know we had rough patches where my house wasn’t quite yours, where my stuff was still not quite yours, where I was not your father and you were not quite my son. But I have always and will always strive to see you as the fulfillment of the greatest purpose my life has ever had- to be a father and a husband. I have tried to imitate Jesus in all I have done with you. I have tried, sometimes even succeeded through God and your mommy’s help, to sacrifice my life for you. In fact, my heart desired nothing more than your happiness the first years I really knew you. Hopefully that has never changed. I remember I took deep swallows and prayed for your daddy. I remember how I helped you tie your shoes when we were in a hurry. I remember when I painted your first room in my house with splashes of firecracker red, new green and a deep blue, and you had paint all over you and you had thick coats of lathered paint on the walls in completely strange ways and I kept encouraging you to paint even though it was so much extra work. I remember going to pools with you, visiting the park with footballs and bikes, and when I carried you and your bike on my bike when the park just seemed too far from us. I remember praying every night in thanksgiving because of you and your mommy, because I loved you so much. I even remember the first time I said I love you to me and when you said I love you to me. And then hugged me. It brings tears to my eyes right now just saying it. I remember those days when you were so little and your life was all I cared about. Nothing has changed. You may be grown up, but I never stopped loving you and who you are.
You are an amazing kid, and you will make an amazing grown up. There is at times a fearlessness about you that cannot be overlooked. Your gentility and desire to play, well, those will be the keys to your life. But you are an amazing kid, and will be an amazing grown up, because you love God. No matter what life has thrown at you, no matter how you grow and change- I want you to know that I only wanted one thing for you in your life- that you would know that God loves you so very much. I hope that everything I have done, everything I will ever do for you, and everything I ever do for your mommy, that it will point to the truth that God loves and that you will become a child of God, a faithful man of God, and surrounded by that love of God. I love you so much, and I hope that you will always know, whether now or years in the future, that his love, will always be with you. That love is the true reason why I found you, why your mommy found me, and why you found me.
Last, I hope that in all I am to you, that you will never feel like my stepson. I hope that you will look back on my time with you and see that I gave you everything as though you were my son. I hope, I pray, I want you to be mine, and nothing else. I pray that you will look back and know that you have been treated like my son, like my own blood and flesh. I look forward to the times that I get to hike with you, camp with you, attend sports practices with you. I look forward to the moment you come and ask me for advice, or when you tell me you failed or messed up. I look forward to those moments because I will get to show you the beauty of God, to show you God’s grace, or to show you the joy of life…as my son, whom I would give anything and everything for. Aiden, you are my son, and I will always long to be a father to you. From the moment I started dating your mommy, I only saw you as my son, and my son you will ever be. Aiden, you are my son, and I love you more than words can express. Life with you will be blessed. The joy has only begun.