Happy 18th Birthday Buddy (my last one…)

Dear Levi,

Today, Buddy, this would’ve been it. THE. BIG. EIGHTEEN! 

I started this letter last night–after I left Denver to find an obscure bar in a small town so that I could think, and write. Without initially knowing where I was going, I ended up finding this old country-style Saloon in a town called Nederland.

It was perfect.

Natural wood timbers throughout, tinny-sounding speakers overhead pelting out Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, and Don McLean overhead. Everyone that walked in was greeting by name, hugs, back-slapping, and catch-ups on how their week went.

As the only outsider, I camped out at a booth in the corner with my laptop open while typing away in WordPress, basking in being an unknown entity in a bar where everyone else is anything but that. It would’ve been a fun place to take you for some Dad / Son time.

Realizing today you’d be 18, and “officially” an adult male (becoming a man is something very different than just turning 18…) also makes me reflect on my own stage in life. Everyone is out of the house and into orbit, and now I feel really solo…

It’s a great feeling and sense of awe watching your kids grow into the next stage of life. It’s also a bit lonely, too. At least every week, I have the thought that I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Royce is finishing up her junior year at Colorado Christian University, and is doing such great work: volunteering (even went to Guatemala last summer) and studying so incredibly hard–countless hours, far more than I ever did–and is super involved in her church. She has such a heart for God.

Zoe moved out in July after graduating high school and is going to an Academy in California to become an Esthetician. It makes me so unbelievably happy to see her find something that she’s super passionate and excited about. And that kid, not only incredibly hilarious but so encouraging.

I’m so proud of both of them. They would have absolutely adored you as the baby boy in the family.

If you were here and sometime around your Birthday, I’d take you on a drive to the mountains for a weekend of trekking to a cabin where we’d have some “Hey Levi, so you’re becoming a man…” talks and Dad / Son time.

I’d share with you a lot of the mistakes I’ve made and try to give you some insights about how you can (and should try your best to) skip the stupid, careless, reckless, and selfish things I’ve done over the years.

We’d talk with you about finding your purpose. To try not to get distracted by worldly things, many of which are roadblocks to achieving your greatness.

And I’d encourage you to invest in people and relationships–especially a spiritual one with God, someday a romantic one, to continue building your family ones, and to be sure to develop great relationships with other men. As a man, there is something especially epic about hanging out with other dudes. Some of my best memories from the last year were from connecting with some great men I’ve known over many years (along with some new ones as well).

Of course, we’d also binge watch the TV Series “Friday Night Lights” where I’d probably have picked up, or created, some cringe-worthy (but perhaps a badass) Dad-version of “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” for our ‘lil family. This was my and Zoe’s favorite show. It would’ve been so fun to watch it with you, too, and then watch you play sports and see life through the experience of a teenage boy (though I also had the gift of watching Royce and Zoe play sports for many years as well, and it was incredible).

Since starting your Birthday letters, I’ve spent far more time writing about you than I ever have speaking openly about you. It’s been cathartic. That this is my last Birthday letter to you is something I’ll miss.

It is a strange experience of getting to almost have something, only to have that taken away, so that you never got to experience it–apart from all the mental maps of what it could have, or would have, been. Of course that’s how I feel about you, but there’s nothing unique to me about that experience. We’ve all had it in some form or another, usually many times over.

In my last letter, I’m mostly grateful and a little bit sad. And quite a bit suppressed. There’s so much more that I want to write and say, but, I’ll save it for the book. This may be my last Birthday letter to you, but it’s not my last writing. Every year I say I’ll get the book done. One of these years, I’ll make that true (the picture with Royce and the book “I love you Levi” is a kids book she found and bought for me…so adorable).

A year after your birth I was having breakfast with a guy I knew from my business world who had lost twins shortly after birth and he asked “So, how are you doing with it now?” Since I knew he could relate, it was easy to lay it out and say “Honestly man, it’s not getting any better. It kind of just, is…”

He looked at me and said “Yeah, ten years later…me too. That’s kind of how it goes. I don’t know that it’ll get any better from here on out, it’ll just be different…” And so now, for me, on your 18th Birthday, I don’t know that it feels any better. It just feels different. I’m good with it. Even grateful for it.

“It” being all the hope and excitement leading up to your birth. All the aspirations of having a son and another dude in the household, coupled with all the longings and dreams I’ve had for you since.

In some ways, through this, I got to experience life vicariously through your spirit and what I envisioned it would be. I also got to experience life differently, especially by getting some extra enjoyment out of seeing a Dad interact with his son (an ongoing theme I’ve shared before).

Last Sunday I was running around Sloans Lake in Denver. One of my favorite scenes that often stops me is when I see a Dad and his son doing some activity together. A week ago, it was a Dad and his son on a baseball diamond. He’s pitching to him, coaching him, teaching him how to stand in the batters box, when to square up, “keep your eye on the ball all the way through until you see the bat make direct contact…”

Sometimes I watch for 30-seconds. Sometimes I get lost in time.

But nearly every time I go on my way, I feel a little bit better. As if I got to experience what it’d be like to be a Dad to a son, even if it’s in the most remote and distantly vicarious and interstitial way. And everytime I leave that scene, I say the same thing to myself…”Man, that Dad has no idea just how lucky he is right now at this moment and how badly I’d love to trade spots with him for just one game of catch.”


It is not always, maybe even often, what we want. But I trust that it is usually, maybe even always, what we need as part of The Great Plan. And I’m good with that.

So, Levi, Happy 18th Birthday, big man…

I know I would be so proud of you today.

It would be incredibly epic, right now, in ways that I can’t quite express, even if for just 60-seconds we could somehow eclipse time and space in a supernatural way that would give me just one chance to give you a long hug, look you in your eyes, and tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you.

Wishing you the best day today, and that somehow, in some way, these letters make it over to you.

Love it. No matter what.

❤️ Dad

Happy 13th Birthday Buddy

Hi Levi,

Wow. Today, you would be 13–a big year. And an official teenager!

For the last few weeks I planned (again) on writing you some more “fatherly advice.” You know, wisdom things I would’ve passed onto you if you were here.

Something that would be insightful and possibly profound.

It would’ve included mistakes (so many) that I’ve made that I’d want you to avoid. And a few things I learned along the way.

In my mind, at the end of the letter I was going to reference a few well known people that I thought would be good role models as some reference points. You know, famous people with some quippy quotes and a notable epiphany.

Someone I could point to and say “Yes, son, grow up and be like THEM!”

No doubt, were you here and I shared these with you, I’d imagine at some point you’d be rolling your eyes exhaling “Daaaaaaaaad I KNOW! I’m 13 now…I KNOWWWWWWW these things!”

And, well, of course you would, because, congratulations, you’re a teenager now! You’d know everything, just like I did. 😉

Then, about a week ago, I thought I’d write to you about how I felt after seeing the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” that is until I saw it.

In addition to being the song that has been my musical association to you for years, it’s also an epic movie about the story of redemption and restoration of a relationship between a father and son.

But after seeing it I KNEW I couldn’t write about that, given that when I saw the movie with Royce and Zoe I basically cried for two hours straight.

So I kept thinking about what I’d write, and usually I don’t even really know what it’s going to be until I sit down to type.

Then this weekend something happened that radically changed my letter to you, and as usual I didn’t figure it out until I sat down to write it tonight.

When I went off to college, my freshman year I remember talking to Jim King who was the Dean of Student affairs and also created the roommate assignments for all incoming 1st year students.

Over the years, I talked to him a lot, yet I have no recollection of any one of our conversations–except this very one.

“Raz,” he told me on the phone “I have the PERFECT roommate for you.”

I showed up to the first day of college, which is still a little bit like the enthusiasm below from Finding Nemo (my favorite kids movie ever!), just without your Dad there…imagine a version of the below for an 18-year old, because yes you’d be that excited for your first day of college as well.

I was.

That day I met a guy named Thom Hoyman who would end up being my roommate for four years, and a lifelong friend.

He was, in many ways, the opposite of me. Creative art student, I was a business major. He played Rugby, I played football. He was quiet, thoughtful, a great listener, and well I was loud, boisterous, and ehhhh, my listening skills needed some work.

Yet we also loved some of the same things.

We loved listened to Yanni during the day to study, and at night we’d fall asleep listening to Metallica, the Black Album (arguably one of the best albums to ever be released in the 90’s!). We shared the same sense of humor, often to the dismay of those around us. We spent endless hours together in those dorm rooms, sometimes doing Bible Study, and sometimes undoing the work we were supposed to be learning and applying from those Bible Studies.

And for most of college, we were always together hanging out.

So back to this last weekend.

Last Friday night it was approaching midnight, and I was finishing up some work.  And I was really discouraged. With so much still to do I decided to cancel my Boarding trip to the mountains, though when I called to cancel the hotel it was too late without penalty.

Not wanting to lose the night I’d paid for, instead, I decided to wake up early and crank out four hours of work, make it to a mountain to get a few runs in, and crash at my already-paid-for hotel with laptop in tow to finish out my work Saturday night.

As I’m driving west on I-70 I was undecided where to ski, as my hotel was about 30 minutes from four different ski resorts. For whatever reason, I drove west to the farthest ski resort away in Beaver Creek. I got there at 1pm and boarded for three hours. At 4pm I’m sitting at the bottom of the mountain by myself listening to a band play while sipping coffee.

And within a few minutes I run into Thom at the bottom of the mountain, who was there with his family. I hadn’t seen him in over 12-months, and probably only a handful of times over the past ten years.

When I saw him he said “Dude, you’re hanging with us tonight! My family is here, and so are my parents who would love to see you. You’re family, you’re coming to dinner.” 

And over the next three hours I saw the most awesome thing unfold.

Because Saturday night was the first time I no longer saw my college roommate.

I didn’t see the guy who was with me to encourage me when I went through tough breakups. Or the guy who would go to Denny’s with me to study, or socialize, at 2am no matter how tired he was. Or the guy who was the first to stand up for me if anything ever got sideways between me and anyone else. Or the guy who would willingly go along with any of my pranks, including co-conspiring to “hide” and raise a pig in our room for two months.

Or even the guy who gave me, to this day, what is one of my most valued possessions–a sculpture he made that reflected the way he saw what I felt in my life, which encompassed a symbolic person in the form of a sphere with a big wave cresting over it.

Instead, I saw…

A dad to two young sons, who was playful, encouraging, and loving.

A husband to his wife, that was attentive, compassionate, gentle and strong.

A son who loved his parents, with both playfulness and a deep reverence.

A man who loved God, with gratitude, humility, and obedience.

And a best friend, who somehow and someway ran into me at a time when I needed him the most.

Levi, if you were here today, I’d skip all the stories, quips, quotes, and anecdotes of all these modern-day heroes.

And instead, this time, I’d point to you and tell you, “Son, see that guy right there named Thom? When you grow up be THAT kind of man.”

Happy 13th Birthday Buddy. I love you, no matter what.



*This is my annual birthday post for Levi. The prior years posts are all here

Happy 12th Birthday Buddy

Hi Levi,

Wow, little dude…you would be 12 today.

Well, you are 12 today. But you’d be here and with me and 12, rather than up there and 12. 😉 Either way, I can’t even believe it. I’ve got two stories for you today on your birthday. Sometimes I have a hard time getting your sisters to get chatty with me; if you were still here you’d be watching me in the sometimes-struggle to engage with them you’d probably just look at me and shrug your shoulders and say “Girls…”

But between those moments, I still get more than my fair share of magic with them. On New Year’s Day I took Royce and Zoe to a coffeeshop in a small mountain town in Colorado. When we sat down I had them put down their bad weapons (phones) and I pulled out my good weapons (pen and paper) and gave each of them about 20-minutes to write down some of their goals and objectives for the year.

After we were done we all shared with each other. Without too much detail, one of the goals Royce shared with me was that she was hopeful and prayerful that she could minister to people that she doesn’t know, and to develop a relationship with them. More specifically, in her words, to share God’s love with them in an environment that doesn’t really encourage it (high school in general, but add to that Silicon Valley…).

As she was sharing with me so animatedly and expressively, with such a heart for people, I felt this surreal displacement. I’m listening to this amazing kid share with me a love and compassion so deep that I was just overwhelmed, to the point that I kept pulling my baseball hat down lower over my eyes.

Overwhelmed enough, that finally Zoe blurted out “DAD, ARE YOU CRYING AGAIN?!?!?” 😉

(I rarely cry, other than with things related to the three of you…and movies…)

Later that week Zoe and I were talking while lying at opposite ends of the couch. I was watching the gorgeous blue Colorado sky with huge, billowing cottony clouds drifting by and enjoying the gift of hearing her talk away, where she went on to share with me an issue at middle school where she got into a pretty heated fight–when I asked her why it came down to an incident where someone was bullying a mentally disabled student, who she befriended and defended.

And, yeah, a few minutes into the story she blurted out “DAD, you gotta get a hold of yourself!” 😉

You have two really amazing sisters, they would’ve been the BEST big sisters to you. And while I’m forever sad you’re not here, I also feel like I get little glimpses of you–and who you’d be–in the magic moments that I still have with Royce and Zoe, like during those two stories above.

This year I felt a huge wave of peace come over me regarding you, which doesn’t make me miss you any less. But it does mean I have healed a lot more. I still think about you all the time. Happy Birthday Buddy, I hope this years was the best yet.



*This is my annual birthday post for Levi. The prior years posts are here: Happy 11h Birthday Buddy, Happy 10th Birthday Buddy, Happy 9th Birthday BuddyHappy 8th Birthday BuddyHappy 7th Birthday BuddyHappy 6th Birthday BuddyHappy 5th Birthday Buddy, and Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.


Happy 10th Birthday Buddy


This is my annual birthday post for Levi (though a few days late). If you’re interested, the prior birthday posts are here:  Happy 9th Birthday BuddyHappy 8th Birthday BuddyHappy 7th Birthday BuddyHappy 6th Birthday BuddyHappy 5th Birthday Buddy, and Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.

Hi Buddy,

This one is late by about ten days, for reasons you already know. Sorry. 🙁

We celebrated with a quick dinner out on March 26th. Said a prayer for you. Thought about you. A lot. Talked about what you’d be like if you were here, and what we might be like. Better. The answer is better.

Another year goes by, and this one felt like two years. Maybe three. Over the last 12-months I felt like I lost a lot of your sisters, Royce & Zoe. Something flipped. Partly it was me, and some distance I probably created. A lot of it was work and some of the ridiculousness required in running a start-up. Some of it was selfishness. And, finally, the remainder of it was likely them and the reality of life, and getting older as girls had something to do with it. It’s just not the same when I used to be able to walk around with both of them latched onto my arms.

Especially because of this bridge from Tweens to Teens, you are, by far, my littlest dude now. And if you were here I’d have only another year or two left before the same thing would happen to you. This year would’ve been a really nice year to have you around.

Though, any year would’ve been nice to have you around. Or any day…any moment.

Three months ago I spoke at an event on a topic related to “Lessons Learned in Running Start-Ups”, it was totally unrelated to any personal stuff–or specifically you. But after the event some guy comes up to me and says to me in this great Spanish accent with perfect English, “My friend, you know, I have this feeling that you have this story, and you’re supposed to tell it…and I do not know what it is, but I can just tell. I am supposed to be here, to tell you to tell your story. Maybe you know what this is about, I do not, but you shouldn’t wait. You should not wait to tell this story.” And that was it. He walked away.

This happens to me every three or four months. And has for years. I’ve written about it before, including to you. Someone comes up to me, oftentimes someone I don’t know, and they tell me that I’m supposed to write this book, but they don’t know about what. When this happens, I feel like I can see and hear God. So, I keep working on your book. Not for anyone else, as I can’t even imagine anyone else reading it (save for perhaps a few of my sisters and parents). But I have this feeling I’m supposed to write it for you and me. And, likely, that’s it.

Anyways, I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten–I haven’t, I’m still plugging away and updated a few chapters in the last month. I just need more time. Give me a little more time, little dude.

There’s a gift you’ve given me that I enjoy throughout every year, if it weren’t for you I’d never enjoy it like I do, and in some way it’s as if it’s the moments where I get to experience you vicariously.

When I go running, one of the things I dislike most is to interrupt it with a walk. Usually, I see it as a failure in my run.

However, there’s one time I almost always do it without hesitation–and I enjoy every minute.

It’s when I see a dad playing catch with his son, often off in the distance when I’m running by a park–or around a track. Usually it’s a baseball or football they’re throwing. Sometimes they’re playing hoops. And when I see this from a distance, my running pace turns to a jog, and then a slow walk…and I slow further my steps until I’m still. Turn off my Pandora. Pull the earphones out. Then, I crouch down, hands on my knees, take a deep breath in of the smell of eucalyptus with the dry California air blowing over my sweat. And through the stillness of the air I listen to the two of them in the distance, the dad playing with his son. Sometimes they’re talking smack to each other, in a playful way. Other times the dad is  encouraging his son, or giving coaching. And when I observe the son, he’s usually working hard to please his dad. And he’s enjoying his time, I can tell. I can feel the vibe, and it’s really really cool. I’m envious. And happy.

I sit there for sixty seconds, and I just watch. Nobody else is around, nothing is distracting me, I just lose myself in the moment of watching some guy and his son play ball from a distance.

And, as soon as I came upon it I’m off again. It’s like a sixty second time lapse. I’m always grateful for the experience. Sometimes a little saddened. But usually happy, and gives me a moment of contentment amidst missing you. Wish we could play catch, right now, for five minutes. I’d take five minutes. And wouldn’t even ask for more.

Happy Birthday Buddy. Ten years later…I love you, no matter what.

Still miss you all the time.



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Happy 9th Birthday Buddy


This is my annual birthday post for Levi; if you’re interested, the prior birthday posts are here:  Happy 8th Birthday BuddyHappy 7th Birthday BuddyHappy 6th Birthday BuddyHappy 5th Birthday Buddy, and Happy 4th Birthday Buddy.

Dear Levi,

As I’m writing to you every year I never have anything planned to say. I used to give a lot of talks to audiences and often had a mental archive of anecdotes or stories lined up that I’d pull from, either coordinated in advance or ready to use spontaneously. With something like your annual birthday, I always think to myself “This year I’ll totally have something lined up to share with Levi for his birthday!”

But it never happens, and today is no exception.

I’m never ready for this day, and when it finally arrives I always want something magical to happen. I’m not sure what, but it never quite plays out like I envision or hope. The only real message that I really want to get to you is that I love you. And we miss you. There’s probably a lot in my life that I hope you don’t see, but this is one of those moments where I hope you get to look down and read my annual birthday letter to you. So, here’s a quick update, followed by a story.

Mom did homeschooling for Royce and Zoe all the way up to this year, then we decided to put the kids into school–for a variety of reasons–and they both seem to be doing well. I’m super appreciative of her hard work over many years to teach RoZo. She thinks about you all the time, and I remember just how heartbroken she was–we both were–ten years ago today.

Royce is doing great, she made the middle school soccer team as a 6th grader which was a really big deal! Few kids made it at all, and even fewer 6th graders. She’s such a sweet kid, and is the one who always prays before every meal (even when I sometimes skip it), always organized and on time, never misses a homework assignment (her grades are awesome!) and always less then thrilled when things don’t go according to plan–she likes structure and predictability, and might–MIGHT–have a slight tendency to worry at times. 🙂 Which would make her the big sister that would always be watching out for your every move, and would keep you from ever getting in trouble. She’s beautiful, so responsible and trustworthy, and so incredibly passionate–you would be so proud to have her as a big sister.

Zoe is doing fantastic and is equally beautiful. She’s going to a different school than Royce and has made so much progress–we’re really thrilled. She loves creative stuff, entrepreneurial passions, and cooking shows as her go-to activities. She could watch cooking shows on a Saturday for hours on end without pause–and sometimes does. And is the only ten year old kid I’ve ever met who would look at me after tasting a dish I made and would say “Dad, I think this needs a little bit of caper juice, a dash of garlic salt, and a squeeze of fresh lemon” only to be followed minutes later while preparing some vegetables with an off the cuff statement and say to me “You know Dad, Jimmy Fallon is definitely one of my favorite comedians–next to Ellen Degeneris.”

Zoe’s pretty hysterical, and would be the bigger sister saying “Go for it!” while Royce would be saying “Levi, I really don’t think this is a good idea…” You’d have one sister with expertise on how to get you into trouble, and the other with expertise on how to keep you–or get you–out of it.

So here’s my one and only story for you this year: IMG_0999

A few months ago all of us went away for a weekend to try to get a retreat from the chaos of work and everyday life. One night whilst sitting outside around a fire pit we were talking about a particular issue which escalated and ended in an argument amongst the four of us, though mostly it was just me, Royce, and mom. The argument got pretty intense, and while I don’t think it was altogether different than some arguments and issues that most families deal with, it was one of the more intense and frustrating moments we’ve had in the last year.

Zoe was walking around the outdoor fire pit, and along the edge of the pool, somewhat aimlessly. I didn’t even think she was listening. She was kicking the soccer ball on her knee, dropping it, running off to get it, seemingly completely disengaged and disinterested during this 20-minutes. Finally, when no progress was being made, and the intensity of the argument kept escalating, she decided to jump in.

Zoe turned around to all of us and opened her arms and interjected with a quiet, and gentle voice saying “Okay everyone? Please stop. For a minute. Just stop. Can I say something?”

Surprised, we all turned to her and didn’t say a word. We were all kind of shocked she interjected. Zoe’s fiercely independent, wildly creative, witty as all get out–but rarely interjects and generally doesn’t editorialize. So as we all looked at her she decided to deal with me first and walked over, placed her little hands on top of my big hands, and looked in my eyes and continued.

“Dad, I know you’re stressed out. I know it, and I can feel it.” As she’s talking involuntary tears start streaming down her face, but she didn’t let her emotions phase her for a second and she barely paused for half a second.

So she kept going. “Dad, sometimes when you get home from work and you’re stressed out and you still have tons more work to do, don’t put the stress on other people. And Dad, I know why you do this…Because I do it too. I go to school, and then I have a bad day. I come home, and I’m upset and tense and I get frustrated with people. Or I want to blame someone, or I point the finger and I get angry at people. And then it creates tension. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with you. Or me. Everybody does it. It’s part of being a human. We all do it.”

“So Dad, I want you to be happy. I want you to come home happy. I want you to leave home happy. And I know it’s hard, because you work so hard. I worry that you are always working, and I am afraid someday all the work will beat you down. But then, I know you usually love it and do a good job. So they give you more responsibilities. You get bigger jobs and you run more companies. But then it keeps getting harder and harder, and more stressful.”

“Now you’re working so long and gone so much. And I know it’s going to get better. I know you have done lots of start-ups, and that they always get better and things work out. And when it gets better I know you’ll make more money, you’ll have more people to help out, you won’t have to work so much, and things will be easier. But Dad, even though I know it’s going to get better…I really just worry if it’s going to get better fast enough.”

At this point tears are pouring down her face, not just one or two, but a constant stream. She kept going, without flinching or pausing to even recognize her emotions, and with a steady voice while looking in my eyes continued. “Dad, I believe everything starts in the home. If we can make everything good in the home, then everything else will be great. Work will be great. Your workouts and running will be great. Our time off will be great. Dad, I really mean it. I believe everything starts in the home.”

Then she paused for the first time, and took a breath and raised her expressive eyebrows and said emphatically “And Dad, I KNOW they say that on all the cooking shows. But I really believe it’s true.”

Levi feetOf all my moments with our kids, this one will be among the most memorable. Partly because there was a level of gravitas to the conversation that exceeded anything which I’d ever experienced with her. And partly because it was such an obvious testament to what kids can teach you.

Which pretty much is a metaphor for how I feel about you. I don’t fully recognize, and in exactly what ways, but I know you’ve had this amazing impact on all of us in manners that I can’t fully express or even begin to understand.

Am I bummed you’re not here? Yeah, beyond words. If I could, I’d change it in a heartbeat. But also in my heart, I’d know that wouldn’t be the right thing. I’m certain and trusting that the right thing happened. And that as part of this, I’m still learning something throughout it.

Even if I don’t understand it. Even if I don’t like it.

Levi, my friend…I love you. We all do. No matter what.

Happy 9th Birthday.




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Happy 4th Birthday Buddy

img_34831The reason I write in my blog is to connect with people. Not just from one segment of life, but from many.

And as part of the thread of stories I try to share experiences and observations in leadership, volunteerism, wellness, as well as some stories that are simply personal experiences that fall in none of those particular categories and, might, at times, be more personal.

Today’s entry is one of those. So if the personal aspect is too much, please skip this one today.

I write tonight sitting 3,000 miles away from Erica and my girls, celebrating in spirit the birthday of our son Levi. Who, five years ago today, was born and also died several hours later due to prematurity and a systemic infection that could not be avoided or treated.

Levi, my little friend, I’m not sure if Heaven is wired with Web 2.0, social networking, and blogs along with 802.11N Wifi. Maybe up there you’re on Web 10.0 and we’re just catching up. I’m not sure if you’re yet able to read, if you’re learning to read, perhaps someone is reading to you, or whether you’re even still a youth or not. Somehow, though, I think you will get this message in some way.

Raz Fam celebrating Levi's 2nd Birthday
Raz Fam celebrating Levi's 2nd Birth.

Today I just wanted to acknowledge my appreciation and love for you–especially because I’m on business travel and away from the rest of your family on this special day. I wish you were here so we could celebrate, even if remotely. And if you were here tonight I would call you on a Skype video, sing Happy Birthday to you, tell you how proud I am of you…I’d tell you how I’d take you out for cake and ice cream when I got back home, and we would do the things that dads and sons do–things like wrestle and horseplay on my return visit. We’d probably even break something valuable in the living room. 🙂 But it would be okay, because you would be with me–and I would be with you. And mom would look at us and smile with a look of “You boys…” and Royce and Zoe would be cackling and laughing in the background, all while trying to wrestle with us as well. Levi, we would have had a lot of fun–and I miss you.

Yet, as strange as this may sound, I am certain that God’s got all of those fun activities figured out for you–and more–right where you are.

It is rare that I can look at our family and see only four people; it generally feels like you are missing, and while some of the days that pass make missing you–and what I never got to know of you–easier, never will it be forgotten or a substitute for what a life with you in our family every day could have been like.

So, today’s posting is a simple one.

It’s just an open letter to you wishing you a Happy Fourth Birthday. To let you know that we all miss you so much, and I know we would be so proud of you on this day, yet we also have a sincere contentment that everything works out according to a plan.

It’s just that today, and at this very moment, I really don’t like the way this plan has worked out–even though I know it is for the best.

Happy Birthday my little friend, we miss you so much and I will see you someday soon.



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