One year ago tonight, little miss Tesla Fae entered the world, and my life will never be the same.
There are dozens of events that can "change your life forever." The party you went to where you met the friends you spend the next few decades relying on. The job you took that defines the direction of the rest of your career. Meeting the amazing woman you're lucky enough to eventually marry. But all of these are events that mainly impact you and how you travel your own path.
Having a child is different. Suddenly, I'm not just responsible for myself. There's this whole new person in the world who wouldn't be here without me. And it's my job to help her make sense of all this craziness, and find her own path through the woods. It's exciting, and inspiring, and terrifying.
I feel like we lucked out with Tesla. She has been a source of pure joy, since the moment she was born. She's always happy, always inquisitive, and always an inspiration. Her bouts of anger only last a moment, and then she bounces back to the bright-eyed explorer we've come to know. As her mom said today, we're learning as much from Tesla as she's learning from us. She's already an amazing person, and I can't wait to see who she becomes.
With great children comes great responsibility. I know the most important responsibility I have in the coming years will be giving Tesla the support and guidance she'll need to become who and what she wants to be. I know I'll make mistakes, and I still have a lot of learning and becoming of my own to do. But I'd like to make a few promises to her (and any siblings she may later have), that I will always strive to uphold.
I promise to give you a stable, supportive childhood, so you'll always feel safe to explore the world around you, as well as the world within you. I will do everything I can to shield you from the kinds of insecurities that slowed me down, including working my hardest to shed the ones I still cling to, so you have as positive a role model as possible. And I will do everything I can to help you find and follow your own passions.
I promise to surround you with positive examples of relationships (both romantic and friendly), so that you will always recognize the right kinds of relationships to pursue on your own, and be able to avoid the other kind. I will love your mom the way I want your future spouse to love you, and I will teach you to be the kind of friend you'll want to find in others.
I promise to teach you all I know of the world. I'll teach you about people, so you can seek out the good ones and deal effectively with the rest. I'll teach you how to work hard and how to manage your money, so you'll never be dependent upon someone else to guide your fate. I'll teach you about beauty, and how to find it in the simplest things and in the unlikeliest places. And I'll teach you how to find other teachers along your road, who can show you wonders I haven't even dreamed of.
Most importantly, I will love you. Always and unconditionally. This doesn't mean we won't get annoyed with one another from time to time, or argue over bedtimes, curfew, or politics. But even at the worst of moments, I will love you more than I love life itself. And when I lose my final grasp on life itself, I will be happy knowing that a bit of me (hopefully the best bit) will live on in you.
Happy first birthday, Tesla! Thank you for everything you've taught me, so far. I can't wait to see you grow into the intelligent, loving, bad-ass, wonderful woman I know you are. I love you more than you will ever know!