June 16, 2011
To My Children in 2031
Dear Mia and Owen,
Hi from the past. It's your dad here. I'm sitting here in the living room banging this out on a computer that, if I told you the specs, would seem pretty ridiculous now since you're probably reading this with your mind or on a hologram or it's being read to you by robot slaves. Anyway, you're in bed now and your mom and I are here glued to archaic computers so I thought I'd write you a letter. (By the way, I know you guys always want to stay up late and are curious about what your mom and I do but the truth is that we watch some TV, maybe play some cards - your mom always kicks my ass - and most of the time talk about you guys.)
Why am I writing from the past? Because I can. And because there are some things I just can't say to you now. You're too young. I give you a lot of credit for being smart but there are just some things you have to be older to understand. Did you know, for example, that your dad is a guy with flaws, imperfections and uncertainties? Dad's are supposed to be uncertain. They're supposed to be strong, stoic, and fun (if those things actually go together).
When I was a kid, I often wondered why I was an only child. At some much later point - I think I was 37 - I finally got around to asking. "It was just, you know, a lot of emotion. It was hard for your dad." That's what my mom said. And that's all she needed to say. My dad - Grandpa - is a lot like me. Or rather, I'm a lot like him. He's passionate and emotional and the most empathetic person I've ever met. He wanted me to grow up strong and smart and to take advantage of the advantages I had. You know, all those things you've heard me say about applying yourself, sitting up straight, realizing your full potential, not hitting each other in the head with stuff. Those are all things I got from my dad. I didn't just accept them as gospel and parrot them at you. Over time they made more and more sense. And seeing you little people they came to mean even more.
I'll admit here and now - the living room, twenty years in the past - that I have not always been nor will I be the best father this world has ever seen. I attribute that largely from the passion that I inherited from my dad. I'm not the most patient person as a result. After all, I taught you your first curse word (dammit) and was perhaps not a heck of a lot of fun to play board games with (especially Candyland because let's all finally admit that Candyland sucks), and I even introduced religion into the household with my frustrated cries of Jesus Christ!. I don't tolerate attitude or entitlement or laziness (unless its my own) and I expect politeness even to sibling who sit and fart on you for no obvious reason.
So I'm not the most patient person on the planet but I am one who loves you with the power of a million blazing suns. And no amount of farting on each other will ever change that. Though twenty years from now we're going to have to talk if that's still going on.