This letter is from Aunt Nichole. (Philip's sister).
I asked Nichole to write something about how Bennett has effected Philip's life, and the Daddy/Son relationship that has blossomed between Philip and Bennett over the last year.
When our first daughter was just a baby, a group of friends/family was visiting us. Philip was at our house as well. We were all downstairs visiting and, via monitor, we could hear the baby upstairs babbling to herself in her crib. After a little while Philip disappeared. Shortly thereafter, we could hear him talking to the baby very sweetly over the monitor. Of course, someone had to press the monitor’s receiver button and alert Philip that we could hear this sweet encounter. The monitor was abruptly shut off from upstairs.
Fast forward five years…
Anyone who watches Philip interact with Bennett can see that he is UNABASHEDLY IN LOVE WITH THAT BOY—and he doesn’t care who knows it! If the monitor scenario were to play out today, Philip would not care who could hear him loving on his son. Having a child gives you absolute freedom to love someone else, and this is very evident in Philip’s relationship with Bennett.
When Philip is anywhere near Bennett, it is as if his sole purpose in life is to make that little boy laugh. (Who can blame him? It is quite a laugh!) Philip throws Bennett in the air with Bennett doing a triple twist (making the heart of every mother in the room skip a beat) with Bennett cackling the entire time. If there is a sofa anywhere, you know Bennett is going to be tossed against the back of it, laughing the entire time as he rolls down to the seat. It is an absolute joy to be around Philip when he is with Bennett (well it’s always a joy to be around Philip, but you know what I mean). It is especially fun to be present when Philip is reunited with Bennett after any length of separation. Philip’s face just lights up and he can’t wait to get Bennett in his arms where he can nuzzle foreheads with Bennett.
Bottom line: I don’t think becoming a father changed Philip. It is more as if becoming Bennett’s father gave him permission to do what is in his nature; that is, to love unabashedly.