This morning I was cleaning out my dresser drawers. We were donating it to the thrift shop up the street and everything needed to be out of it.
I pulled out all the clothes from the bottom drawers and moved my way to the small top jewelry drawer. I’m embarrassed to say how thick the layer of dust was on top.
Hoarders would have a field day with the content of that drawer.
But there among the old papers, Mother’s Day cards, hair clips and broken watches and Lego pieces…
There was this:
When I turned twenty-one, my parents gave me 21 presents. Some were small and silly, some were amazing. This was one of them. Inside was a letter from my dad to me. One that I forgot existed.
I opened up the letter, reading it for the first time in I have no idea how many years.
January 18, 1993
Perhaps it is impossible for any person who is not a parent to understand what it means to have a child. Your birth twenty-one years ago was the greatest moment of my life. Holding you in my arms, looking into your eyes, changed the entire world for me. It changed my past and my future because it gave my life new meaning. I was amazing that the emotional import of becoming a parent for the first time was so overwhelming. If you are lucky enough to have a child someday you will be surprised at how different the intensity and the quality of the rush of love is that accompanies your first child’s birth.
No matter what you do in life you have already given me more pleasure than I could have ever hoped for. You know that I will always stick with you through good time and bad forever.
Even though it’s probably impossible for a daughter and a father to ever forget their “roles” in each others lives I hope we can continue to become regular friends who can learn from each other, disagree with each other, and still know like all true friends that we can depend on each other. Unfortunately I never had the chance to be an adult friend to my father. If I had I’m sure the relationship would have had its stormy moments as I was an independent minded young man who perceived most advice as nagging. But in the end it would have worked out because your grandfather’s values were just like mine. Loved was the underpinning of our relationship. I wish he could have met you and known you because he would have seen that his life and love had been passed to a great young woman.
I admire you for all you have done in your 21 years. I look forward to you seeking a happy and fulfilling life. Don’t let life’s hard knocks get you down. All children carry some of their parents inside their heads and hearts forever both the good and bad. I hope you will always cherish the special moments you and I have had and will have for many years to come. I certainly have cherished them all.
Welcome to the adult world – happy birthday.
I’ll love you always,
Sometimes being a hoarder has its perks.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some letters to write to my own children. For them to hide away somewhere and pull them out when they need it most.
Oh and I love you always too Dad. And I miss you every day. Thank you for being inside my head and my heart.
“It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you’ll have rewritten mine
By being my friend.
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better
But because I knew you…
Because I knew you…
I have been changed for good.” – For Good from the play Wicked