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Friday, July 20, 2012

An Open Letter to Our 5-year-old Son

Hey Son,

It’s getting close to July 21, 2012, and 2:23 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Jan. 2007: After years of heartache, meet our Miracle Angel

I’m sitting in an uncomfortable recliner, thinking back five years to when I sat in such a chair while your mother and I waited for you to head down your first slide.

We’d arrived at Wilford Hall at about 5 p.m. that Friday, and after watching seven, eight episodes of Deadliest Catch, our doctor, who wanted to give your Mama the best possible chance of a natural birth, didn’t like how you and the Pitocin interacted.

It was a quiet night, so when Doc made the call to do an emergency C-section, everything changed in a heartbeat.

One minute it’s 2:23 a.m.
The next it was 3:12 a.m.

14 Hours Old.
Tears fell from my eyes as I saw and heard you for the first time. (I held you first only because Mama had surgery… but you were in her arms, all 3lbs, 7oz of you hours later.
FYI, Son, never forget your roots. You're a Texan with a heart the size of the Lone Star State. The world is a better place because of the love you share.

Here are a few things I will never forget:
·         Taking your first steps in San Antonio, throwing your first snowball in Rhode Island and body surfing your first wave in Hawaii

Age One
·         It took two-and-a-half years, but I’ll never forget your first words. Mama and I were so excited. Now, we’re worried you’ll never take a breath!

·         Rocking you to sleep – because I’ll never get the chance to do that again.

·         The first time your little chubby fingers grabbed ahold of my shirt and wouldn’t let go – you may laugh, but once you were a little squirmy, squiggly snake.

·         Feeding mama’s milk and bottles of formula at 5 a.m. because you are a picky eater and won’t eat much. (Sigh, some things don’t change J)

Age Two
·         I’ll never forget the first time you willingly told me that I was your best pal, because I was used to being introduced as “Papa, my friend."

·         Playing hide and seek with you, because one day you might not take my call.

·         The joy on your face when you discovered the freedom of crawling, because now I’m always reminding you to slow down at the playroom.

·         The rush of love when you smile and give me a hug – by the way, there’s no time limit on this one – I still love your hugs J

I also wanted to offer you my five wishes for your fifth Birthday (and beyond):

·         May you remain a child of God, and may you write a letter to your grandkids.

·         Do to others what you would have them do to you.

·         May you always have a love for learning.

·         May your touch be gentle, your words firm and your heart strongest.

·         May you always be your own man – but never one afraid to ask for guidance.
Age Three

When I was younger, Howard Jones was one of my favorite singers – I still have his 1985 Calendar. Howard wrote (and sings) this song, Soon You’ll Go, and I dedicate this song to you now, and in the future.

This second song was originally by Bob Dylan, and below is the Rod Stewart version.
(Yes, I used to have hair like that – and yeah, I do miss holding you , too.)

I wish only the best for you and your brothers, so may you always stay Forever Young.

Age Four

Son, I loved you the first moment I saw you.
I love you now, Buddy, and I’ll love you well past the last time I ever see you.

Love you always,

Papa (and Mama :)

And, finally, a quote.
“…this is the lesson: Never give in. Never give in.
Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.
Never yield to force.
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
- Winston Churchill, Oct. 29, 1941

Happy Fifth Birthday, Son :)


Kyra Lennon said...

Beautiful post. Your son is absolutely gorgeous, and I hope he has a wonderful birthday!

Johanna Garth said...

That was beautiful! Some day he's going to reread this post and know what a lucky kid he is to have such a thoughtful, caring dad.

Happy Birthday to him!!

Lara Schiffbauer said...

So, I didn't listen to the music because I didn't want to cry this morning, and I knew if I listened to the songs, I would! ;) Aren't kids the best thing ever? Have a happy birthday celebration with your boy :)

Elise Fallson said...

What a lucky little boy to have such caring parents. You are awesome papa Koopmans!

Martin Willoughby said...

A stunning, beautiful post. He's a lucky boy to have you as a father.

Wish him a happy birthday from me.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

This is so touching. What a wonderful post. Happy Birthday to your little man!

S.P. Bowers said...

3lbs? That's tiny! Happy birthday to him. That was a beautiful post.

joeh said...

Sorry to have intruded on such a personal letter, but Dude...its on the internet!

I think you're both very lucky and there will be many moments to come.

Mark Koopmans said...

@ everyone :) Thanks, and I appreciate all the comments!

Perhaps one day, when's he's older, No. 1 Son will drop by to comment, too... :)

Unknown said...

Very sweet tribute to your son, Mark. He'll read this someday, I'm sure, and he'll be proud.

By the way, my wife was probably working as a resident at Wilford Hall when your son was born. We moved here in June five years ago when she began her internal medicine residency at WHMC.

Pretty sure they no longer deliver babies (or do much in the way of hospital work) there anymore. It's all over at BAMC now. :)

Miranda Hardy said...

What a sweet letter. Hope he has a great birthday!

Suzanne Furness said...

What a beautiful heartfelt letter, it brought a tear to my eye.Hope he has a very Happy birthday.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is just wonderful, Mark! You are an awesome father.

~Sia McKye~ said...

What a beautiful letter of love, Mark! He will appreciate it as he gets older, then it will embarrass him in his teens (while secretly holding it dear), and it will again be something precious when he looks in the face of his own newborn. He'll understand perfectly the rush of love, the tears, and the laughter.

Oh, and enjoy the time of being called papa. My son called his dad that until he was about 9. He calls him pop or dad now.


Elizabeth Seckman said...

That is so sweet and such a keeper for the future! He's such a handsome little man. Why do they have to grow up so fast?

Goodie said...

That is so lovely Mark - how wonderful it will be for him to read back on this when he's older & know just how much he meant to you & Gen. Time goes by so fast & they grow up with such firm ideas of how life should be. I hope that life is everything your boys could ever wish for x

loverofwords said...

Happy Birthday to your son! Your post gave me that crinkly feeling in my nose just before the tears come. I hope you are printing this post so that your son can hold and read the paper it's written on. Would all the little boys in the world have as caring a dad as you.

cleemckenzie said...

Happy happy happy birthday! What a wonderful way to celebrate and to share the joy!

Maurice Mitchell said...

How sweet is that Mark? ***wiping man-tear*** I fell in love with my son when I heard his heartbeat.

Nicole said...

Aww, best birthday gift ever! Way to go, Papa. :)

Leigh Covington said...

Mark, you write the most heart-felt posts ever. You're so genuine and caring. I love it. He is a beautiful little boy with an amazing father (and I'm sure an amazing mother too!) What a blessing! Happy Birthday!!!

Nancy Thompson said...

Aw, that is so freakin' sweet! And he is so darling. Imagine how hard it is for me to say goodbye to my only son in 4 weeks when I have to take him to college over 1200 miles away. I think I should write on of these letter to him now. Thanks for the inspiration!

Annalisa Crawford said...

What a beautiful post.

Scarlett said...

Is there any doubt just how amazing you are, Mark Koopmans?! I have missed you!

Happiest of birthdays to your sweet little guy! Some day he'll know where this kind of love comes from. Until then, he'll idolize his Papa and soak it all in like a sponge.

You lay your heart on the page, and I am appreciative. Love!

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