Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

My Son (Still Feels Weird to Say That)

Note: I’m taking a break from the 15 Habits Series (we’ll resume on Monday) today to share a short piece I wrote the other morning. It’s an essay about my son, Aiden. Let me know what you think.

My son’s head rises and falls with each quick breath he takes. He is small, the size of a football, although not quite as round. A doll in every way possible.

Baby Aiden Lying Down

My boy, Aiden.

At seven a.m., while the birds sing outside, I type on the keyboard while my son makes chirping noises, his head resting against my chest. My son, chirping. My son.

It feels weird to say those words, much in the same way it felt odd to say “my wife” for months after the wedding. And yet, I looked for every excuse to say it, to prove to the world that this person belonged to me. The same is true now. It’s exciting to have this new title, this new role — and at the same time, unbelievably scary.

My son smacks his lips in a tiny kiss anytime he is awake. I’m concerned about that, the kissing, although I shouldn’t have to be worried for years. I hope.

As far as he is concerned, there are two times worth remembering: sleep time and eat time. If he is not sleeping, then he is smacking those lips, waiting for food. There is, however, a third time that sneaks its way into each day: discover time.

My son is not yet a newborn. He was born four weeks premature, yet without complication. For that, I’m grateful. He came into this world fighting, and I see it in his eyes when he opens them a few minutes each day. They are wide and blue, like the ocean, and he uses them to swallow the world around him.

He can’t see well, that’s what the doctors say (about any baby at this stage). But I don’t believe it. Sure, he may not be able to focus, and the corneas and retinas may still be developing, but my son sees.

I can see it in his eyes.

Every day is a new day for this baby boy. My baby boy. His face muscles twitch and his limbs shake — he is still getting used to this body and the great big universe around him. The irony is I am still getting used to him. This tiny life that brought such monumental change.

I hope the world is ready.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Beautiful boy.  Beautiful post.

    Children are truly a gift from God.  Savor every moment.

  • I love this, Jeff! You get it. As you encourage and train him over the months and years to come, you are building a world changer! You are his advocate. He is your legacy!

  • Congrats again. The awe of your children never leaves. Even on the “bad days”. Enjoy every minute of it. My babies are 11 and 13. I still remember the days you’ve captured above–their smell, the softness of their skin, the sweet smell of their breath. Great job! 

  • Congratulations, Jeff. Your son, Aiden, is a gorgeous wee chap. He sure does see the world around him, and feel it, smell it and everything else.

    I have never had a child of my own, but becoming an uncle last year was the best thing to ever happen to me. To hold my wee nephew, Alfie, in my arms for the first time was amazing, and I enjoy every second of him, especially watching him explore and discover. Now that he has found his voice, I just know it is going to get better and better. 

    I do love the fact that he and I have very similar names: Hadyn and Aiden are pronounced almost the same, especially if you have a habit of dropping the h ;-).

    Much love to you and your wee family 🙂

  • JR Renkenberger

    Your little boy’s eyes – “he uses them to swallow the world around him.” That strikes a chord in me.

    My hobby is photography, and I have told a few folks that my eyes are continually hungry. I honestly don’t know how else to describe my desire to take in and capture the beauty and interest I see in the world.

    Thank you for sharing how you are rediscovering discovery with  your son.  –JR

  • Tracy Brininstool

    Excellent post Jeff!!!  Our daughter is 5 months old and everyday I am amazed how much she impacts me on every level.  Each day that love only grows stronger.  Most days I walk around feeling like my heart is going to implode as there is more happiness and love than I have ever known.  Love for my daughter, love for my husband as he immediately transitioned into this amazing, loving, protective, and very proud father, and just love in general for other people.

    Your son is absolutely perfect!!!!!!!

  • Erika

    That preciousness does not belong to you as much as you belong to him. The power in those tiny fingers and shaking limbs….enjoy every moment.

  • Jeff, I  just came across your blog today, and you already have a permanent place in my reader. Thanks for the insightful posts and great resources! I’ll be coming back often.

    And…your son is beautiful!

  • I love this.  What a precious little babymoon you have! He is beautiful.  It’s all so very scary, wonderful, frightening, awe-inspiring, this first baby-ness and the wonder of it all.  I’m sure you and Ashley are doing a great job in taking care of this precious gift.  He’ll get over the kissing. Enjoy him!  Especially when he’s sleeping and stays where you put him.  Ah, great times.

  • Your son is beautiful, Jeff, and your writing about him lyrical.  I remember well those early days of discovery.  I described just last week in a guest post lying on the grass at dawn one morning so that my older son could show me the rainbow in a drop of dew. ( https://shanjeniah.com/2012/06/01/your-soapbox-awaits-presents-elizabeth-anne-mitchell/ )

    My sons are now 19 and 20, but my awe at their sense of discovery remains as they continue to learn and to find the focus of their impact on the world.

  • It’s like a poem.  Enjoy and wonder! 

  • “And yet, I looked for every excuse to say it, to prove to the world that this person belonged to me.”  I love this, Jeff.  He IS yours…He will bring you joy and, yes, pain.  But every moment he will be loved, and he will teach you more than you can ever imagine.  Congrats, my friend.

  • This made me teary-eyed. It seems like yesterday that I was holding my daughter in my arms for the first time.  Today we are celebrating her 1st birthday.  Treasure these moments… They go by so quickly.

  • Wonderful piece, Jeff. What a precious gift you’ve been given. And you know what? No matter how old he gets, he’ll always be your baby boy. He’s gorgeous, by the way 🙂

  • JamesPrescott77

    Thanks for sharing this Jeff – very touching, very authentic and powerful. Thank you.

  • Diane Rivers

    Ah, Jeff.  Don’t you marvel at how your one heart can hold so much love without exploding?   

  • There is nothing sweeter than to hear a proud Dad gush about his child. Great work!

  • Sweeeeeeeeeet! 

  • louise Behiel

    What a sweetheart, Jeff.  Parenthood is the most amazing journey. Whenever Aiden starts making you crazy (and he will) pull out this post and this picture and read it and remember…Thanks for sharing this momentous occasion with us.

  • “A doll in every way possible”, “the size of a  football”, “chirping noises” — all wonderful descriptions of a newborn baby.  This is a wonderful post on the miracle of a baby.  

  • Being a parent is the greatest blessing EVER. It doesn’t always feel like it, but it is. And it flies by, so snuggle every chance you get!

    And thanks for the 15 Day Challenge and all the encouragement. You’re doing a good work 🙂

  • Jeff, He is absolutely precious. And so is your essay. I’m sure you will have many, many more essays to come in the future.

  • Simply Beautiful! Congratulations on this new journey. It’s a definitely a wild ride but one that compares to nothing else! Thanks for sharing this moment and part of your life.

  • You echo some of the same feelings  I had as a new dad a number of years ago now. Scary is the right word. But beyond scary, I also discovered God-given instincts  I never knew I had. I’m sure you will too.

    You capture well these precious moments and first days of life for your son. Being called Dad is a gift, privilege and amazing duty.

  • Anne Winz

    I have a son. He’s 19. He just finished his freshman year at the University of Central Florida. He doesn’t live at home anymore. He only stays here when school isn’t in session. So he says. Inside, I die a thousand deaths when he says it. Outwardly, I cheer for independence. 

    He’s an engineer. He loves to solve problems because he’s wired that way. His younger sister wants to grow her faith so large that she will help end slavery in her lifetime. My son is planning now to get a job that pays well because he understands that someone will have to fund her ventures. I smile when he says that. 

    Today, I look at your son’s beautiful picture, and I smile for you. He’s your gift to the next generation. Hold him, hug him, love him. Love him well. Your post shows that you’re off to a great start. I wish you well.

    • elise

       Beautiful Anne…Can so relate to the joy and agony of releasing our children. My third graduated from college a couple of weeks ago. One more is home for one more year…I beam with pride and gratitude, I cry with joy and missing.

  • He is precious. What lovely thoughts about YOUR son. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Lynne Hartke

    Welcome to the awesome world of Raising Boys to Be Men.

  • Awwww, I’ve got prickly tears in the corner of my eyes and a big goofy smile on my face.  You continue to enjoy every moment…

  • Congratulations Jeff!

    He seems like a replica of you :)Enjoy each moment of Aiden as once time’s lost it never does return 🙂

  • Congratulations on being a father, collecting these moments is the real meaning of life:) God bless the family.

  • Our first was a month early. You’re bringing it all back. Getting a little choked up. 

  • Jhhitchcock

    Yesterday my son celebrated his forty-third birthday. Your post created flashbacks to the day he entered our lives. I don’t know your feelings about God-stuff, but in my heart I know that relying on Him (the Higher Power you mentioned in you inspirational gift?) has infinitely magnified the similar ones that overwhelmed our hearts forty-three years ago.
    In the world of free advice, may you raise you son with an even greater passion and energy that is obvious in your writing.

  • He’s so cute, Jeff. I don’t think anything quite changes your sense of identity like becoming a parent. Congratulations!

  • Tammyhelfrich

    Love this. There is nothing like discovering and watching the world cone alive through your child’s eyes. It’s magical.

  • Such a beautiful son, and such a beautiful tribute to him.

    Take some time next week to print this and have it beautifully framed.  Go ahead and wrap it like the most precious gift, then place it someplace safe.  You will know when the time has come to share it with Aiden.


  • I love your style with this new topic for you. Enjoy every minute of Aiden.

  • Awwww . . . what a beautiful post, and a beautiful son!!!  Beautiful writing, too.

  • Beautiful.  My eyes were watering the whole time reading this.  Brought me back to when my son was born.

  • I am so very happy for you and your family.  My son is now 23 and on the other side of the world, and I  enjoy every stage of his growth and seeing him become a responsible young man.

  • JulieGubler

    Children are gifts even more precious than writing. 

    I think they are wonderful from conception to college. Probably beyond as well, but I don’t have experience past that.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • The parenting blessing continue to grow with each year, no matter how many years go by. Then they give your another miracle – grandchildren.

  • Kelly Darke


  • These feelings of rapture will never fully go away. It may change as he and you grow older together, but the miracle has already been placed in your hands. I don’t know how people who don’t write can stand all the emotion that is inside of their souls.

  • I too have a son; he’s 40 now.  Married and a grandpa.  But I still remember the times you describe and you’ve done so beautifully.  My best to you, Aiden and his mommy — for days full of discovery, hope and love.

  • elise

    So exciting Jeff! One of the most wonderful parts of raising a child is being in on the discovery and adventure of every moment. They rekindle that in us. Even your Aiden reminds me to take in every moment. Every day brings exploration. Joy!

  • septemberanne

    You know you are a writer when – You are able to take a break from a writing series to pen an essay about the new and amzing gift in your life.  Beautiful Jeff.  You will discover a whole new life – together.  Save this -it will be the beginning of a whole new series.  🙂

  • Maebee

    Beautiful baby; Beautiful words…you touched my heart…congratulations to you and the mom.

  • As a father of 3 girls who are growing up crazy fast, enjoy these moments. The feeling of your own little miracle sleeping on your chest is a sensation that is too powerful to put into words. Before you know it, Aiden will be going off to kindergarten.  Enjoy this little blessing.

  • This is a beautiful post, Jeff. So happy for you!

  • Kelli

    This is beautiful, Jeff. Brings back so many memories. My own sons are 24 and 20, and I have a daughter who is 18, but it seems like just yesterday they were just starting to discover the world around them. I still love watching them do that. That never changes. Always learning, always discovering.

  • Lisa R

    My sons are 12 and 15. You truly get it, Jeff, and I know your joy will increase as the years progress. What a beautiful tribute! I

  • Cecilia

    Great post Jeff. Have a good weekend with your family! =)

  • There is nothing sweeter than a father and child. I’m a sucker for the combo!  I cannot wait until my boyfriend and I are officially married (in Serbia my visa is listed as “common law”) and have kids.  We both want it all just trying to make sure a couple other things are bit more stable first. I cannot wait!!  He’s absolutely precious!!! And Aiden is a beautiful Irish-Scottish name for that destinctive red hair it looks like he’s got. :))  Congratulations on Fatherhood!!!

  • Oh my gosh. You just made my baby fever even worse with this post! Lol. 

    But seriously, Jeff. Beautiful post. And beautiful son. 

  • That was beautiful, Jeff. I think you’ll like being a Dad. I think you already do.

  • Count it all joy my friend. He is beautiful and perfect. There is nothing made that was not made by the Divine Creator and Lil’ A is a gift still being unwrapped. Congratulations.  Take care of that beautiful family! 

  • My daughter is fourteen months old. It’s easy to forget, in the hustle and bustle of the everyday, that she was once as small as Aiden is. So tiny. So fragile. So dependent. Sometimes I’ll look at her, as she’s running around–because, holy cow, she RUNS now–and I can’t believe that I ever carried this giggling bundle of energy in my womb, that I once lived for those times when I could feel her getting comfortable inside me, stretching her arms and legs and making my belly expand and contract like my own personal Cirque du Soleil performance. 

    It also easy to forget, in the hustle and bustle of the everyday, that you NEED to remember every moment, cherish it. Because it go by so fast. Because one day Aiden will be fourteen months old…and then, before you know it, fourteen years old. 

    Keep on cherishing him, Jeff. Keep on recording your fledgling days of fatherhood, before the little things you do for him become commonplace and you stop thinking about them. Parenting is exhausting, amazing, nerve-wracking, and life-changing. Enjoy your beautiful boy.  

    • This was a great reminder to be present. Thank you.

      • I second all of that!  Mine are now 15, 12, and 10, and I wish I would have known more about presence then, and that I could have back some of the baby moments I wished away. 

        And what a great gift this post will be for him to read when he’s grown someday and maybe holding HIS son or daughter for the first time…

  • He is so beautiful Jeff.  Brings me back to the days when my girls were that size (twins) and now they are almost 2nd graders! Amazing!  Enjoy this new adventure.  It is quite a ride full of “Aliveness” moments of every color and flavor – the Good Stuff! 😉

    • thanks, amy. trying to enjoy each moment.

  • ria

    I am so happy for you Jeff! Aiden is adorable! Much love to you and your family! <3

  • soulstops

    Thanks for the update on Aiden…I was wondering how he was, and how you and your wife were adjusting.  What a gift!  Blessings 🙂

    • thanks. we’re doing great! tired, but good. 🙂

  • stephmarks

    What a beautiful baby boy and such a sweet story of the short time he has been in the world. As a grammi of three amazing grandsons (and a granddaughter joining them in September), my only advice is enjoy and treasure every moment. They grow up very quickly. Blessings to you and your family!

  • Yes. He may not focus yet, but he can see. And they help us see everything with even better focus than we may have thought possible. Congratulations again, and enjoy your son 🙂

  • I’m sure someone has already said this in the 83 comments before mine, but babies can see, it’s the comprehension of what those shapes and colours mean that they lack and I think doctors perceive this as ‘not seeing’ and are too busy to take the time to say that so just say ‘babies can’t see’ instead. My son loved watching ceiling fans from a couple of weeks old – lucky our house is full of them!
    This is a sweet piece. Sometimes you have to write out your feelings to make sense of them all – particularly at a time so crazy as this.

    • great point, Kirstie, and thanks for clarifying.

  • Congrats, Jeff

    a lovely short story too. I wish you and your family all the best

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

  • Stephanie Ortenzi

    god bless .. he’s gorgeous .. health & happiness to him & the whole family

  • if only i could take him out of the pic and kiss him. such a cutie. congratulations to you and your wife jeff!!

    • he is, if i do say so myself, quite kissable. 😉

  • Caroline Everson

    It might feel weird, but I bet it feels awesome!

  • Jeff – 
    I read this with that ache in my chest – an ache that appears anytime I feel something real enter my being. I could feel your love and concern for your son, Aiden – but mostly your love and awe of him. I am so happy for you and your wife. I Hope that Aiden will continue to absorb the world, without complication.Monique

  • AnnGMorrone
  • Congratulations! He looks just like you! Sons are amazing, I have two and every day I am amazed by how wonderful they are!

  • AnnGMorrone
  • Alannah Mozisek

    When our son was about three months old, a lady behind me at a bookstore checkout said, ” I am going to give youa gift that someone gave me when my son was small. Every chance you get, stop and REALLY look at your child, feeling their warm little body curling into yours, smelling baby smells , stroking the soft little head or cheek or toe then close your eyes and make a “heart picture”

    That was almost 32 years ago, he just found out he and his wife are finally pregnant after over five years and I can still pull up my “heart pictures”. Enjoy every second with your little angel!

  • Pattyfolk

    Dear Jeff,
    The love of a parent for a child is beyond expressing in words; only understood through the experience in real life. Aiden is precious! Savor all the days and months and years ahead, while you can still hold him your arms and cuddle. those memories are still so cherished by me, after forty something years!

    And through my childhood memories of my Father, my most cherished are of the times when he tucked me in at night with a kiss and blankets tight up to my chin! Snuggle times to last a lifetime!

  • Wendy Claussen

    Oh, Jeff…he is beautiful! I look at him and just feel the love well up inside of this fairly new Grandma. My grandson arrived 6 1/2 weeks early back in December. Blood clot in momma’s umbilical chord. Only 2 1/2 weeks in NICU, so I raise my arms in praise each time he has a “new” development. His aunty (my daughter) caught him on video rolling over for the first time the other day. Oh, how I praise Jesus for saving that little boy!!! Your little Aiden is so precious. Give thanks to the One who created him and “saved” him!! 🙂  Your son (SON…that word will change you forever) is a lovely little dude!  Parenthood—a royal honor indeed!! 🙂 May God bless you, your wife, and little Aiden always. Hugs to all of you!!!

  • What a beautiful post! Congratulations on your new baby boy. Years from now, he’ll read this and know how much he is loved, even in these first few days when you’re still getting to know each other.

  • Sharon O

    He is adorable. Our first grand daughter was 2pds 11oz so I know when you say he is tiny, he is very small. Out of six grand children four were preemies. 

  • Cindy Ash

    Your son is absolutely beautiful.  And I feel that same crazy sense of disbelief when I say “my daughter” or “my son” — and my children are 9, 6, and 4.  The best thing about being a parent is growing up with them.  Savor it, and congratulations to your family.

  • pastordt

    Lovely, lovely writing, Jeff. Congratulations, best wishes, many prayers – and enjoy every minute. Because it does go by fast. Doesn’t seem like it now – but…it’s true.

  • I love the wonder in your voice.
    Blessings on your family.

  • Beautiful Jeff! 

    My daughter was 6 weeks premature and my son was 4 weeks. They’re 2 and 8 now. I miss the days of them in their crib, watching them explore the world during a feeding, a diaper change or that little cry they made when they woke up. 

    Enjoy this time as much as possible, they truly grow fast. 

  • Pingback: A Tribute to Fatherhood « Smile()

  • Hala Nobani

    I congratulate all your readers, from now on we will be enjoying a different writing style,  for sure parenting will change you, will increase love and pation in all your writings  Bless Him