Dear Oscar, Edgar, and August,
It’s Father’s Day. And while I know you are many years from fatherhood yourselves—if, in fact, it is something you ever choose for yourselves—I want to take a moment today to tell you about your father, what makes him great, and why he is worthy of your emulation.
You are all so young, and you may not remember the specifics of his day-to-day interactions with you. The memories you will hold onto will be flashes, snippets of experience; and when you each walk away from your childhoods it will be with less the individual stories of time spent with your father and more a sense of him—who he is and what he means to you.
And though it is my fervent hope that one day you will take the time to read the volumes of words I have already written to you here and those I will continue to write to you here and elsewhere, if you read anything, please read this.
There are many different ways to father, to be a father. Some are taciturn, but they are strong and you always know they’re there; some may not be as physically present as they might like to be because economic necessity dictates they work long hours to provide for their families; others are just as silly as their children and are the constant go-to playmate of their own children and everyone else’s.
Your father, first, is a kind man. He is smart, he is devoted, and he puts your needs above his own—something he instinctively did with the arrival of you, Oscar, our first son. After meeting you at the hospital when you were just hours-old, he called his mother, your grandmother, and asked: “Mom, how can I have just met someone and already be ready to give my life for this person?”
He is funny—his voices, not to mention the nicknames he comes up with for each of you, are legendary. He makes you laugh. He is a master of deflection and knows when and how to turn childhood irritability into a robust round of belly laughs.
His love of music and the premium he puts on education and on travel flow through nearly every experience of your childhood—whether he is writing a song for you to perform in a recital (and taking the stage by your side) or planning our latest family adventure—large or small—he knows what music can do for the soul and what education and travel mean to your futures.
Your father is also responsible and has a work ethic beyond compare. He is someone you can count on. If he says he is going to be at your concert, he will be; and on the rare occasions when he can’t, he will explain to you why and come up with a plan for you to spend time together.
He also has the power to say “I’m sorry” and mean it; he is a gentleman to everyone he meets, and he treats me, your mother, with the utmost respect. He is genuine, honest, and, perhaps most significantly, he’s here—every day, without exception. He gets up early, works hard, and comes home every night—with an ear and a heart ready to hear all about the day’s events, about your accomplishments and the things that concern you.
He is your father—and in my estimation, he is the father the likes of which every child deserves.
Of course, I cannot and would not tell you you must or should become a father, and I certainly cannot tell you what kind of father to be; but what I can say is no matter where your life’s journey takes you, remember your father–who he is and what he stands for–and take his goodness into every aspect of what you do.
When you are given the gift of a good father, it is the least you can do.
All my love,