I wrote this to my son when he was four years old. He’s now thirteen and over the last nine years I’ve tried every day to keep these words in mind. I’ll share them with him when he’s ready to understand. It won’t be long.
One day, you will understand what soft is. You will understand what clean smells like. You will understand tenderness.
You will understand what it’s like to be protective. You will know what it’s like to have another person be completely dependent upon you. You will look in the eyes of your child and see unconditional love, trust, and devotion. You will feel those things too. You will feel real responsibility for the first time. You will understand how unconditional love can make every problem you have disappear.
You will understand what it’s like to laugh, and cry, with pure joy. You will understand how innocence can be compromised, and how it can heal. You will understand how to give love at times when it is needed most, and at times when it’s not needed at all.
You will understand the power of triggered memories. Memories like feeling the breadth of a small soft back with just the width of your hand. Memories of story time, of simple books with simple truths and snuggling in fuzzy pajamas. Memories of love expressed effortlessly through the greatest hug in the world from a four-year old. Memories of small voices calling you in from another room just to say, “I love you Daddy.”
You will understand the contentment that can come from holding a small hand in yours as you smell the sweetness of spring in the air, run through the park on a summer day, walk through the autumn leaves, and pull a sled up the hill one more time.
You will know why time is precious. You will understand that you will not live forever, that the things you find joy in now will change, that you need to make time for them when they present themselves, for they will never come again. You will look around you and appreciate all that you see changing before your eyes.
You will long for the time when play was all that mattered. When make believe was more powerful than reality. You will see things come alive again through the eyes and in the hands of your child, and wonder will overtake you once more.
You will understand how having the rest of your life ahead of you can change into days that pass as minutes. You will wake up one day and take stock of your life. You will ask yourself “What is my legacy?” And you will answer yourself based on how you are living your life. You will realize how little things can be significant and how seemingly big things are not.
You will understand the sacrifices that were made, the unpleasant decisions, and the hard line that was drawn. You will understand why there were rules, and you will make your own, based upon what you have learned.
You will understand much of what you do not now understand. And you will look back and be grateful. You will want to call, you will want to just sit and talk. You will want to spend time again, just being with your Dad.
You will understand why I sometimes look at you with a wistful wet eye, and smile.
You will understand what it is to be mature.
You will understand what it is to be a father.
You will understand what it is to be a man.
Submitted by Paul DeLuca. http://www.pauldeluca.com/writenow