In no particular order …
And excepting the obvious and unconditional love for you, my first-born …
1- Your general wealth of knowledge.
2- Your integrity and the pride I feel for who you are when I’m in your presence.
3- Your mechanical and technical expertise.
4- Your patience with my lack of mechanical and technical expertise.
5- Taking photographs with you.
6- The family traditions we share.
7- Watching you accurately guess every single gift in your stocking.
8- Knowing we’re once again sleeping under the same roof.
9- Listening to your stories.
10- The unmistakable sound of you blowing your nose.
11- Your advice – cheerfully given – about almost any topic.
12- Reading The Night Before Christmas with you.
13- Watching The Santa Clause and happily anticipating all the best lines.
14- A full table on Christmas Day.
15- The anticipation of seeing your face at our door.
16- Trying (again) to blow up the air mattress so it doesn’t deflate (see #4.)
17- Enjoying the full effect of four boy banter.
18- Listening to George Winston, Carole of the Bells.
19- Speculating about what our next car purchase/lease should be.
20- Hearing about your dream car and all the reasons it was okay for you to lease such an expensive vehicle.
21- Remember when-ing about baseball at the field, camping, and the year you didn’t go to sleep until 4 AM Christmas morning. (Santa was exhausted that year.)
22- Leaving for church an hour early so we get seats for the Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve.
23- Following the luminaria lit from downtown to home on Christmas Eve after church.
24- Holding your hand during the Lord’s Prayer.
25- Coloring on Christmas morning.
I love you and I hope you can feel it … all the way from far, far away.
Thank you for your service.