MULKEYTOWN, Ill. (BP)–Dear Daniel,
Although your life began nine months ago, only a couple of weeks have passed since you made your debut in our world. Your mother and I over the past few days have gotten a good look at the little guy who has been kicking and hiccupping inside her for so many weeks.
We were so thrilled finally to meet you and welcome you into our lives. And your very presence has repeatedly prompted a question in my mind: How can you love someone so little so much?
As I’ve held you in my arms during the wee hours of the night and gazed into your blue eyes as they’ve darted around the room, I’ve thought a lot about your future and the dreams I have for you. I want to tell you about some of them, so one of these days you can read this and know a little of your father’s heart.
My parents and I had and have a great relationship. I hope ours will be the same way. I know there will be difficult days ahead, and that your maturation process won’t always be blissful. There certainly will be days when you’re not too crazy about me. And I’m sure there will be times when I’ll feel the same about you.
But no matter what the future holds, I want you to know that your daddy loves you more than you can possibly imagine.
My dad and I played a lot of catch when I was growing up. Those were special times to me, as baseball was often the glue that cemented our relationship. He taught me how to hit and throw and field. He taught me how to read the standings and box scores in the newspaper. We spent countless hours watching baseball games on TV. He got me started collecting baseball cards.
I imagine we’ll do many of the same things. I’m so looking forward to those days when we can play catch in the warm summer evenings and talk about the events of the day. Your Mamaw Lyon noticed your long fingers and thought they’d be quite suitable for playing the piano. I quickly pointed out to her that they’ll be much more useful throwing split-fingered fastballs.
I’m excited about watching you play little league baseball, and taking you to your first big league game. And I’m ready to teach you about so many intricacies of the game — things like the double steal, the hit-and-run, the squeeze play and hitting the cutoff man. Baseball has many joys to offer, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
But as much as I want you to love the game of baseball as dearly as I do, I also dream of something infinitely more important and worthwhile for you. I want you to grow in the grace and knowledge of your heavenly Father, who — amazingly enough — loves you even more than I do.
My prayer is that you’ll be a man of substance similar to your biblical namesake, who uncompromisingly stood for what’s right even when it meant risking his life to do so. Daniel was a man of principle, courage and faith, and my greatest dream is that you’ll be like him.
Welcome home, little slugger. We’re so glad you’re here.
Tim Ellsworth writes a weekly column for BPSports, at BPSports.net.