Dear Tyson, Bess and Blake,
I love being your Dad. It’s the toughest job that I’ve ever loved. And calling fatherhood a job isn’t really accurate. It’s really a vocation; almost an obsession or a passion. I need to be your dad! You kids (and your kids) bring balance and purpose to my life; you make it (whatever it might be at the moment) worthwhile and meaningful.
I’m not suggesting that I’m a great dad or even a good one but I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE. And mistakes that I’ve made with you (and there were plenty) I’m trying to make up for with your children. It’s my second chance.
When people ask me what age I enjoyed the most with each of you, I always say “All of them.” And it’s true. I loved having babies (even with colic and dirty diapers) because there is nothing sweeter than baby milk-breath and skin so soft that you can barely feel it with rough dad hands. I can still smell of Baby Magic Lotion® after all these years. I loved you as toddlers and pre-schoolers because watching as you discovered new things each day gave me a renewed interest in learning myself. Plus Fisher-Price® toys rocked! I loved your grade school years – the uniforms, the lunch boxes, the report cards – and papers, papers, everywhere! Memories of Cub Scouts, Brownies, First Communions, Christmas Pageants (um-diddle-diddle-um-diddle-eye!) still warm my heart. I loved your high school years; watching you develop before my very eyes from awkward teenagers into two young men and a young woman. I loved every basketball game, wrestling meet, school play and sports banquet and AFS dinner. At the time I didn’t fully appreciate being your Scout Master or the Chairman of The Booster Club but those experiences made me proud of you then (even if I was only Scout Master or Chairman because no one else raised their hand). You were (and are) so smart; so confident; so beautiful. Your teen years -what an amazing transformation!
Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, you were grown and gone! But not really gone (not gone from me). Gone on to do big things, important things but still carrying Dad around in your hearts (I hope). Your adult years – The Air Force for you Tyson and University for you Bess and Blake. And then marriages and careers and other grown up stuff. Now Tyson you’re a Dad, too. And Bess you’re a Mommy of two. How did it happen so fast?
My happiest and saddest times have been as your dad. My greatest joys and greatest heartaches have come from you. But mostly joy and ALWAYS love. Pure love – dad love. There is something almost primal about my need to love and protect you – maybe its self-preservation. I don’t know, maybe when the first dad (Adam?) crawled out of the primordial ooze we were all pre-wired to protect our offspring in order to make certain our species would survive. Who knows?
What I do know is that you three are the manifestation of the love that Mom and I share. Seems almost greedy – to have a love as beautiful as ours and three remarkable children to boot. But I’ll take it!
And Charlise, Anna and Noah? Well they’re just the icing on the cake!
Peace and love,
P.S. One of toughest times for me was when I moved to Wisconsin ahead of you and Mom and we spent most of that first year apart. This songs bring back that bittersweet memory. (The video is kind of lame but the lyrics still get to me).