Musings of the Chronologically Challenged™ Fourth Generation
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
When I read the following essay, besides the awesome skill with which the writer composed his thoughts, what struck me was how this father's letter might inspire others in his situation. From reading personal blogs over the last couple of years, it appears a lot of single parents in pain are journaling their emotions. The father who wrote this masterpiece has generously agreed to my request to let me post it, anonymously, perhaps to be an impetus to other parents separated from their children to also write a "future letter." This writing explains the pain a parent of divorce experiences better than anything I've ever read. Some day, this will be meaningful to the child beyond dad's wildest expectations.
UNSENT - FOR NOW ...........
Hey you… it’s your dad…
This is the first letter I have written you in a long time. While we do talk on the phone often, I have always encouraged you to write more. I should hold-up my end of the bargain, though, so I thought I should lead by example.
I am writing because I want you to be able to read and understand. Later on, if you begin to question my faithfulness to you, you can pull out this piece of paper and see my words. I hope they will restore your trust.
This is indeed a hard letter to write, and I am torn between using big words full of meaning, and toning down my words and making them simpler and easier. I am already caught-up in the emotion of the content, though, and I want to make sure you read this a few times over. I want to make sure you hear my words when you read my words.
Being a parent is a hard job, and no matter what anyone thinks, parents do make mistakes. We are not perfect, and never will be perfect. We are human, and we have to learn from the times when we don’t get things quite right. Ultimately, learning from our blunders will lead us to happiness, and we all deserve happiness.
There are things I regret doing, and lessons I have had to learn the hard way. But, I want to make it clear; I will never regret having you (and your brother) in my life. Before you came along, I was walking around in circles, making the same dumb choices again and again. The day you were born, I knew I had to change. That day was the best day of my life.
Sometimes, like you, I get sad. I wish things could be different, too. I am sorry I am not there everyday. I am sorry I miss your daily grind, the times when you need your dad around. I am sorry I am not there to giggle over dinner, and then help with your school projects. I am sorry I am not there to read to you like I used to when you were small, but I know you love to read on your own now, and that makes me happy.
I am sorry that your life is chaotic. I never meant your life to be so negatively influenced by decisions your mother and I made. I am sorry you feel alone sometimes, and I can hear in your voice you are lonely.
I am sorry I am not there to teach you guitar, and share music with you. We have such similar tastes, you and me, and I feel like I had a lot to do with your passion for all-things-musical. One of my favorite memories of you happened this Christmas, when I gave you your new CD player. You don’t know this, but I sat and watched you sing to yourself for an hour afterwards. It made happier than I have been in a long time. I guess I feel like if I showed you anything when you were younger, it is that a passion for anything, especially music, can save your heart when it’s in trouble.
I am sorry for the lost seconds and the lost moments and all the things we should be sharing together. You have to know, though, that I couldn’t be prouder of you than I am at this moment. This is a tough time for all of us, but more you than any of us. Your heart is so big – bigger in fact than anyone I know. You are so giving and genuine, and we could all learn from the way you show you care about each of us.
Buddy, I am so proud to be your father.
While I love you and your brother equally, you and I have always shared an unusually strong bond. It goes well beyond father and son, and is so special that I cannot describe it the way I should. Our connection reminds me very much of my relationship with my dad (your grandfather). Although sometimes we butt heads, I am well aware he loves me more than anything and would do any thing for me. You are doubly-blessed, though, because you have us both… two generations of men who love you wholly and unconditionally.
The last few years have been difficult for us all, but I think hardest on you. You care so much and love so hard; you want everybody to be smiling and happy. I wish I could make this transition easier on you, and somehow assure you it will all work out. I am afraid I don’t have any really good answers as to when the hurting will stop, but I can tell you I know it will lessen with time… and love. Time rolls by whether we like it or not, but you and I are luckier than most… we both have plenty of love to spare and share.
I want you to know I love you very much. Even though your mom and I aren’t together anymore, doesn’t mean you are loved any less. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact. I am now, and will always be your father, and your mother will always be your mother. We do not have to live together to love you. The good thing about love is that it knows no boundaries and isn’t limited by distance. Love between a father and son doesn’t diminish ever, and the things that make us special now will be with us forever.
There are things that happen in this life we can never prepare for. You can never prepare for missing someone, no mater how hard you try. You can try to make things better, though. When you get lonely, you can think about all the fun times you have had with the person you miss. You can listen to your favorite songs. You can read a book you once shared. You can pick-up the phone and call. You can plan the next time you will see them. You can sit down and write them a letter. You can send them good thoughts. Then again, you can just simply love them really, really hard. Somehow, I believe they will know you’re thinking of them…
That’s what happened to me today. I got up this morning thinking of you, and wanted to let you know just how much you’re loved.
I will always be here for you, no matter where “here” is. I know its not very cool to talk to your dad about some things, but I will always listen if you want to talk. I will try my best to be your biggest supporter in whatever you do. But, I will also always be the father who lets you know both the good and the bad. I will constantly want the best for you, and I promise to tell you I love you often.
Remember our laughter, and be reminded of just how much your dad loves you.