Happy 7th Birthday Buddy

Fourth letter in the series. Third one is here. Second one is here. First one is here.

Dear Levi,

Here it is. Already again. Another year. You are getting so big. I want to hold your hand. Your still-tiny-but-growing-s0-fast hand, and envelop it in the palm of my large and aging hand, and hold it tight. And then I want to do nothing else other than sit here listening to the Friday Night Lights soundtrack and have you sit nestled in my right arm, like a football, and fall asleep against me. Without a care in the world. It would comfort me to make you feel protected, secure, and serene.

Today was different, because it was really about the family, as well you and me. A few very special people remembered this day, and for that I am grateful. My dad, known as “Deep Rivers” to the grandkids, was here in Cali the weekend and got to celebrate your birthday with us today and yesterday. You are the last in the lineage of the Razgaitis’ name. Before I had a son I thought I’d regret the end of our family name; now, though, it seems perfect that the name rests with you. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am proud of you in ways that only a dad can understand, for reasons that are unrelated to merit or even personal experience in knowing you in the traditional sense; it simply has to do with unbridled love and admiration for you. No. Matter. What.

Yesterday we were going to take RoZo go-karting as part of our celebration of you, but it rained so we’re going another weekend. I’m sure you would have been wired just like me, with an unbridled addiction enthusiasm for cars. There’s nobody left at the house for me to go and recruit to test drive expensive European cars that would give us a lifetime of headache and a wallet full of pain–yet a handful of fun. Perhaps that’s why I now drive a Prius. I just need a partner in crime to get into some car shopping trouble; you could have supported my habit charitable contribution to the economy. At least one Saturday a month, I would strap you into the back of my Dave-Ramsey approved 50-MPG wielding econobox and we’d go and drive the new 328, the Tesla S, maybe even a Fisker Karma–and anything else fun we could get our hands on. But it’s not really the cars I want to drive, it’s just the experience I want to have with you. A little co-pilot to take on adventures, to talk with, and to pal around together. RoZo make great adventurers as well, and I absolutely adore having two daughters–and would be thrilled if we had several more. But I know the father/son thing would be unique, and perhaps I’m selfish for wanting that too, with you.

So instead of go-karting, we did simple stuff and hung around the house. We sent you some balloons, each with personalized messages from each of us, and sent them flying away in the skies behind our house in California with the fog-enveloped mountains and  blue sky with whispy clouds as our backdrop. It was really magical to watch the balloons make their way upward to the point at which I lost sight of them. Each of us took our balloons and, from youngest to oldest, said a little something to you, and released them into the air.

An old friend of mine, Bob Bonanducci, is up in heaven with you. He was a mentor to me for years, and he forgot more about selling and human psychology than I’ll ever know. I used to go on sales calls with him during my College breaks (yes, on my own and for “fun”, this is how you learn good stuff!) to understand how to sell, connect with people, and learn some life lessons. Years ago, before he passed away, he called me and asked that I call him back. I was “busy” and before I knew it six months passed and I never returned the call. Before I knew it, I got an email saying he had passed away. I still regret not taking five minutes to call him back. He was a really good man to me.

Anyways, my advice is also wrapped up in a favor as well. You should go find Bob, he is the big Italian guy who probably has marinara sauce stained on his white shirt robe whilst surrounded by a group of people telling a story of some kind using all sorts of expressive hand movements with his booming voice. They’re all laughing, and mesmerized by his magnetic enthusiasm I’m sure. My advice is to listen, and learn a thing or two from Bob. And tell him I miss him as well, and that someday I’ll replace the phone call with a personal visit. Not too soon, I hope, but someday. The three of us will sit together and tell stories, and laugh. And just love on each other.

I still miss you buddy. All the time. More than you know. You are in my heart constantly, and you are inseparable from my soul. If you were here right now, sleeping in my arms, I would whisper that in your ear, and remind you that there’s nothing you could do that would keep me from loving you as I do and always will. And I know that mom, Royce, and Zoe would all say the same.

Happy 7th Birthday Levi.


Dad (and the family)

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13 Replies to “Happy 7th Birthday Buddy”

  1. I love reading your birthday tributes to your son. Thank you for sharing your vision of the life you imagined with Levi, and always showing such gratitude for your beautiful family. Through your words I feel the love for your son and I know the pain of losing something you only had for a brief moment. Our angels will always live in our hearts and through our actions in the world. Happy 7th Birthday to Levi.

  2. Raz,

    This was a great read and has put inspiration into my day. I read this while sitting in a Seattle hotel. It’s amazing how each and every time I travel, I take time to read things online and in print that open up the reality of life and how it should be lived. You are a great Father, person and friend, and Levi appreciates you with you ongoing recognition and love. Peace Bro. Talk soon. D

  3. Wow…that was amazing! I am so touched. Thank you for sharing. I know Levi is watching, listening, protecting, and loving all of you! What a reunion you will all have with him at some future date! Makes me want to go hug my boys again just to make sure they know of my love! Love you guys!!

  4. Hi Anna, thanks so much for your post and encouragement!!! I loved having Dave here in SF for a few months, thanks for sharing him. He is a great dude, and you guys have a fantastic family. I am looking forward to seeing your family, and also meeting two new ones at some point as well. 🙂

  5. Hey Dave, thanks bud. I have really enjoyed getting to know you over the years, and appreciate our friendship. It means a lot to read your comment, and that you took a minute to read my letter. Take care man.

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