Before he was born, I wondered how I could love another child as much as I loved my daughter, who was three at the time. I worried because I knew I would not be able to give him every ounce of attention as I had been to my daughter the last several years. She is all girl, but definitely a Daddy's Girl as well. There was also something different about having a son that I didn't fear when I had my daughter. I feared he would be like me. I wasn't the strongest kid on the playground or the smartest kid in the classroom, was shy and timid at times, and my feelings got hurt easily. Of course, I feel I have overcome these hang-ups (and then some) as an adult, but I can't quite shake the concern that one day he's going to find out how much he may be like me, and hate me for it.
I will say that raising two children is not twice as hard as raising one, but exponentially more difficult. The feeding, changing, bathing wasn't new and as welcomed as when we just had our daughter to care for. Even after my son was born, I felt like he didn't much care for me at first. I can't remember exactly when that changed, but I can remember a couple of months ago setting a ball cap on his head that I was wearing, and playing Peekaboo with him. He pulled the brim of the cap down over his eyes and pushed them back up and just giggled. He got such a kick out of that. He looked so much like me in that ball cap that I just wanted to say "That's my boy!"
I'm proud of both my children, of course. My daughter is in Pre-K now and is writing her ABCs and talking to me about what she did at school each day. I'm especially proud of my son, though, because he's my son. I've come to the realization that I will always love him no matter how much or how little he turns out to be like me, or how much he wishes he weren't like me. He is a Hampton, and from a long line of hard-headed, hard-working, soft-hearted men.
Happy Birthday, my son. I love you.