Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Your Mum

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

As of this writing, it’s been exactly 4,950 days since I met your mother. On Wednesday, it’ll be our 13.5 year dating anniversary and our 10th wedding anniversary.

By the time you read this, you’ll probably think we’ve been together forever. Sometimes I feel that way too. It’s hard to imagine my life without her.

The two of us have been through a lot together. She’s helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life. To you, she’s just your Mum, but I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much she loves you. (I’m not sure she does either.)

If there’s one thing you have to know about your Mum, it’s that she’s always thinking of your best interests. (Well maybe not always, but in all the big things.) She wants you to be happy.

She’s not perfect; she’ll get completely sucked into a game or story. She can get overwhelmed and get grumpy. She’s WAY too hard on herself about almost anything. But no matter what, she will drop anything for family, friends, and especially you; to listen and support.

She throws herself body, heart, soul, into her relationships. Because of that, she leaves herself open to being hurt, but so often she makes amazing friends. She sees the best in everyone and loves everyone.

If you reach out to her, she will always be ready with a hug, an attentive ear, and a kind word.

There’s a lot in this world that’s scary, a lot that is bad, and even more that’s sad. Count yourself lucky that you have a Mum that will hug you and be there for you when you need her. The world can’t be all that bad when it has someone so open and willing to love.

She’s my favourite person, my best friend, and by far the best part of me. Remember to take care of her the way she will always take care of you.

Your loved Papa

P.S. She gives great hugs.

Dear Dragon – Welcome to Level 2

Dear Toddler Dragon,

Tomorrow will be your birthday. You’re turning two years old. I might be biased but I think you’re awesome.

It’s been absolutely amazing watching you grow up. You’re clever, strong, quick with a smile, and so funny. You have some fantastic timing for jokes.

You’re at a point in your life where you’re learning faster than I can follow and I am so proud of you. I’d love to take credit for everything you’re becoming and everything you will become but I know you’re getting there on your own. You are and you’re going to be a wonderful person.

You don’t understand yet, and you may never, but the best parts of my day are those that we spend together. Playing, reading, singing, roaring, pretend sleeping, and so much more.

When you cry out for me at night I’m exhausted, grumpy, sore, and none of that matters when I hold you in my arms and sing. You are the best thing I have ever created. (That’s saying something cause Everdome is really good.)

So to my second level human; I hope you are having a good childhood, you to feel safe, you’re comfortable, free to be yourself, most of all I hope that if you remember anything about turning two it’s that you are loved.

I love you so much and happy birthday,

Papa

Happy First Birthday Dragon

Dear Baby Dragon,

It’s been a year since you were born. It was a time of change, learning, crying, and general confusion… but enough about me.

The first few months, we were worried that if we mixed you in with other babies we wouldn’t be able to tell you apart. It was a great relief when we found the freckle on your left hand. Now you’re old enough to tell us from the other parents so we’re good.

It’s been a fantastic year with you. I was lucky enough to spend the first nine months of your life with you and I wish it had been longer. You grow and change every day, it’s wonderful and terrifying. Since I’ve gone back to work you’ve learnt how to walk, say, “Hi”, sort stuff, and climb up and down furniture.

If the stories your Grannie and Gramma have told us are true, you are right in the middle of your mom and I in terms of personality. Your mom was a ridiculously clever baby with a calm and happy temperament. I was an average baby with an exuberant and happy temperament. You are just as clever as your mom and just as exuberant as your Papa. You also have the stubborn streak that runs in both families and a temper that burns hot and quickly fades.

You already have a mischievous side. When you know you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, you look at the closest adult and smirk. You both want to do the thing and also get chased. I hope you grow out of that before your teen years.

Your Mum and Grannie are covered in bruise from your sharp little teeth. Teething hurts and you bite a lot. You’ve left your dental impression on, toys, furniture, family, walls, your crib, books, and clothing. I really hope you grow out of biting soon.

You frustrate me at times but more often you warm my heart. You’re warm, happy, talkative, excited, and just wonderful. I’d love to take credit but it’s all you.

You give the greatest hugs, they are filled with affection and I hope you never grow out of that.

It’s been quite the year and I’m so proud of you. I’m enjoying watching you grow and become you. It’s something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

I love you little Dragon,

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – I Miss You!

Dragon-11-07-2017

Dear Little Dragon,

You still hate sleeping but you’re getting better at falling asleep… sometimes.

You are growing so fast in every way possible. Last week I watched you learn how to climb off the couch safely and Sunday you took your first shuffling steps. Just two little steps but they were steps. You’ll be running around soon enough.

I’ve been at work for over a month and I miss you a lot. It’s hard not being with you and watching you grow every day. I know I see you when I get home but it’s not the same.

I miss you and someday I hope I’ll be able to work from home permanently and see you every day. (You’ll probably be going to school by then.)

I miss seeing your smile when you wake up in the morning. I hope you never lose that easy smile, even if it’s just with family and close friends. Your joy is infectious and even when you’re being mischievous it makes us so happy.

I Love you little Dragon!

Your tired, sappy, and a little sad,
Papa

Dear Dragon – Six Months

Six months

Dear Baby Dragon,

You turned six months old on Sunday and as I write this you’re playing on your mat making adorable sounds and rotating to the toy you want to chew on.

The past week or so has been tough; you caught your first cold and have been leaking from your nose. It’s gotten to the point where you start screaming when you see a tissue. You’re getting better now and I look forward to not hearing you be all phlegmy.

Crawling is about to happen any day. You get up on your hands and knees and rock back and forth. Sometimes you’ll army crawl. You also love to pretend that you’re skydiving.

Added to your screeching (Curse you DanIsNotOnFire) is growling, babbling, and a lot of giggles. Honestly, there is nothing better than hearing you laugh. It’s filled with such pure joy and love. I could listen to it all day.

One thing I really wish you’d stop doing is grabbing and pinching. I know you don’t understand that it hurts us and you’re just trying to keep your balance but it’s a real pain.

It’s been a wonderful six months with you and I wish I could spend more time but you’ll be eight and a half months when I have to go back to work. I’m doing everything I can to remember and appreciate this time together.

Well, I have a diaper to change.

Love you lots and lots my Little Dragon,

Your Papa

 

 

Dear Dragon – Monsters

Hi Dragon,

Watching the news today, I held you tight and warned you about the monsters. They don’t have bolts in their neck, and they don’t get burned by sunlight. They look like us and walk around in daylight, but they exist.

This will be history for you when you read this, but one of those monsters shot at innocent people in a place of worship yesterday. He killed six innocent people and hurt a lot of others. His actions are inexcusable and monstrous.

That’s the difference, my little Dragon, between fictional monsters and real ones. Fictional monsters do terrible things because it’s in their nature, or they were made that way; real monsters make themselves from their actions.

Of course, there are other factors that help create real monsters. Hate, fear, intolerance, and anger help feed them, but in the end, it’s their actions that make them monsters. This means we are all capable of being monsters.

There are ways to help prevent monsters and they are so simple they seem silly. These ways are simply to keep love in your heart and share it with others. Treat people with respect, even when they don’t deserve it, help your neighbour, and be the kind of person who helps others.

Help, not through grand gestures, but through small acts of kindness. The small acts add up to bigger ones. We are all capable of being monsters, but that means we are also capable of being the opposite; Helpers.

It may be optimistic and it may be naïve, but I believe we can all make the world a better place by helping more.

Be a Helper and, as always, have hope!

I love you so much my little Dragon,

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – Your First Trip

Dear Dragon,

As I write this, you’re a day away from going on your first vacation. Tomorrow, at an insane time, we’ll get you up and bundle you and all our luggage and head to the airport. Then we’re off to Disney and Universal with your Aunt and Grannie.

You’ll grow up travelling a little bit everywhere. It’s a perk of your Mum being a travel agent. I hope you appreciate travelling. I hope you realize how lucky you are to be able to go to all the awesome places you’ll be going.

I also hope this new phase of screeching doesn’t last too long. If it does it’ll be an interesting plane ride.

It’s mostly joyful but people can get really cranky when they fly so hopefully you’ll stick to the cuter noises.

I know you won’t remember this trip, but I hope you’ll have as much fun as we will. Someday we’ll go again and I’ll love seeing your excitement. Until then, we’ll just get hundreds of adorable pictures of you at the parks.

Your excited Papa

Dear Dragon – Joy

Dear Dragon,

The other day I was changing you and you wriggled, as you always do, and smiled the entire time. You seemed to be having the time of your life, just being changed.

There was joy in your eyes I hadn’t seen yet. You’re starting to get more emotion, not just expression. It’s wonderful to see.

As I watched your joyful wriggling, I started to cry (Yeah I’ve been tearing up a lot lately). Your joy was pure and innocent and I know will be short lived. I’m not saying you won’t feel that pure happiness again, but right now and for a little while you’ll love, and joy recklessly.

Someday someone whose heart has been broken or has shriveled will tell you that you’re too innocent or that your enthusiasm is weakness. Let me be utterly clear: THEY ARE WRONG!

Enthusiasm and joy are our most wonderful emotions and they’re important. Joy, enthusiasm, and happiness are not always the wriggling bliss of an infant being changed. It can be found in a good cry, a tender moment, a beautiful view, a painful realization, or a moving experience.

I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but be enthusiastic, never feel bad for your passions, love things people consider weird or childish, and most of all, enjoy and feel everything that happens.

Closing yourself down to the wonders of emotions and excitement lessens the experiences of life. I know that sounds trite, especially when it hurts.

Always try to keep a little of the child-like innocent joy. Trust me, it’s worth it. I spent years trying to be an adult and suppress those emotions. I count those as years lost.

Feel deeply, be enthusiastic, and know that I love you unconditionally.

Your Sappy Papa

Dear Dragon – 1 Month

1month

Dear Dragon,

You’ve been home for a month now. You have a name, a decorated room, and more clothes than you’ll ever wear.

Your routine is pretty much to sleep in the mornings, giggle/gurgle in the afternoons, fuss in the evenings, and fall asleep by 11. A routine you’ll likely return to in post-secondary.

We still occasionally forget you exist or have waves of panic that someone was foolish enough to leave us with a child. The feeling is getting less and less common.

If I had to sum up the past month, I’d say it would be fatigue and love, punctuated by small bouts of panic and helplessness. I suppose that applies to you as much as to us.

At a month, you’ve already mastered smiling, puppy dog eyes, and a heart-wrenching whimper.

I both can’t wait and dread you growing up. I’m trying to enjoy the little moments.

By the way, you’re a fantastic cuddler and I really hope that doesn’t change.

You’ve had a constant parade of people who want to meet you. Everyone loves you and wants to be near you. You’re going to grow up loved by so many people. You have your family (Me, Mum, Grannie, Grand-dad, Great-Grand-dad, Oncle Dan, Aunt Amy, Aunt Lindsay, and Modryb Sonia), your massive list of extended family and family friends, the ever-growing geeky community in Ottawa, and Ottawa’s wonderful speculative fiction family.

As loved as I hope you feel, your mother and I feel it just as much. Our families and friends are great. We’re lucky to have found so many awesome people to surround ourselves with.

This is a little disjointed, but it reflects the past month. It’s been interesting, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. You fill me with love and wonder every time I see you or hear your little noises.

Your tired and loving Papa

Dear Dragon – Names

Dear Dragon,

In case you didn’t know, I fancy myself a writer. One of the hardest parts of developing a character is choosing a name.

I firmly believe that a character’s name should reflect aspects of their story or personality. Let’s take my first novel, A Study in Aether; there are three main characters and their names reflect who they are.

Elizabeth means “My God is an Oath,” or “My God is Abundance” between the classical definition and the historical, it’s a name for a strong-willed character who is more interested in reaching their goals than anything else.

Jackson (Jackie) means “Son of Jack”. Since he’s Jackson Jr., it shows the strong resemblance (character not physical) to his father. The fact that he shortens it to Jackie instead of Jack shows his stubborn non-conforming streak.

Angela is the female version of Angelus. It’s original meaning being “Messenger” or “Messenger of God”. I’ll be completely honest and tell you I just liked the name. There was a character on Bones, who managed to be both artistic and brilliant with technology. I liked the idea of a character trying to balance two aspects of her life. Balancing two parts of herself is a long running theme with my character Angela.

I almost always name a character based off who they are and what they’ll grow into. That works really well for characters, but not so well for Baby Dragons. (If only I had a time machine.)

We’ve had several names for you chosen for a long time. They’ve changed and moved around, but we never really worried about it. Now that you’re on your way, it feels a little more urgent.

There were a few things we wanted in a name: it needed to sound okay in French and English, it needed to be something that didn’t sound weird for a lawyer, doctor, teacher, judge, prime-minister etc (The Right Honourable Yoda Desmarais wasn’t an option), it needed to be something that wasn’t ridiculously common, and it needed to be something people wouldn’t make fun of.

That’s a high order, but we ended up with five names that we liked. One we sort of lost interest in. Another we told to someone and they reacted so poorly that your Mum didn’t want to use the name anymore. (I’m contrary and almost insisted on the name, but decided that was a bad reason.)

That has left us with three names. Two are relatively traditional but the third is different. It’s still easily pronounceable and follows our guidelines above. I made the mistake of mentioning it to someone (I’m contrary and learn slowly) and they don’t think it’s a good idea because it’s not a traditional name. I’m not sure which we’ll pick. I’m procrastinating by saying we’ll wait to meet you, but that’s just an excuse.

A lot of people, articles, etc. have pushed the importance of picking a name and it’s stressful to think about.

Fortunately, no matter what we name you, you’ll grow into it. It will become you and you’ll become it.

Hopefully we pick well, but worst case scenario you can always change it.

Your Loving Papa