My Dear Children,
I stand here as just your father—a man whom you may see much differently than I see myself… In a way only a perfect child can. A man who would pay a great price to be able to see the world through your eyes, to see me as you see me, to find joy in most things, and love in all things. Today is a day set apart for you to honor me, and I stand here, just a man who would be so much less if not for you, to tell you the truth as I see it.
On this day that you honor me, my truth is that I honor you. You have taken a boy and made him a man. You have shown light into the darkness, heaped joy upon sorrow, and gave way to a bright new view of the world through eyes not yet jaded by life’s insanity.
See, the day you were born, I was but a boy myself, wandering alone in the fields of self-pity and self-indulgence. You taught me joy beyond words and a smile in sacrifice, while giving me the sense of direction no compass could provide. Those things you honor in me on this day are the very things you have given me.
The strength you see has come from a place but empty before you filled it. The light of love you see in me has come from a place very dark until you enlightened it. The teacher you see in me has come from the student you have allowed me to be.
I am because you are, and in that, no greater gift could you give me on this day.
My Dear Children, you were perfect the day you were born. You lived without a sense of time, causing me to question its very existence. You moved without a sense of urgency, causing me to wonder why I need rush at all.
When you laughed, you brought a smile where none existed, and yes, even created a laugh where none would have been otherwise. When you took your first steps, you taught me patience. When you learned to run, you taught me even more patience. When you learned to talk, well, you challenged those lessons of patience you had taught me.
Through it all, you knew that I could never stay mad at you, and you forgave me for even trying. Yes, it was you who held my hand and caused me to stand straighter. It was you who taught me that love wasn’t just something you said without thought, and it was you who gave my life tremendous meaning in the simple word which still sends a jolt through my soul:
Yes, Dear Children, your Daddy loves you. I love you when I am trying to teach you something and you look at me like I am crazy. I love you when you decide to do your own thing regardless of how much I kick and scream. I love you when you save a worm from the sidewalk after a rain. I love you when you pick your Mom dandelions from the yard “just because.”
I love you when you don’t call, when you don’t go to bed on time, and when you question the very existence of everything I may hold dear. I love you when you win, I love you when you don’t, and I love you when you could care less as long as you had a good time trying.
I love you when you sing, I love you when you pout, I love you when you root for the Giants or the Yankees just because I am rooting for my team.
I love you when you are who you are, regardless of who I think you should be. I love your hugs, I love that you know your Mommy is the greatest and I love you when you tell me my favorite song is “old.” I love you because you are, and because you are, you have allowed me to be.
So I go about this day taking in the “Happy Father’s Days” and the cards and the gifts. I take them in so that I can let the love they show return. They are tokens, my Dear Children. Tokens of a day when the Universe bestowed upon this lowly man the greatest gift it has to offer. We call this gift your birthday, and in each of those days, we find an example of the power that love itself provides.
A single and childless friend one asked me, “wouldn’t you like to go back to the days when you could just leave when you wanted and could do what you wished?” I simply closed my eyes and saw your faces and replied, “not in a million trillion bazillion years pal.” See, I know when you tell me that you love me “to the moon and back” that you are talking about some moon science hasn’t even discovered yet. I know that because you won’t stop asking me how to get there…
Anyway, thank you for letting your Daddy tell you how he feels and thank you for always telling me how you feel in the many different ways you do. I used to think when changing your diapers, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Why? Well you’ll get it someday, maybe, and when you do, we’ll both laugh at the irony of it all. At least, I hope so.