Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fatherhood, as I see it

Again from our private "Sparky" blog, I wrote a letter to Sparky I wanted to share. It sort of summarizes how I feel about having a son, how I hope he approaches the world, and what kind of world it is.

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Sparky:

The ultrasound has left little doubt that you are indeed a boy. When Mom and I found out last week, we were elated! We really wanted a boy.

As your Dad, I need to tell you a few things I think will help you. Most of it is in the form of advice, but there will also be a couple of warnings, and a few rules to live by.

First, I am already so very proud of you. Mom and I are lucky to have the privilege of raising you! I can't put into words how much we love you, even now, 4 1/2 months before you are scheduled to arrive. I have waited 43 years to meet you, son. That's a long time... you'll learn just how long, soon enough.

You are about to embark on a major journey. I won't promise you it will be magical, amazing or fun, because honestly, it will be what you make it. That's how life is. It won't always be exciting, you won't always be able to do what you want, and there won't be dessert at the end of every meal.

You will get bruises, cuts and scrapes. You'll poop your pants. You'll bump your head. That's the way it goes. Be ready and be brave.

You will go to school. You will have to work hard. There will be victories and disappointments. That's also how life is. One thing is certain, you will learn more from your failures than your successes. Be open minded to any opportunity for learning.

You will probably go through a phase when your parents seem stupid to you. Most assuredly, we are not. You will ask questions like "what have you done for me?" The quick answer is, we made it possible for you to be. Never forget that. Be respectful, even when you don't feel like it.

You will eventually have to pay bills. You will have to obey laws. You will wash your own clothes and cook your own food. That's the way it goes.

Son, you will come to love many people during your life. Without exception, love is the most important thing you'll ever experience. Love usually comes when you least expect it. It heals, sometimes hurts, and it endures. A Mother's love is the most pure thing you will ever experience. Savor it and always keep her close.

Be open with your emotions. Sad things happen and it's okay to cry - the greatest men in the world do it. Happy things will make you cry, too.

Don't waste a single opportunity to tell someone how you feel about them. Tomorrow is never a sure thing. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I could turn back time and tell someone I loved them one more time. There is no time machine, so make the most of every opportunity.

Money matters, but it isn't everything. You'll need it to make your way, but it won't make you happy. Again, that's up to you. No material possession can dry your eye, hug your neck or kick your butt when you need it.

Be proud of yourself, son. Be your own biggest fan (you may have to nudge your Mother and me aside). You're a good and smart person. It's okay to think so!

Open the door for women. Wave at neighbors. Smile a lot. Respect your elders. Keep an open mind. Accept people for who they are, and place value in what they offer. Be kind to animals. Be kind to the Earth.

Listen.

And finally, there is something called the Golden Rule, and if you remember nothing else I teach you, remember this: treat people the way you want them to treat you. In life, you get what you give.

At first blush, this may not sound like much fun. Again, it is what you make it. When you do the right things, you will be rewarded. Life's pretty fair, all things considered.

Your Mom and I, your teachers, your friends and family... can only do so much. Most of it is up to you. And honestly, it's far more fun and satisfying that way.

Thank you for being my son. I love you.

-Dad

5 comments:

Russ said...

Brilliantly stated Dave.

Someday they do get it and they understand. As the father of a 24 year-old who took "the long way" to maturity, I assure you... they do get it eventually.

Your words are wise, and would be well taken to heart by all.

Nichole said...

Dave, youre going to be the best dad! Grayson is so lucky to have you and Em as his parents!

Diana said...

That was GREAT! Beautiful! Thanks! (....now I have to go redo my eye makeup...) ;O)

Bill Clevlen said...

Dave,

What a great letter. Very touching. Who the hell would have thought you were capable of that? LOL Just kidding.

Congrats and best wishes for your family..

Bill Clevlen

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

What a great letter.