You two keep us delightfully, exhaustively, sometimes even maddeningly busy. In the future, a thing that when I was a kid we thought of as 20-30 -40 years hence, but a thing that appears to be forever a year away in this time of ever evolving technology, I hope to be able to keep up better with the details of the news. For now I get what I get through imperfect routes to be sure. It’s hard to filter through for what information is important for me to know.
What’s coming through right now is that voices of hate that hope to marginalize and demonize those that are different seem to be growing bold with the increasing wind of public support. Fear not, there are countervailing winds that are stronger, winds that I hope you’ll join us in generating as you grow up and encounter a world of rich and beautiful diversity. I hope you’ll try to recognize all that you have and be appreciative.
You have parents that likely won’t be able to send you wherever you want to go for college and won’t have you in a new car on your sixteenth birthday. We live knowing that the plenty we have is merely where we need to put our resources for now as what’s most important to us is you guys and your well being. We wish we could give you everything you ever wanted, but we know we will never be able to. We see value in that as well.
What we can give you we give easily and freely and it’s us, all of us and all the love we contain. It’s our greatest pleasure giving it to you and these are our golden years as you have not ever thought of witholding it from us. Any contentiousness that might rise between us at your young ages is gone before it could ever settle in and turn into a thing that might feel permanent.
Truth is it’s normal, at least to some degree, to have tense times with your parents as you grow up. You are duty bound to become independent and as much as we want that for you we are equally compelled to hold on to you for as long as possible. The love we feel for you is overwhelming and we can’t let go. There’s perhaps a fear of mortality thing involved here as well, I’m starting to sense. Whatever it is, you’ll be ready to get out in the world and make your mistakes and learn how to regroup and make them again, as many times as you need to, well before we’ll feel comfortable letting you. I bring it up now because from here, driving toward the fire, I have my wits about me. It seems a lot harder to maintain such perspective, seeing the fire as a controlled burn, one that makes the land it decimates capable of sustaining new life as it comes closer. I’m pretty sure it won’t feel that way when I’m standing in the fire trying to keep you from running in, where all the action is, where all the pain and excitement are that I’m projecting onto you, er, the fire.
I’m losing the analogy. Suffice it to say that the teen and young adult years can be hard on everyone. You are all better for getting through them, but it’s possible for us to lose one another there for a bit.
And what a bit it is. Your teen years are amazing. If they’re anything like mine they will contain Odyssey’s that you will look back on with great fondness, experienced with comrades taking similar though specifically different journeys all of which I’m happy to have behind me and don’t want to go back to.
There is a fear that I have that I can’t shake and I want to make sure, just in case this is a place where you ever find me, to address it.
I love you. I want you to find and feel loved. I want you to know that love is what I want for you most. I want you to know that you deserve to feel loved and to love. What I don’t care about is who you find it with, not the demographics of them at least. I certainly want that person to respect you. I will be over the moon if they make you laugh. They should definitely inspire your curiosity. I want you to find love with someone that challenges you to grow and takes unexpected journeys with you. I want you to be that person that sparks a fire for someone else.
Who’s to say what they future holds. I didn’t find that person, your mom, until much later than many others do. You’re five and three and today I saw pictures of my prom dates kids going to prom. It took me a while, but I’m glad I didn’t stop looking. That said, if your love becomes your work or your family or your boundless thirst for experience and adventure or if you find it in stacks of books or making music or walking in the woods, I don’t care, as long as it makes you happy.
And if you find love with a wife and you have a life that looks like ours, with kids and a yard and walking to school and it’s filled with love, I’ll be delighted.
And if you fall in love with a man and you spark and you make a life filled with love, and laughter and experiences that make you feel the world was made just for you, just like this life feels for me, you will find no one in the world more delighted and happy for you than me.
I need you to know because it all emerges at a time, the teen years, when we feel most alone and despite a world, a country that still insists on retracting the progress that is so hardly won for tolerance and acceptance and love please know that I’m for you and will be so proudly and loudly. Whoever you are, whoever you love.