ORIGINALLY Posted on June 19, 2011
Vivid in memory are the emotions I experienced just after you were born. The day after you arrived I wrote in a journal about the joy I felt, the gratefulness within for you being ‘normal” with the proper number of fingers and toes, the awe that filled me for life and the hopes I had for you. I described your birth as “the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed” and also wrote “No child could be more wanted or more loved.” Those thoughts have aged sweeter as time has clicked by.
Frequent have been musings of how I could have been a better Father. Had I not chased with such vigor the emptiness of dysfunctional illusion, success and money I could have been there for you more. There were too many of your games I missed,weekend outings that never were and small events at school that were big happenings for you when my presence was missing. I never did build the treehouse I promised you.
Your Mother and I went our separate ways when you were sixteen which took you hundreds of miles away. One of my deepest regrets is your high school years when seeing you only every couple of months I became a sideline spectator of your life. Yet, as I mature and learn I have come to know regrets past making sure you’re aware of them, have no good purpose.
There are so many wonderful memories I have of your growing up. No child has ever been more curious about the world than you. You never crawled and began to recklessly walk at 7 months old. Such determination you have always had!
In school you did well and had the respect of most of your teachers. You made good friends and some of those relationships are healthy and thriving today. The only time you ever really got in trouble at school was through protecting a friend from a bully. How the game of hockey worked when you started to play at seven was unknown to me, but no father was ever prouder than I was to watch you. The lessons that came at you in college were hard ones, but you learned from your mistakes. I can not begin to express my admiration for your determination and stick-to-it-ness to get the education you wanted.
On this father’s day I hope these borrowed words express clearly to you the feelings of my heart and the wishes of my soul.
Until you have a son of your own… You will never know the joy beyond joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass on something good and useful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to see.
We live in a time when it is hard to speak from the heart. Our lives are smothered by a thousand trivialities, and the poetry of our spirits is silenced by the thoughts and cares of daily affairs.
And so, I want to speak to you honestly. I do not have answers. But I do understand the questions. I see you struggling and discovering and striving upward, and I see myself reflected in your eyes and in your days. In some deep and fundamental way, I have been there and I want to share.
I, too, have learned to walk, to run, to fall. I have had a first love. I have known fear and anger and sadness. My heart has been broken and I have known moments when the hand of God seemed to be on my shoulder. I have wept tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
There have been times of darkness when I thought I would never see light again, and there have been times when I wanted to dance and sing and hug every person I met.
I have felt myself emptied into the mystery of the universe, and I have had moments when the smallest slight threw me into rage.
I have carried others when I barely had the strength to walk myself, and I have left others standing by the road with their hands out stretched for help.
Sometimes I feel I have done more than anyone can ask; other times I feel I am a charlatan and a failure. I carry within me the spark of greatness and the darkness of heartless crimes.
In short, I am a man, as are you.
Although you will walk your own earth and move through your own time, the same sun will rise on you that rose on me, and the same reasons will course across your life as moved across mine. We will always be different, but we will always be the same.
This is my attempt to give you the lesson of my life, so that you can use them in yours. They are not meant to make you into me. It is my greatest joy to watch you turn into yourself.
To be your father is the greatest honor I have ever received. It allowed me to touch mystery and to see my love made flesh. If I could but have one wish, it would be for you to pass that love along.
I love you,
You are my son-shine.