Dear Son or Daughter,
I apologize for not knowing how to introduce this letter. I’m writing this to you long before your mother and I will try to conceive you. You don’t exist in this world just yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent a fair amount of time thinking about you. I haven’t shared these thoughts with anyone yet, and I wanted to tell you first. Not even your mother knows that I’m writing this, so lets keep this between you and me for now, okay?
Your mother has been asking me to have a child (that would be you) for a while now. The part of her that people call the Biological Clock has been ticking very loudly for her, and for the past year I’ve told her that I am not ready. This saddens her, as she wants to meet you pretty badly. She and I have talked about you (or at least the idea of you) in length, and she understands now when I say I am not ready to be a father.
I’m sure you are curious as to my reasons why, and to be honest, it took some time to figure it out for myself. I don’t expect you to fully understand this until you are in this position yourself someday, but the main thing is that bringing a child into this world is a huge responsibility. Your mother and I are still pretty young, and there are times right now where we have trouble taking care of just ourselves. Life has given us a few lemons, as the saying goes, and I want to make sure that we can at least provide you with some half-decent lemonade before you come along.
The other big reason, I’ll admit, is a purely selfish one. I like the relationship I have with your mother right now, and I want a little more time with it being just her and I. I want to be able to enjoy some of our younger years together, to build our life to a point where the only thing that we both feel is missing from it is you.
I want to make sure you know that my saying “I’m not ready to be a father” doesn’t mean that I don’t want you, my child. The thing is, I do want you. Contrary to what your mother thinks, I want you pretty badly, too. Sure, my heart strings might not get as strong a pull as your mother’s do when we see a cute baby at the mall or while eating dinner out at some restaurant, but it still happens.
You see, I want to feel you kick and hiccup while you grow inside your mother’s womb. I want to hold you just after you are born and feel my life change. I want to look at you and see that you have my eyes and her nose. I want to help you learn to crawl, to walk, to ride a bike, to drive a car. I want to sit through tea parties and make blanket forts and scrub the crayon off the walls. I want to ground you when you do something wrong and reward you when you do something right. I want to watch you grow up faster than I thought to be possible. And yes, I want to worry constantly about your safety, and I want to be the one to provide that for you as long as you’ll let me. I want everything that comes with the privilege of being your father, whatever that might be.
So, with all of that out of my mind and down on paper before you, I hope its not confusing to you why I still want to wait a little while to meet you. It took me a good long while to make sense of this all, and now that I’ve got it all written out, I‘m still not sure it‘s right. What it all boils down to is that I may be an adult in the eyes of the world, but I feel that I’ve still got some growing up to do. I want to be as good a father as I can be to you, and its going to take me some time to get there. If you don’t understand that now, I know you will understand it someday.
Be it with sugar and spice, or with snaps and snails, I love you wholeheartedly, my child.
Your (at-some-point-to-be) Dad
Image credit: Adam Ciesielski, SXC
Michael Goodwin is the author of the mildly-acclaimed humor blog, The Badass Geek. He lives in Maine with his wife Nicole. They don’t have any children… yet.
18 thoughts on “I’m Not Ready To Be a Dad”
Coming from someone who had a child at 18, I understand this letter. This is very honest, and heartfelt, and totally not anything I pictured you writing. You’re going to be a fantastic father some day. In a sense, you already are.
I loved this when I first read it as a post on Mike/Badass’ site. It’s amazing and so honest….and just lovely.
and “mildly-acclaimed” what does that mean? Badass is a guru in my corner of the blogging world!
I just type them the way I get ’em. That’s the way the Geek sent it to me!
I know it’s three years on – but I just wanted to say what a superb blog post. One i’ve linked to here. http://thefatherlife.com/2009/06/16/im-not-ready-to-be-a-dad. If you’re interested, we’d love your two pence worth on that thread! 🙂
This is very poignant and beautifully written as usual. Moonspun is right, Michael’s ‘Badass’ blog is a legend within the blogosphere. His child, when he and Nicole eventually have one, will be very lucky.
I loved this post, my friend! “Mildly-acclaimed”? Hehehehehe. I knew you wrote that.
So honest and so sweet.
It touched my heart that it actually brought a tear to my eye as i only now understand what my boyfriend has been trying to say but sadly i am pregnant now and he is not at all happy and is really not ready for our child that is is on its way. I wish i had read it this much sooner then i would of sorted out our situation and when he would be ready we could of tried again. Now i have lost him and put him through so much and he will never forgive me for what i have done by keeping our child. I do hope and pray that one day he will see that our child is a gift and no matter how hard we try to ignore it they symbolize us in so many ways.
Thank you for sharing such a beautiful letter with us, a lot of women should read it before trying to talk their boyfriends or husbands into having a baby.
Thank you for this article. I needed this. Now.
This is a beautiful article, but admittedly somewhat disheartening. Men constantly claim to not be ready for a child, but do you guys honestly think we women are honestly ever truly ready, either? No one can be. No one can know what’s really in store, as each child and each parent’s relationship with that child is different. I just don’t think men comprehend how strongly we women fear the alternative. Men can logistically have children practically until the day they die. With women, it’s completely different. We have a ten year gap when society tells us it’s acceptable and medicine tells us it’s safe to have children. And the fear of missing that gap is overwhelming. Each year you guys put it off feels like ten for us. 31 may as well be 71. And when you have these life long laundry lists if things you want to do, we women are left wondering if you’ll ever be able to pencil a family into your lives. That all being said, we share a lot if the same apprehensions as well. I don’t want my life to be consumed by my devotion to my future children, so much so that I am forced to forfeit the good thing my boyfriend and I gave going now. But you make time. You make time for a family and you make time for one another. You don’t let one another be consumed or defined by that one role, when you live in so many others. That’s why it’s meant to be a partnership, so you have someone to steady you when you feel yourself veering off course.
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