You + Me and You = 4.

The picture above is right before we entered the court room 4 years ago to finalize our adoption.

Nathanael has always been keen on people’s emotions.
Very early on in our time together, he and I were doing something (can’t remember what) and I got so flustered and frustrated with him (can’t remember why). I walked out of the house and sat in the drive way to recollect myself. He followed me outside, sat down right next to me, and put his arms around me and just stayed there.
I wondered if this was a survival skill that he had to pick up at such a young age of 3…

I’d also ask him (don’t ask why…), “Who do you like more? Ray Ray or JoJo?” When we were both present, he’d respond with “RayRay and JoJo.”
When it was just me and him, he’d say “JoJo.”

I mean what is that?
That’s like politician level of flattery.

Once, we were driving past my old church on the way to the store.
He points to it and says, “Daddy, there’s our old church.”
And after a few seconds of silence, he says, “Daddy, I like our new church better than the old one.”
I laughed and said, “Buddy, I didn’t ask. But cool.”
We get to the store and we run into one of my former coworkers and he says (without prompting), “I miss you! I like the old church better than my new one.” to which I responded (to myself), “No one asked, buddy. And gee, thanks.”

He’s always been so damn funny, so damn charming, and so damn cheerful. I hope those things remain true for the rest of his life.

To the most joy filled person I know:

I love you more than I can express with words.
Mom and I want nothing but the best for you.
I’m sorry for the times that I saw what you could be and held you to those standards instead of ushering and weaning you into them.
Oh man, Mom and I have made so many mistakes along the way. There’s no instruction manual that comes with being a parent.
And your mom and I will continue to make mistakes along the way. But we’ll never stop loving you.
You are such a light to us and to others. And such a joy-giver.
There are a handful of things in my life I’ll never forget. One of them is that smile you flashed at us when we first met. You won my heart then and there.

Mom and I love you so much.
Even when — only God knows how — you took a crap on the bathroom floor while brushing your teeth. This was after you’ve already taken a crap and a bath. And instead of letting us know of the accident, you decided to clean up the mess with the towels in the bathroom. And in your panicked attempt of a coverup, you put on your PJ’s without properly (re)wiping your butt or knowing that you had poop stains on your legs. Then I asked, what was the smell and what’s the stuff that’s on the floor and cabinets.
“I don’t know.”
“It smells like poop.”
“No.”
“What happened in here?”
“No.”
“Is that … is that… is that poop on the towels?”
“…no…”
“Did you poop on the floor and wipe it with a towel??
“No.”
“Yo. That’s … oh my God. That’s poop on the towel. That means that’s poop on the cabinet and on your footstool.”
“Oh.”

See…? even when you lie, we still love you. That… that has to be love. And that is why you’re (only) grounded until today — because you lied. Not because you inexplicably pooped on the bathroom floor and wiped it up with a towel and put on your clothes without cleaning yourself up.

You are always an adventure.
We’re so glad to be on it with you.

I love you, buddy.
Always and forever.

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