Monday, 18 June 2012
Letter to My Sons
My dear sons,
I'm writing this letter the day after Father's Day 2012. It was the last Father's Day before your arrival. By this time next year, your dad will be beaming, no doubt! He has been talking a lot about you guys. Sure, he's excited about his girls, too. But, I can tell there's that much more to his anticipation when it comes to you. Something about teaching you sport and spending quality time. Ahhh. Who would've thunk it? With you four on the way, we'll move from two to six. Supermix! (As Barry G, Jamaican radio DJ, used to say.) Well, ummm...we're not a hundred percent sure that we'll have two boys and two girls. But, I've prayed for that combination for so long, when we saw four, I just knew that my prayers had been answered. Why two and two? Well, I started off in my early twenties thinking about a pair - boy and girl. Then, later on, I was like, it'd be great if the boy had a brother and the girl had a sister. That was it, really. No deep thinking. That'd mean twice the amount of spending but, good thing your father and I are doing well, financially. We both agreed that it was time for children. I told him about my long-held desire and that I'd "placed my order". Well, when the results showed not one, but four, he was far more surprised than I was. Still, it didn't take us long to adjust. When you get older, you'll learn I'm a successful writer - I'm working even when I'm "just looking out the window". Honest. Your dad? I could tell you but...not now ;-) I've gone on quite a bit, haven't I? I don't even know whether you'd be interested in this stuff. But, just in case you ever wonder.
Sons, as I wrote to the girls, one of the first things that you should know, that you will come to know, is that I love you. I have been looking forward to this. But, may I be honest? I am terrified!!!!! Sweethearts, I know nothing, nada, zap, zilch about raising a son - much more two! Your mommy is a girl. I grew up with sisters. So, I kinda have the girl thing - nuances and what not - down pat. But, I gotta admit, your mommy is a little scared - a lot excited and happy, but a little scared. What do I do with you? I mean, apart from breast-feeding you and bonding with you, holding you close and smelling your hair, and hushing you when you cry, and singing to you, and bathing you, and changing your diapers - I imagine it will sometimes be in that order - and teaching you how to read and write, and playing in the park with you and protecting you when you're with us and more so when we're out with other people...I...I don't know what to do! And, it's freakin' me out. Oh. Language. Bad Mommy. See what I mean! Oh my goodness! It's started already. No, seriously, your mother does not use foul language. But, words like that are okay for adults... It's complicated. Okay. Okay. I won't panic.
I mean, I grew up with my father, and he was a boy. And, I had a few male friends and I have brothers-in-law. And, I have your dad - my sweet hubbidiboo! (Don't ask, sons. Really. I just made that one up and he's sure to give me one of those "Ummm...are you okaaay?" looks when I use it on him.) But, as I was saying, I've interacted with enough males to have an idea of what to expect and how I should help to raise you. But, my father and BIL and husband are not sons. You are sons. My sons. And, I want to do right by you. I really want to help raise you well. Help. There's a good word. I am ever so thankful that your father is right here by my side and will be here as we work together on raising you. No, we won't split it evenly down the middle in a I'll-take-the-girls-he'll-take-you-guys kind of way. All of you need each of us and each of you need both of us. But, well, he will more naturally know how to deal with certain things that concern you because Daddy is a boy. Got it? Sigh. Quite frankly, sons, I don't know how some single parents do it. I shudder at the thought. This is serious stuff. I didn't quite get that before but, now that the time draweth nigh, I'm (kinda freakin' out) realizing that this is not a walk in the park on a lovely warm spring day. This...the older I get, the more I realize I don't know squat. And, there's a lot of squat to know. So, anyway, I'm just really happy that he will be here for you - and for me being here for you. That which I may not be good at covering? He got this. And, what he hasn't "got", we'll try to swallow our pride and ask for help. God's got our backs. Between Him and the village, we should be okay.
Sons, about love. As with the girls, I'm stuck at this part, too. For, I can tell you so much about love, and being in love, but, you're still gonna have to experience it for yourselves; you're still gonna have to go through the joy and the pain and the bitter-sweetness of fighting and making up and learning and getting stronger and wiser. Know this, sons: men's hearts get crushed, too. And, sometimes, they cry. I'm not saying this to coddle you. I'm giving you this heads-up because it is a fact. Women can and will make your heart hurt. Bad. You would never believe that such pain can come from, or be caused by, someone so fair and pretty. But, it can. And, unfortunately, it will. Hopefully, though, those times will be very few. Try not to lash out in anger, nor be vindictive in your reaction. That'd make you ugly. Hindsight is 20/20 but be patient. Even time takes time. Don't be afraid to talk to your dad or me about stuff that's bothering you. We'll be parents first. If we do this well, in time, we will come to develop a great friendship with you! When you work, work hard. When you play, don't work at all. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. You will not always get the respect you deserve, but, be the bigger person in those situations. Love and take care of each other - and your sisters. Be a man of your word, like your dad. It means everything. When you love, love thickly. And, when each of you find your "The One", honour her as someone deserving of the number one position in your life. Yes, even above me.
The men in your lives are strong and loving and caring. They have a few quirks, but, we love them anyway :-) And, speaking of quirks - and, while we're at it, faults - imagine the day when you find out your mom isn't perfect! I don't always get it right, sons, but, I always get it done. Do life! You will make mistakes. I won't kill you. Promise. But, you must learn from them. Do not stay down after falling and do not go to bed angry. "Trust in God but lock your car", as the saying goes. Trust in God. Period. We will try our best to grow you in the fear and admonition of the Lord. As you grow, your eyes will be more and more on your dad. He is already aware that you will be watching him; watching how he treats others; how he responds to certain trying situations; how he shows his love to me and to you and your sisters; how he moves in his relationship with God. Yes, he is already aware and yet, the guy is crazy with anticipation! No fear there! Not even a little bit. Gotta love it.
I love you.