Dear Dragon – I Miss You!

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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

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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

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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

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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

Dear Dragon – Looking forward to meeting you

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Hello Baby Dragon,

It’s the end of July and that means you’ll be here in a month and a few days. (Probably. Everyone keeps telling me babies arrive when they want to.) I’m extremely excited to meet you, to see who you’ll be, what you’ll like, how much you’ll sleep.

Everyone else is just as excited to meet you. You already have fans among our friends. It’s amazing to see people who we don’t get to talk to much get really excited about you.

Right now the person who seems most excited to meet you is your grandfather. He’s making sure that everything will be perfect for you – like that new baby box he got for you (by the way, they say baby boxes can save lives). Even stressing your mom and I a little with his excitement. You’re really lucky to have him. He seems gruff sometimes but he has the biggest heart and will accomplish impossible things for those he loves. He’s a wonderful father, father in-law, and he’ll be a fantastic grandfather.

It’s going to be amazing to see you grow and become your own person. It’ll also be amazing to see what happens in the world and with technology during your life.

You’ll always think I’m old, but in my 33 years I’ve seen some astounding scientific and technological changes. The Chicken Pox and HPV vaccines, the internet, the discovery of the Higgs Boson, interactive media, and so many music and video formats it’s not funny.

Right now the world is obsessed with a game called Pokémon Go. You might remember it (I’m sure we’ll play it for at least 2 or more years.) It a game that players walk around and look for digital things in the real world. Using GPS and a map of landmarks, the game randomly generates Pokémon (cute pocket monsters).

For you, this will be an old idea but for the rest of the world it’s something new. I predict that when you look back at 2016 it won’t be 4k TVs or another feeble attempt at virtual reality that is the big tech news, but the dawn of augmented reality. It has the potential to change the way we interact with our world.

We live in exciting times and you’ll see your old Papa geek out a lot over new technology. I hope it’s something we can share.

I love you Baby Dragon,

Your Papa Éric

Dear Dragon – The World Today

Hello Dragon,

I hope you’re afraid of monsters under your bed, boogeymen, or (like your grandmother) of Freddy Kruger. It’s not that I want you to be afraid but that I want you to only have fictional things to scare you.

I hope you never feel the fear of going out to a public place, or going to school.

I hope you never fear for your life walking down the street or traveling to other countries.

The world right now is on the cusp of something. I’m not sure what it is yet. Optimistically it’s the movement towards a united and peaceful world. Pessimistically it’s the movement towards another great terrible war or series of wars.

Weekly in the news, we hear about bombings. Sometimes more than one a week. In the UK they just voted to leave the European Union. Some for economic reasons but mostly for racist reasons; and hate crimes have risen to historic highs. In the US, the argument of politics seems to be more about skin colour and genitals than actual policies.

All over the world people are afraid. Afraid for their lives, afraid of others, afraid for our world.

The earth isn’t dying. People will tell you we’re destroying it. They’re wrong, we’re making it uninhabitable for ourselves. Just another thing to fear. Some people deal with that fear by trying to change things, others by ignoring it.

“I would never bring a child into this world, why would you?”

Someone asked me how I could think of bringing children into such a broken world. My answer to them was simply, “Hope.”

You, Baby Dragon, represent hope to me; a hope that you will have a wonderful life that you will see a world free from hate and fear, that you’ll help make that world.

And the truth is it’s not all doom and gloom. The Ozone Layer has started to heal, infant mortality is at its lowest in history, life spans are longer, more people can read, food production is more efficient than ever. Every day we as a species invent, discover, and create something amazing.

 

The world we’re bringing you into isn’t perfect, far from it, but it has hope and that’s worth a lot.

I love you, Baby Dragon!

Your Loving Papa

Dear Dragon – Some advice on advice

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Hello Dragon,

Throughout your life people will give you advice on everything; whether you like it or not. Most people mean well and are genuinely trying to help. You’ll get it from your family, your friends, that extremely nosy person in line at the grocery store…. Everyone! (You’re not even born yet and I’m already giving you life advice.)

It’s important to remember that advice is just a suggestion. Take it all in, think about it, do research, and then make up your own mind. In the end it’s not me, or your best friend that has to live with the consequences, it’s you.

The difference between good advice and bad advice can be really hard to spot. Just because someone is genuinely trying to help, doesn’t mean their advice is good. This holds for people in authority too (Yes, even your parents) they make mistakes and they can repeat bad advice.

A lot of advice gets filtered through multiple people. If it’s important advice, find the original source or one you trust. Then decide if the advice is worthy of following.

Your grandmother told me when I was young, “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.” It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Unpacked of meaning, it simply reminds you to think about what’s going on around you, what you’re seeing, and what you’re being told. If you think critically, you can avoid a lot of trouble.

A lot of bad advice involves certainties. Everyone believes this, or It’s always that. The moment people are completely certain about something, it’s your responsibility to wonder if their advice is bad.

Remember, you’re not alone, your Mum and I will always be there to help you work through things. Even if you just need us as a sounding board. We love you and we’re here to help.

 

I love you, Baby Dragon,

Your loving Father