My son. This is a hard letter to write. Not because anything is wrong, but because I love you so much. I have spent the last eight weeks at home with you and I am feeling so sad about having to go back to work and leave you. These weeks have flown by and been so incredibly special. This time with you has been better than I ever could have imagined.
I have watched you grow up before my very eyes. When I started home with you, you still weren’t very alert. You were only 12 weeks old and couldn’t do a whole lot. We struggled for the first few days, trying to get into a rhythm and understand each other. I literally took notes in my phone minute by minute of what occurred each day for the first week so I could look for patterns. There were a lot of time slots labeled as “extreme crying.”
But by the end of the first week, we knew each other well. You were taking bottles like a champ. You had your nap schedule, we had our games. These things continued to evolve over the last eight weeks. Now we have inside jokes, we laugh at each other and we have so much fun. I had no idea how funny a little baby could be!
You’ve grown so much during this time. Physically, you’re huge, ranking in the 96th percentile for head, and around 70th percentile for weight and height. But you’ve developed even more than that. You have such a personality! You are now reaching for toys, kicking things, beginning to roll over, standing in your play center, sitting up in your chair, talking all the time, tracking things with your eyes, facing forward in the stroller and so much more. In these eight weeks, I’ve been so privileged to watch you grow from a baby to a little boy. I don’t know what I would have done without this time with you.
See, I’m lucky I even had this time with you. Most men do not get this time off with their child. Why? Because there are many, many things our country is behind on when it comes to options when you have a child. Having a child is extremely expensive and, unlike many other first-world countries, there is no paid parental leave guaranteed here. Some companies give mothers three months paid, some allow them the “privilege” to use their vacation time, and some give nothing. They are only guaranteed they can have their job back, but there is no guarantee on pay.
For fathers, there is very little affording them the opportunity to be with their child. I’m lucky that I’ve been working at my place of employment for over nine years and have accumulated hundreds of hours of sick time that I’m able to take to be with you. It’s also deemed as strange still in this day and age for a father to take more than a couple of weeks off after the birth of a child. I think this is terrible. I got so many shocked looks at my office when I said I was cutting off for eight weeks. I truly hope by the time that you are a father, this is not an issue anymore. Or that you are living in Sweden at the time.
But I digress.
I’m so lucky to be your father, Lukey Dukey. You have become so attached to me during this time. I worry what will happen when we are not together all day long every day. I hope that you don’t lose this bond with me, as I promise you I will not lose it with you. I absolutely adore you more than I ever realized I could. I was always excited to have a child, but when you were born, I was initially seeing all the things I couldn’t do anymore. But after this time with you, I now know that I don’t care about doing those things anymore. You are the one I want to spend my free time with. I want to watch you smile, watch you grow, watch you sleep. I can’t wait to watch you crawl, and eat, and walk.
So this is my final day of paternity leave, but still one of the first days of my being a father to you in your life. I’m leaving you in good hands and I will be there for you every day. I can’t wait to be there for you during all of your firsts and whenever you need me for your whole life. I can’t wait to see the man you will become. I know you will do amazing things.
I Love You.
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