Tober Two and the Two Vaughns

Vaughn and Vaughn 2008

Today is my Dad's birthday.  As a little boy his Mom gave him the clever saying "Tober two" to remember his birthday, and it's one of my favorite things to say...tober two, tober two, tober two...

A few weeks ago, on the 12th of September my Vaughnster turned four years old.  We were in a whirl of traveling, and coastal beaches and sand, and I had no computer access that day to write him a birthday letter.

So, because these two Vaughns are such important people to me, and have in many ways shaped me into who I am as a person and a Mother, I thought I would take the evening to share some things that I love about them.

Ten things I love about Dad:

  1. He used to rock me and sing me to sleep when I was a baby.  This might be one of my first memories as a child, though it's hard to say-- but I very vividly remember laying against my Dad's chest as a baby, and the sound of his heart thumping, his breathing, and the tha-thump, tha-thump of his pat against my back while he sang.  I am certain that my love of music stems from him taking the time to sing to me.
  2. He knows it all, without being a know-it-all.  As a child I used to think that he was a genius, because there didn't seem to be a subject that he didn't enjoy talking about and discussing, and that he didn't know so much about.  He always has a pile of books he's reading, or trying to get to, and seems to retain so much.  I love that he wants to share what he's learning with those around him.
  3. He instilled in me a deep love of nature.  I have so many memories of hiking, camping, climbing and backpacking trips in some of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  He used to get so excited laying his maps out on the kitchen table before trips, and planning out our routes.  
  4. He reads and writes poetry.
  5. He becomes passionately interested in a subject, and learns everything he can about it, and becomes so immersed in it.  I can name so many things that he's become interested in, and how interesting it's made our family life-- gardening, chess, dreams, painting, recumbent bikes, bread, foam clothes (that one was really interesting, and involved bright neon green bulky foam clothes), sailing, dehydrating food, coupon shopping, woodworking, and many many more).  It's so fun being one of his kids, because we all get to "go along for the ride," and learn so much from him.
  6. He doesn't care at all what other people think about him, and in fact might even delight in someone disagreeing with him, or not liking him.  I really wish I had this quality.  Maybe with time...
  7. He tells really funny jokes and is a great storyteller.  Another strong memory I have from childhood is my Dad telling us stories before bedtime.  My favorite was Jack and the Beanstalk, and Hanzel and Gretel.
  8. He married my Mom and is a good husband to her.  They always went on dates on Friday nights and spent time nurturing their relationship.  I never doubted their love for each other. 
  9. When I think of the word sacrifice, I think of my Dad.  He could have been anything he choose in life-- I really believe that.  Early in his career, he made a decision to go with a job-path that wouldn't bring him as much money, but much more stability and time with his family.  He's had a very successful career, and has gone far, but I would say that his family is his truest success.  He's been to everything important in my life.  He's taken the time to go on special outings with me, to have more long conversations, and discussions than I can count.  He has set the example to me of what it is to be committed to your family, and to the desires deepest in your heart.  
  10. He still makes volcano and lava sculptures with his mashed potatoes and gravy.  :-)
I love you Dad.  I hope you had a great birthday and a great year ahead of you.

And now for my Vaughn:

Dear Vaughn,

Last night I was reading through a journal that I had written in right before you were born.  I wanted to share just a bit of that journal entry with you:

I'm 40 1/2 weeks pregnant tonight.  My due date was on the 3rd.  I can feel baby Vaughn Clay Harris moving around inside me.  
I feel so excited to be able to finally hold him and see him for the first time.  Rick has been calling him the "Vaughnster."  He's so excited to be a Dad.  I'm so excited to be a mother.  I remember when I first found out I was pregnant.  It was right after Christmas.  I wasn't sure I could be pregnant because we had just started trying to get pregnant 2 weeks before.  I was at work and decided to get a pregnancy test just in case.  While I was waiting for the results to show up I remember praying "please let me be a mother.  I promise we'll do the best job we can."  When I looked down and saw the word "pregnant" I was filled with pure joy.  I couldn't believe it.  I was so excited I jumped around in the bathroom as quietly as I could.  I was beaming.  I immediately told everyone-- Rick, my family, and his family and even everyone at work.  When I saw Rick after work he asked me what I thought it was and I said a boy, and he said he thought so too.

It has been such a joy to be your Mom, Vaughn, from the moment that I first found out I would be a mother, to the long hug you gave me before bed tonight and the kiss you gave me on my cheek.

I feel so grateful to be your Mom, and am amazed by the many strengths and talents that you have.  You make me laugh every day, and are filled with such creativity, playfulness, love and concern for others, and imagination.  I adore you.  

I also feel such gratitude for you.  You are teaching me along the way what it is to be a mother.  I am so grateful to learn from you, to play with you, and discover with you every day.

I hope your fourth year is the best one yet.

All my love,

The morning of Vaughn's fourth birthday at Vodoo Doughnut in Portland
(he choose the bubblegum doughnut)