Today, my youngest son turns six. In some ways, those six years seem like a fraction of a second. In others, they could be from a different lifetime. Finn is an incredible child — scary bright, perceptive, strong as an ox, sweet, mischievous, and shy. I call him my clone because he looks so much like me, especially when I was that age. Sometimes, when I look at him, it’s like looking in the mirror 34 years ago. He also acts a lot like me, stubborn, headstrong, and independent. Whenever I allow myself to think about how he’ll be in 10 years, I honestly get a little scared because I’m certain he’ll be as curious about the world as I was.
Every father should have a son who looks at him the way Finn looks at me. It’s pure, unconditional adoration, and it melts me every single time. Collin loves me, but whenever he looks at me, there’s an element of hurt and anger in his eyes because of the scars left by the divorce. Finn was too little to remember much from that time, so he doesn’t carry the same wounds. All he knows of me is the man who calls several nights a week, the guy who gets them a couple of times a year and showers them with attention, and the daddy who sings him to sleep every night he’s with me. I know the day will come when he no longer looks at me like that and no longer wants me to sing; I’ve already gone through that with Collin. Honestly, it will be a hard day, but for now, he enjoys being my youngest child and soaks up the attention.
Finn and I didn’t bond right away. I was working two jobs and barely saw him for the first year of his life. Back then, because Collin and I had bonded immediately, I felt tremendous guilt for not having that same connection with my baby boy. Then, during one of first times they stayed with me just the three of us, it happened. I had a porch swing and would rock him to sleep each night. I felt the moment we bonded as clearly as I had with Collin. We were on the swing, swaying back and forth, me singing about the tenth song to him as he fought sleep. He buried his head into my chest and wrapped his arms around my neck and shoulder. He pressed against me as hard as he could, and in that moment, we became father and son.
No amount of time is ever enough with my boys, and nothing will give us back what we’ve lost, but nothing will ever break the bonds we’ve formed, either. Finn proves that to me every time he’s with me. Despite having lived the majority of his life outside of my home and barely spending any time with me in person, he loves me deeply and knows I love him. He’s an amazing child with unbelievable potential, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. One day, he will accomplish great things. I love you, my son. Happy birthday.