I wish I could say I love absolutely everything about you, but it’s almost everything, and that’s plenty. It’s hard to get it into words, as hard as anything I’ll ever do. But I’m going to give it a go and try to get you your due.
So here goes.
I love how you made me a father for the first time, and how beautiful you looked as a baby, and then as a boy.
And how you felt in my hands as an infant, all rubbery and squishy and floppy.
And how your face looked in the moonlight in Southampton as I carried you outside the cottage we rented, your eyes beaming, your mouth opening in awe, as you looked up at all the stars glittering in the sky that night.
And how much joy you gave Grandma Nettie and she you, and how many words you must have picked up from her as she cared for you because let’s face it, the woman never, ever, stopped talking.
And how relieved you looked about an hour after we gave you the pink medicine for all your earaches, the pain finally gone and no more need to cry.
And how you watch a movie with such focus, because you, like me, believe with all your being in the stories movies tell — just as you do, actually, with professional wrestling.
And how you respect and trust your mother, how much you love her and recognize inescapably how much she means to you, and to us all.
And how you love your sister, how you admire her tenacity and ambition, and would do anything for her, protect her against any threat no matter how large or small.
And how you keep your own counsel, savor your solitude, because you’re entitled to your privacy and your personal business is yours and yours alone.
Shall I go on?
I also love how hard you make me laugh, how you’re the funniest person I know, how I’ve almost cracked my ribs laughing so hard. And how you can impersonate Christopher Walken talking and even that cricket sound the creature in “Predator” makes. And how once, after someone asked you if you consider yourself short, you said, “No, just undertall.”
And how smart you are, how fast you absorb facts, how deftly you assemble knowledge into something new, a true sign of intelligence, because I believe what’s really important is less what you know or how much you know than what you make of what you know.
Oh, yes. And I love how well you deal with being so much like me, because it’s a blessing and a curse, and hard to say which more than the other — and believe me, I would tell you if I knew because I’ve lived as me a lot longer than you’ve lived as you.
But now let me tell you what may be the all-time number-one reason I love you.
I love how you came into the world as if from nothing and nowhere, but how you really came from us, from the love your mother and I have for each other, and from our fundamental faith in the future.
And how you gave me someone new to love, someone I could call my own, blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh.
And how that love is absolutely bottomless, how just as I one day believe I love you with all my heart, the next day I discover myself loving you even more. And how, even with you now 35 years old, my love for you keeps growing and growing, on and on into infinity, bringing rewards beyond anything I ever imagined.
So now you know once and for all. Then again, maybe you knew all along.
Bob Brody, an executive and essayist in Forest Hills, is the author of the memoir “Playing Catch with Strangers: A Family Guy (Reluctantly) Comes of Age.”