A Letter to My Son, on Our First Father's Day

Since I was a very little boy, I have envisioned what my son would be like. As age brought me (at least the appearance of) maturity, I realized that it was entirely possible that I wouldn't have a son. Maybe we'd only have daughters, or maybe my wife wouldn't even want children. Perhaps I couldn't have them. These thoughts didn't distress me. I knew all the above mentioned were possible, but I also knew that someday I'd have you.

I didn't know your name. I didn't know what color eyes or hair you'd have, but I knew that someday you'd be here. And I knew, long before I ever met you, that I loved you.

Now you are here and all my childhood daydreams are coming true. I get to put into practice all those lessons from my Mom and Dad, as well as the laundry list of things I swore, "I'll do differently!" Now that it's all happening, I see that the list of lessons is growing longer and getting much more use than my "differently" list. Something I'd like you to take note of, and remember I told you, is this:

My Father gets smarter the older I get. If you'll watch closely, yours might too.

This first Father's Day was full of reflection, what I'd like to say to you, what I should say to my Dad etc. etc. The most important thing I got out of my Father's Day reflection is that whatever I want to say, I should say it as soon as possible. As men, we have a tendency to not say how we feel or how much we care, because society (and our inner caveman) says that makes us weak (and fodder for the t-rex's). At the risk of a t-rex attack, I'm going to share with you some of the things I want to say to my Dad (and maybe will get around to someday).

Thanks for the prayer. -- You've done a lot for me. There are things I wish you'd done more (or less) of but the one that I know you filled your quota on is prayer. I know because I'm alive, healthy and whole mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Thanks for the love. -- Mom's are for nurturing, or so the world tells us. I got plenty of love, support etc. from Mom, but that doesn't make yours any less significant. Since you were the primary "discipline giver" that made praise from you that much more meaningful.

Thanks for the whippings. -- There weren't many, they weren't beatings, but they got the job done. They also made it clear to me that you can love your children while still telling them no...strongly.

Thanks for the respect. -- I know in your eyes (and Mom's) that I'll always be your little boy, but when I look in those eyes lately, I also see that you see the man I've become. Inexperienced, untested and still a little immature, but I'm YOUR man, just as I am your little boy, and I see that I make you proud. That makes me proud.

So, there it is, son. The things that I should say (often) to my Father. Hopefully, you'll be the kind of man that never leaves things unsaid, but if in 25 years or so you find that you are more than a little like your old man, write me a note and send it to your son, maybe he'll do better.

I still have daydreams, but now they're more about what you'll do than about what I'll do. I thought it might be nice to throw a few wishes your way on our first Father's Day. Maybe there's some magic out there just for us first-timers.

I wish you a great love. -- You are a tremendous joy in my life, but your mother was here first. She'll still be here after you've moved on to your own life. She is my friend, my cohort, my confidant and my great love. May you be lucky enough to find yours.

I wish you a great mind. -- Intellect is too often mistaken for intelligence. I hope you are educated, but I pray that you are wise. Wisdom will help you find the other things I wish for you, and keep you away from things that would get in your way. May you be wise beyond your years, until you are wise because of them.

I wish you a great imagination. -- Wisdom is wonderful, but if you can't see outside of the box, it won't take you far. As a child, imagination entertained me when TV and toys fell short. As a man, it enables me to glide away from the mundane and endure the unbearable. It also doesn't hurt your career. Think freely, and believe in yourself. May you imagine the world you want to live in and make yours more like it.

I wish you a great friendship. --I've been blessed in my life with many friends, but to have a great friendship is worth its weight in gold. Cherish your friends, like you cherish your treasures, loves and yourself. Don't let miles and years separate you from it. Maintain it, and it will always be worthwhile. May your friendship be as deep as the one you are named for.

I wish you a great spirit. -- My relationship with my Creator is not what I wish it was. I overlook Him, reschedule Him, stubbornly disobey Him and always feel His presence anyway. Thinking about it, it's a lot like my relationship with my earthly father. I want you to be close to me, but you need to be close to Him. May you pray without ceasing, and walk with God as a friend.

Son, I'm a procrastinator. I'm prone to selfishness and self-absorption. There will be events I'll miss, milestones I'll overlook, but here on our First Father's Day, I remembered to write you. Someday, you can return the favor.

I love you, son, and always will.