An Open Letter to the (Almost) 2-Year-Old

Parenthood doesn't get any better than this.

Parenthood doesn’t get any better than this.

Dear Little R:

Someday, years from now, you and I will sit back and talk about this fall in London, and we’ll smile. We’ll grin at all the pictures of you pointing to weather vanes. We’ll laugh at the GoPro video from the London Eye (the one where you are chanting, “London Eye” to the tune of Springsteen’s “Empty Sky”). We’ll chuckle while we reminisce about your obsession with Big Ben.

These are the Big Moments that have characterized our trip so far, the ones we tell your grandparents about in letters and on Skype. And, indeed, they are important.

But they’re not my favorites. Not by a long shot.

No, my baby, I prefer our mornings, the three hours you and I get to spend together every day, just the two of us. We drop your Big Sister off at school. We swing by Molly’s (or another café) for a coffee and chocolate croissants. Then we just hang.

Some days we head up the hill to the playground in St. John’s Wood. Other days we take the bus to Hyde Park. Then, of course, there are the days when we do REALLY crazy stuff, like take the Tube to see the Gherkin, or hop a canal boat tour into Camden to check out those amazing locks (you know how much I can geek out over modern engineering).

I love these “dates” because they’re fun. I love them because they’re relaxing. Most of all, I love them because I get you all to myself.

Nothing against your sister, of course; I had similar solo time with her when she was your age and you weren’t alive. But because you came second, and because she’s here too, alone time with you is rare. That means I’m that much more protective of it when I actually get some.

And so, on the eve of your second birthday, my baby, I say: Thank you. Thank you for making every morning so special. Thank you for willingly joining me on these jaunts around the city. Thank you for being cool about the whole daddy-has-to-stop-and-get-a-coffee thing. Most important, thanks for being such a fun and easy-going partner in crime.

Years from now, many birthdays down the road, you may not remember much of our morning dates here in London, and that’s totally fine by me. I’ll fill you in. Because I will cherish them forever. And I’ll never forget.

Love always,


  1. As a grown up who has a close relationship with my dad (and I still have ‘dates’ with my dad, without my mom or husband or kids), this is so sweet. She will always cherish these memories, even if she hears them secondhand 🙂

  2. Matt Villano says:

    Thanks, Andrea. And thanks for continuing to read my stuff. It means a LOT.

  3. Beautiful and true. I am weepy as I look at my 11-year-old, all legs, baseball cap, and headphones, and remember our October dates riding the double decker bus, visiting the petting so in Clissold Park, and playing at Corams Fields when he was a toddler. Precious time indeed.

  4. Touching!

  5. I love this so much. And your family. I’ll be out in Wine Country in February after you’re back so it’s high time I get to meet the Baby and the Big Girl in the flesh.

  6. stephanie ranno says:

    I love this note, Matt. Brad loves his mornings 2 times a week with Em when our boy is in school. They have special piano time after the coffee stop of course.

  7. SherriNYC says:

    What a sweet post, Matt. When she is older, and can read it herself, she will love that you wrote this to her.

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