It’s Monday night and the house smells like brisket. Your mom and I have started making more hibernation food. We had a long fall but it took a sharp turn a week ago, and right now it’s dumping down snow. You don’t seem to mind. We asked you this morning what you wanted for your birthday and you said, “pizza and cupcake” so that’s what you got. Your version of hibernation food, I guess.
You’re a full contact kid, B. You’re gigantic, which helps, but in the time since my last letter to you, you’ve developed this new physicality and confidence. It’s the best. You move furniture to create makeshift ladders. When I threaten to tickle you, you say “no!” and then, instead of fleeing, you set your shoulder and run right at me.
2017 has been a hard year for the world. Your mom and I quit our jobs to build the business because we saw too many ugly things happen. We saw people being hurt and we felt like we had to do something about it. We work with leaders to help them understand what their job is, how they can make their world better and fairer and more thoughtful. We help them take accountability for what happens in it. Often at night, after you’re asleep, your mom and I will sit in the living room with a drink, and check in. Are we doing the work we want to be doing? Can we see the impact? Do we have the energy to do more? So far, the answer is always yes. Your mom and I are working hard, but we think we’re doing stuff that matters.
This year has beaten a lot of people up, but it’s galvanized many of us, too. Before 2017, I think smart people could congratulate themselves for seeing that the world is not black and white, it’s full of grey. That’s true, B, and important to remember. But you can lose yourself in the grey. You can get comfortable not having a point of view, not taking sides. There are things worth fighting for and sides worth taking, Beatrix. I hope you’ll be proud of the sides we take and the fights we choose. I hope that, by the time you read this, it’ll feel like those fights are far away and long-settled. And I hope that I’m around to see what issues you take up as your own. Punch up, not down, B. The world we want doesn’t emerge from the grey on its own.
I should go. Your mom is pouring wine and I’ve been re-reading this letter over and over, as I always do. I don’t think you’ll be in your crib much longer. You’re too strong, too tall, and too independent to let it hold you in. Your favourite foods are grapes, rice, cauliflower, brisket, and soup. You put ice cubes in your milk for some reason. Last week you learned to say, “I love you.” And every time you hear the door, you run up excited in case it’s Lily.
Love you, B. Happy birthday.