A Letter To My Children-2012

Dear Children,

It is May 7, 2012. We’ll celebrate my 43rd birthday on Wednesday and I have to let you know that I haven’t made as much progress as I would have hoped or liked to. It is not quite like last year but it is not where I want it to be either.

If you asked me to try and describe what things are like for me I would tell you that there are moments where I feel like a gladiator. It is just me against whomever and whatever is placed in this cage.

There are moments where I feel like you are all standing on my shoulders and I am walking underwater, fighting to keep your heads above the flood waters that are rising. Don’t feel badly about this and don’t praise me either.

This is what I do. This is what I signed up to do. I crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s. I signed my name and jumped feet first into the fire knowing full well that I knew everything and that I knew nothing

When I told you that we were going to sell our house you both cried and begged me not to do it. You yelled at me and said that it wasn’t fair. You told me that there had to be a different way and asked why I wasn’t crying. You told me that because I wasn’t emotional I didn’t care.

I Did Care

That wasn’t true. I did care and I do care. It hurt to sell that place more than I can tell you.  I have been back there twice. I drove there at night and sat outside. I stared at it and remembered a million things.

I don’t have to list who was made in that home or how many first memories there are. You won’t really appreciate some of this until you get to be a bit older and I am ok with that. Truth is that I am not writing this part for you as much as I am for me.

That is because your old man is frustrated. I wish that we would have sold it sooner. I think that we could have avoided some of the crazy moments that we have been through now but I also know enough to know that I can’t say that with any certainty.

It is like when you ask me whether I could have been a doctor or a lawyer. I could have and I still could. Forty-three isn’t old. I have a lot of time but that is not how I want to spend it.

And that is the lesson for this moment.

You can’t control everything that happens to you. You can’t ever plan for everything. That old line about “shit happens” is more accurate than anyone likes to admit.

Go read My Great Sadness and or Four Generations & A Wedding. Read Eight Years Later or Streets of Philadelphia. Those posts talk about burying one of my best friends, the time I had to fly cross country because your grandfather lay dying on a ventilator and the time I had to tell my grandfather that my uncle has died.

You can’t possibly imagine how hard it is to tell a parent they have lost a child. You never forget that. I only wish that my grandparents were still here to see you two. I only wish that grandpa and I could sit on the porch and talk like we used to.

Forever Young

You may look at the first section of this post as being self indulgent but that isn’t the purpose or reason. This is me, this is dad trying to reach out to you from across time and say that there is so much to learn in life that it never ends.

It never ends and I never want it to- neither should you. There should always be a list of thing you want to learn about. It shouldn’t be a list of things that I want to teach my children but things you want to learn.

Find your passion and go after it. Figure out what makes you want to wake up and go get it. Remember that life is a journey and don’t get caught up in the spiderwebs of muck and mire.

Yeah, things are hard now. It is not a secret but they aren’t as bad as they could be and they will get better because we are making it happen. Don’t expect the cavalry to save you. You know that I will always be there and that if you need me I will find a way to help but don’t rely upon it.

Rely upon yourselves and lean on each other. Trust in your ability to figure it out. That is part of how I know things will get better because I have seen it happen. I have made it happen.

Get a little more life experience under your belt and you’ll see. You’ll also see that time takes on new meaning. A year or a few bad years won’t be as big a deal. It is not great but it doesn’t have to define you.

You define you. You set your own rules. You figure out what you want and go get it.

One More Thing

I don’t know where we will be or what we will be doing when you gain access to this but I know that we will be different. I hope that one of the differences is that we have all become who we want to be and are not what life made us be.

I love you more than you know and I always will,

Dad

This is part of Just Write, #34 and Yeah Write #56.

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