Not sure if it is the age, school starting, or just the kids in general - but I find I'm feeling very melancholy lately. I find that whenever I look at the kids, I see them both as they are now and as I remember them as they first started showing signs of their individual personality. Now, those of you without children are probably reading this and thinking - "Man, he's lost it", while those with kids are probably reading this and thinking - "Man, he HAS lost it". To head off those comments, I never really had it to lose, so, without further ado, this is for the kids:
To the oldest: I was talking with you earlier today, and pointed out that I am very lucky as a parent. You are growing up into a wonderful young person, and I am very proud of you, the decisions you make, and the help you provide the rest of us on a regular basis, be it a funny comment or assisting with some menial task which needs to be done. I am happy that I genuinely like you (something I was never sure would happen when you were little), your friends (most parents don't in my opinion) and the wonderful person you are becoming. Keep up the good work (or I'll get the 2X4 out again).
To the middle: I probably don't say this enough, but sometimes you need to ease up. You can't control the world...yet. Someday maybe, I don't put this past you, but even then, you'll need to see other things beyond the black and white. The world won't stop if you bend a rule. You work hard, have a wonderful personality and are a lot of fun to be around too. Just keep in mind that no one is perfect and they don't have to be and you'll continue to do just fine.
To the youngest: What can I really say? For someone with as little fear as you have, I'm fairly surprised you've lived this long. If it wasn't for being cute and sweet, I don't think even your luck would have held you from that fate for long. Like the two before you, you are a special kid. Warm, caring, and all in all, a pretty good egg. Start using the things on the side of your head a bit better (they are NOT ornamental), and keep on with what you are doing and you'll be just fine.
For all three: I truly can't believe how old you all are, nor can I remember getting here. You all are very special in your own ways - and very similar. You make me laugh, you make me angry, but through it all, you all make me very, very happy. Aside from your Mom, you three are the best things to ever happen in my life and I am very thankful for that every single day (yep, even when I'm swinging the 2x4 for something you did or didn't do...).
It is very strange to me that I see two distinctly different people when I look at each of you. I see the child I remember and love, but I also see the growing kids and young adults you are becoming. Both seem out of place to me, while at the same time both are so very fitting to you all. Remember to be true to yourselves as you grow - you will have responsibilities privileges appropriate for your ages and these things will always keep in the forefront the wonderful kids I've been lucky enough to watch grow. But also remember the child I see whenever I look at you. Don't forget all the things you've learned from playing around, and definitely don't forget all the fun you've had doing so. While responsibility, trust and honor will be how many people will remember you, the ones you truly care about will remember those things and the fun - as will you someday.
I hope you all realize how much I care about you and how much fun we've had to this point. I'm looking forward to the many more years we have for more fun - but I also wanted to leave a little note to remind you of how proud I am of each of you. I know I try to tell you this all the time, but dang it, I wanted something to remind you I mean it - and also to brag to everyone else about it a bit!
Lastly, and I know I say this often, but I love you. No matter what happens, that will never change. I realize I'm partial, but you all are very special and, while I sometimes give you a hard time, are very good kids. Please keep up the good work...now CLEAN YOUR ROOM!!!!