I know it must seem strange of me to write you a letter when you’re only 10 days old but I hope you’ll indulge me. I really wanted to write a similar letter to your brother when he was born but he was our first child and we got so wrapped up in trying to figure out how to be parents that I just never did it. I hope that when he is old enough to read this, he will realize that my words apply to him as well. And although we still haven’t gotten this parenting thing figured out 100% yet, one thing I have learned is that you’re never truly ready to be a parent and so you just get by the best you can and let the rest happen as it happens.
First off, I’m your father. As such, I bear a tremendous responsibility and I hope I don’t let you down. When your brother was born I knew something big had happened but I don’t think I really understood the scope of my responsibilities. I do now.
I love to hold you in my arms and I find myself watching you as you’re sleeping and I feel myself welling up with such love for you that it’s like my heart is going to burst. I can be a hard man sometimes – just ask your brother – but when I look at your little face, so innocent, pure and unspoiled, I just melt. It’s just unbelievable to me that I could produce something so beautiful.
The world that you have born into is a hard one. You have been born into a world at war, where people kill each other because of something as trivial as what religion they practice or don’t practice or what part of the world they are from. When I look at your little face, I sometimes think about how lucky you are that you have not yet been tainted by this world and how I wish you could forever remain so innocent. I pray that you will not become involved in such terrible things as are occurring right now; that the world and its inhabitants will have evolved beyond such madness by the time you are old enough to understand. I pray that you will never learn such hatred as to judge a fellow human being by the color of his skin, by his station in life, where he was born, or by his ethnicity. Please son, choose the path of understanding rather than violence whenever possible. Understand that while violence is sometimes necessary and inevitable, it is not the desired path and should be used only as a last result.
Let me tell you about your mother. She is the most amazing person I’ve ever had the privilege to know and as you grow I hope you will realize how lucky you are to have her for your mother. I’ll be honest with you – she was really hoping for a girl when we found out you were coming…but when I see the love in her eyes when she’s holding you I can assure you that she could not possibly love you any more if you had been a girl.
Earlier tonight I was holding you and you were sleeping so quietly in my arms and I just got lost looking at you, all your little movements and sounds. A thought occurred to me as I was watching you. I starting thinking about all the babies born in the world, about how they’re brand new to this world. Each one is born into different circumstances. And then I started thinking about how the circumstances that you’ve been born into are controlled by me. And it made me realize that the role I will play in your life is paramount in how you will develop and grow as a person in this world. As I said earlier, I am your father. I am perhaps the most influential person you will know in your life. I don’t take this responsibility lightly.
I promise that I will do everything I can to prepare you for what you will face in your life. I promise that I will never desert you, that I will always be here for you, no matter what hardships you face. I may not always give you what you want but I will always do my best to give you what you need. I may not always be the best father but it won’t be for lack of trying. Above all else son, I promise that I will love you and do my best to make sure that you have everything you need. A few months ago, before you were born, I was in the hospital where the doctor told me that I was lucky to be alive. I took her words to heart and could not stop thinking about how I almost didn’t get the chance to meet you in person. It made me break down and cry and I have cherished every moment I have been blessed to have with you because of that day. I finally realized that my life is no longer my own; it belongs to you and your brother now. If, by some tragedy, I should ever have a relapse and not be as fortunate as I was that day, I hope you will always know how much I love you and your brother. You are both my treasures. Never forget that.
It’s your life son. Whatever you do with it, I pray that you will never settle for anything less than what you deserve; greatness. I love you and your brother more than you will ever know.