Ben Ha Jr.

Ben Ha Jr. at 1 year old. 

“And she loved a little boy very, very much, even more than she loved herself.” – Shel Silverstein

I recently reread a letter that I wrote to my son. I drafted it on the eve of his first birthday and typed it out with one hand on my keyboard and the other cradling his chubby little body.

Now that he’s 12 years old, I’m more aware that time is a wheel set in perpetual motion with no option to go backward.

I cling to the milestones, meaningful moments and all the precious ones in between.

He is and will always be one of God’s most joyful blessings to me.

Amid my reverie, I realized that what I wrote then are things I still want for him now as I strive to raise a humble, kind and conscientious young man.

My dear son,

Today, you turned one. ONE!

You’re just a baby so you have no idea the power of the love I have for you, but I hope you can feel it.

When I look down at your face and you’re sleeping so peacefully in my arms, I realize that you are home. And, along with your sister and your dad, you are my home, too.

One day, you’ll be a big man with your own ideas and opinions. But, along the way, I’ll try my best to teach you without suppressing your own unique character. In the end, I hope you’ll become someone who is happy with himself each morning when he looks in the mirror and each night before he goes to bed.

May you one day be a gentleman who always opens doors for people.

When it comes to making promises, make sure with all your heart that you keep them.

Don’t listen too closely to what other people say or pay too much attention to what they have.

May you offer your coat when you see that someone is cold.

Give freely, especially to those you love.

Go big on the diamond, but not so big that it robs the ring of its class.

By all means, get down on one knee to propose – even when it’s pouring rain. I mean it.

Be the kind of man your daughter would be proud of and your son would want to grow up to be.

Live by the motto of the great-grandmother you never met: “If I can help others by making their lives easier, then I’ve done my job.”

And, at the end of your journey, may you have no regrets.

But for now, as long as you still fit so perfectly in my arms, I promise to love you and appreciate you every day I’m lucky enough to have you.

Congratulations, son.

You’re one, Baby Guy. ONE! We love you.



Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

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