Thank you, Michael, my son. You made me a father for the first time.
Thank you, too, for respecting and trusting and loving your mother, and for recognizing inescapably how much she means to you, and to us all.
And for playing big brother with your little sister, the role of a lifetime, and for being ready to do anything to protect her.
And for dealing so well with being just like me, sensitive and introspective, bearing the blessing and the curse alike, because yes, it's both, but which more than the other might be hard to say.
And for never speaking ill of any of your friends, even though you could have, and of your girlfriends, too.
And for your wisecracks, especially that one time, when I asked you if you considered yourself short, and you said, "No, just undertall."
And for how your face looked in the moonlight in Southampton, your eyes beaming as you looked at the stars glittering in the sky, your mouth open in awe.
Thank you, too, Caroline, my daughter. Your brother showed me how deeply I could love someone new, and you've shown me I could love someone else new just as deeply. In a single stroke, you doubled everything.
Thanks for being so stubborn, once as a 2-year-old taking umbrage at me for daring to challenge you and jutting out your jaw and saying, "You think you're tough?"
But also for being so soft on the inside, talking to your dolls in your room, crying at all the classic Disney movies, growing your hair long so you could cut it and give it away to kids going through chemo.
Thank you, my girl, for climbing that boulder in Martha's Vineyard at the age of 8 to sing in front of our friends. You're still every inch a songbird today.
Thank you, too, for how you looked that day I held you in the pool at the beach club, your face so gloriously gleaming with droplets of water in the summer sun.
And for those cherry-black eyes that can win me over or cut me to the quick, depending on your mood that day.
And for being so very alive, your nerves living so close to your skin.
You both came into the world as if from nothing and nowhere. But we know you came from the love your mother and I feel for each other, and our faith in the future. You are both rewards surpassing anything I might ever have imagined or, for that matter, ever felt I truly deserved.
I wish I could catalog every reason I'm thankful for both of you, but nothing I say could do justice to the gratitude I feel this and every Thanksgiving. It never ends, and it never will. You are my butterflies, my rainbows, my miracles.
Bob Brody, an executive and essayist in Forest Hills, blogs at letterstomykids.org.