An Open Letter To My Teen Children
author: Brad Spear
posted 28 March 2010 in Family
2 comments / tags: children, father
What is it about children that makes a father adore them?
We are all just accidents of our own conception. Like your mother and me, every parent rolls the dice and must either take or reject what they are given. We had almost no say in what you would be, or who you would become. You are who you are, unique individuals, and we are here only to nurture and teach you, and to try to bring out the best in you. Our task is to prepare you for the pleasures and pains of your own lives, and maybe someday, your own children.
And surely you are a burden. From even before you were born as your mother and I started preparing our home for your arrival, you were a financial drain. Your birth was painful for your mother, and by proxy, for me. You have been a constant drain on our money, time, and emotions since then, and I certainly didn’t have these gray hairs when you were newborn. And now as teenagers, we have already spent more time on you than any other animal gives to their own offspring.
Yet I love you. You were not the creation of my hands nor someone I chose to love. You are an actual part of me and I could no less cherish you than the winds not blow or the sun not rise.
My son, my first born. I see you become more of a man each day, getting ready to take your place in the world and to start your own life and your own family. But as you grow I also think the frightening thought that you are only a few months away from learning to drive. And while I don’t agree with your choice of music or how you wear your clothes, still you make me proud with your intelligence and imagination. Getting on the honor role is no small thing.
My daughter, I see how you have grown confident (though you may not think it) and how smart you are in school — that straight-A report card was a joy to see. You have your mother’s face, but my nose, and for that I’m sorry. But you have grown into that nose, and more importantly, into yourself, and I see you become more beautiful each day. I dread the day when some special boy will win your heart and take you from me. But until then I can still feel a father’s pride and love when you put your arms around me and hold your head to my chest, and while I am still the only man in your life.
I remember when both of you were born and I could hold you in one hand. Neither of you will quite fit any more, but it has been a thrill to watch as you have made your way through life’s bumps. You have left your childhood behind, but your journey into adulthood isn’t over yet.
It’s sad to know we have had our share of shouting, of anger and frustration. At times you have done things that destroyed my trust in you, but always you have earned it back. You have learned better ways to act, both in public and in private. When you talk I can hear how your knowledge of the world has increased. And while there are many other new experiences that await you on your journey, know that I will protect you as long as you need me. And even when you no longer need me, I will still be there to support you.
I see in both of you the promise that my father once saw in me. I hope I have fulfilled that promise, and I look forward to watching as you fulfill your own. May you not make the same mistakes I have made, may you live long lives but feel forever young, and may you live your lives in happiness.
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Comment by Lauri Maltby on 30 March 2010
Beautiful. If only I had been half so lucky with my parents.
Comment by Jan Wheeler on 28 March 2010
What a wonderful message! Your children and Your Wife should be proud of You.