Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Six weeks old

Dear Son,
Six weeks ago you came bursting into our lives and your mom and I couldn't be happier.

This morning, as I was getting ready we heard you cry and went into your room - your mom told me she had been up almost every hour with you. Here she was again, soothing you - comforting you, and getting ready to change your diaper.

I looked at your eyes and said to your mom "Isn't he beautiful?" She said, "He's just delicious."

Pure love, son. I don't think either one of us knew how much love we had inside of us until we had you.

Six weeks- a lot of nights up (you throw quite an after- hours party) - and we have loved every minute of it with you.

Thank you for being in our lives son. You have made it so much better



Monday, August 30, 2010

Memories and a smile

Dear JJ,

We had a special guest this weekend- your uncle Barry. Ok- so he is dressed in a costume - but it was because of the hospitality of Barry and his wife Debbie that your mom and I met.

A little over a year ago I was invited to their home for a dinner. It was a weekend when I had nothing to do, and seemed like a good idea -- turned out it was a great idea.

Your mom met me at the airport- and well- the rest...

We also are enjoying your smile- and watch your eyes as they focus on your mom, or grandma, or Barry, or the dog, or me. That precious smile was from the morning shift (my turn to watch you)

Six weeks tomorrow, son. Six weeks ago you came into our lives - we are so happy you did, you brought to us so much love and joy. Now we love seeing you smile-

This week is a great one- because you get to meet my parents - your other grandparents. Their first grandchild.

Ok- keep working on that smile- it melts my heart.



Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Month Old

Dear Son,

Today you are one month old - for 33 days we have had you in our lives.

Here is what I don't understand. How can you, this little, tiny, helpless creature bring us so much love?

Your mom and I- instead of thinking about going out - think about what we can do with you. We worry about every cry, we carefully change every diaper. We think nothing of getting up at any hour when we hear you - and every little movement you make, every coo - fills our heart.

It has been an amazing 33 days, son.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Old Clothes

Dear JJ,

This little cap you are wearing in this photo- that was worn by your uncle Ron - about 60 years ago.

My mom, your grandmother, found a bunch of baby clothes that she lovingly washed and sent to you. They are beautiful - knit sweaters, and beautiful garments designed for when my mom had her boys. No doubt you are wearing some of the same clothes your dad wore.

Old clothes represent a connection - one that you have with your family from years ago, and as much as I love how friends have given us so many clothes for you- the ones I value the most are those that your grandma sent to you.

I don't want to rush you son- I value every day I have with you - but someday I hope you are able to use those clothes for your child.

There is a lot of love that surrounds you, son - and now you get to be dressed in it.



Friday, August 13, 2010

The baby whisperer

I never understood the love of a father until your mother and I decided to become parents - and then when you came it has been, like my dad described, a fountain of love.

Your grandmother- Gigi - has shown me the love of a grandparent. Here she is - her husband and son having gone back to China, but she stays here, without complaint, and at any opportunity picking you up, holding you, loving you, and just enjoying you.

Your mom calls her "the baby whisperer" because when you are the most fussy- she can calm you. She holds you, dances with you, kisses you, whispers at you- and you calm down and go to sleep in her arms- and then she looks the most satisfied.

You have a lot of love surrounding you, son. Your life has brought out love from a lot of people -



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Uncle you will never know

Dear JJ,

I know at 3 weeks old you won't remember anything- but today you lost an uncle. Not an uncle by blood- but an uncle by honor.

Today Senator Ted Stevens died in a plane crash in Alaska. He served in the United States Senate for Alaska from 1969 to 2008. He was given the title of being your uncle for a very simple reason: he wanted to give back, especially to those who had the least.

You are 1/8th Athabascan (Alaska Native) - your grandfather (my dad) was the first Alaska Native with a doctorate, and your dad has served on some Alaska Native organizations. But the reason I was able to become a doctor, the reason I was able to serve as Chairman of Cook Inlet Region, Inc (CIRI) and as a board member of the South Central Foundation, and on the Joint Operating Board of the Alaska Native Medical Center - is because of Senator Stevens.

He was a powerful man in Washington, D.C. - and many will say what he brought to Alaska, in terms of billions of dollars was his legacy. But among Alaska Natives -- he gave us a vehicle where we could restore our dignity.

In health care alone- where we had a hospital in Anchorage run by the federal government (the Indian Health Service) - he brought legislation to allow it to be run by Natives. Because of that the health care model we have is the envy of all American Indians. In Primary Care - patients are able to be seen almost any day, and the health and well being of our people is better because of the leadership in South Central -- but that leadership could not have thrived without the hand of your uncle.

Alaska Natives were not just given a handout- under the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act - they were given a mechanism to do more. And when Cook Inlet Region, Inc (CIRI) - where your dad served on the board, was able to give to all of its shareholders that had 100 shares a tax free check for $50,000 -- we owed that to Senator Stevens.

That is a lot. And think about this, son -- the Alaska Natives, when Senator Stevens went into office - in 1969 - the state was 9 years old (your dad was 11) -- and Alaska Natives were the poorest group of Alaskans, and the least likely to vote.

Ted Stevens was your honorary uncle for one simple reason- he embodied what we think is important in life: your life is not for you, but for others -- it is measured not in what you do for yourself, or your friends, or important people -- it is measured by what you do for those who have the least. We have a duty to give back, son -- and your Uncle Ted, who reached a pinnacle of power, never forgot that. As a result- a lot of our blood cousins are able to have great health care, are able to compete in the Western world.

So, you may not read about him until you are older. You may read a bit about him in the history books - but always remember-

Your Dad and your Mom are going to be proudest of you when you give back.

We love you son,


Monday, August 9, 2010

Becoming the best diaper changer

Hey JJ,

Its morning- and for most of the last 20 days of your life, every morning your grandpa and I would sit up with you- sneak a bottle to you, and rock you. Your grandpa and your uncle Peter had to go back to China, so this morning your mom and I had the duty. Thankfully your grandma is still here.

We miss your grandpa and uncle- and somewhere inside you do too. You are starting to notice things.

Yesterday when your mom came in the room and started to talk, you turned your head toward her- you started moving your feed as if to propel yourself to her- and started to fuss. As soon as you mom picked you up and kissed you the fussing stopped.

I don't know if you notice me yet- that's ok- I didn't carry you for nine months. I'm the guy who tries hard to change most of your diapers. Why diapers? Because that is the one thing I can do. Most of the feeding is from your mom, and other than an occasional bottle, I can't help you with that. But I can give you a bit of comfort - and you seem to be fastidious. You notice when your backside is wet! So I vowed to become the best diaper changer I could be - just like striving to be the best surgeon I can be - changing your diaper with rapid surgical skill. Ok- I installed a surgical scrub solution by your diaper changing table.

Odd, if someone would have told me a year ago that I would be working on improving my diaper changing skills I would have wondered what insane asylum they came from. But, in 20 days I've changed over 100 diapers - and am working on making it fast and comfortable for you. Because this is the simple thing I can do to make you comfortable. Amazing, you fuss and cry when your diaper needs changing, and while I am changing it you fuss and cry - then once the new diaper is on you stop crying and almost smile.

Someday son, you will not need diapers- but I have a bigger more ambitious plan. I want to be the best father I can be.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

In laws

Dear JJ,

Took this photo tonight of the Grosshans side of the family. You are being held by your mom, while your buddy Dr. Lucky is watching out for you - as he always does. Your uncle Peter, and your grandparents Gigi and Grandpa George and on the end, your favorite aunt, Kim.

You are going to hear a lot of jokes about in-laws. You are going to hear how many people make fun of them, or grudgingly put up with them. You won't hear that from me.

The hardest part of having your family (my in-laws) here is knowing that they will leave. Tomorrow your aunt Kim leaves- in spite of me trying to convince her to move to Phoenix. Later your grandpa and uncle Peter leave-- and then GiGi leaves. The only other day of my life that felt empty was at the end of February (when they were all here last, and left again). Your family is the kindest, most gentle, easiest people to be around.

They are here to meet you- and to help your mom as she started taking care of you. I am so happy they are here.

So, JJ-- you are lucky to have such a great family. They have loved you for a long time- and now they have gotten to meet you. The next years we will spend going to see them again - as you grow- because they are pretty special folk. That means you will be going to China, and Atlanta (unless they get smart and move to Phoenix). But also to Alaska and Oregon.

Next month you get to meet my side of the family in Oregon, and maybe Alaska - and we are very much looking forward to that.

You are surrounded by love, son - and that is probably because you give off so much.