Sunday, June 21, 2009

a letter to my daddy

with best wishes for a happy father's day to all the great daddies out there....

Dear Daddy –

Happy Father’s Day!

It occurred to me that fifty years ago, you celebrated your first Father’s Day – all because of me.

So I thought that in recognition of such a momentous occasion as the fiftieth anniversary of your first Father’s Day – I’d put into words exactly how much you mean to me, because one of the things that has become abundantly and manifestly clear to me the older I get is how truly lucky I’ve been.

But I was more than lucky – I was blessed. I didn’t just have the kind of daddy who played and danced and sang and told me stories on rainy Saturdays… I was even luckier than that. Because what you gave me – better than memories of childhood or legacy of wealth – is the very best of myself, the part of myself that has brought me the most joy, the most personal satisfaction, the part that makes me different from everyone else I know.

If there’s any spark of creative genius in me at all, Daddy, I know it comes from you. That’s why I’m only partly joking when I say that genes like mine deserve to be replicated.

And so, whatever you feel you did or didn’t do for me, however you look back and evaluate yourself as a parent, I hope you realize first of all you were a great Daddy when I was little. Many of the best and most loving memories of my childhood are of you. Poor Ray couldn’t measure up to my idea of what men were supposed to be like. It’s funny that Don who grew up without a father handles the job far better, and his role model was Superman. You set a very high bar, Daddy.

I hope I live long enough to see my own children reach the point I know I have, and I wanted you to know I’ve reached it. I’m happy – at least with who I am. My life isn’t perfect of course, and I’d still like to see my name on the bestseller lists and I hope you stick around to see it, but even if you don’t, I know you’ll be there, because I do talk to dead people, Daddy, and they all talk back.

So for your fiftieth father’s day, Daddy, know you’ve done good. I know you’ve accomplished a lot in your life and that by anyone’s measure you are a most successful man. But for me, at least, the most important work that I will ever do is to raise my children, and you did so good you enabled me to be both father and mother to my own children and to raise them well in spite of their own father’s best efforts to the contrary.

If the sins of the fathers get passed down the generations, it’s also possible for the stuff they get right to pass down, too, and I want you to know that it has. Baby Jake already shows signs of being artistically gifted as well as athletically – his favorite two activities are painting and playing catch. I look at Baby Jake’s enormous hands and big brown eyes and I feel okay about a future with people like him in it. If there’s going to be a big job to do, he looks like he’s going to be strong enough to do it…in no small way thanks to you.

Thank you for being the best Daddy, ever. And thank you, even more than that, for being MINE.


Martha said...

Happy Father's Day to a Wonderful Daddy! Beautiful letter.

Bonnie said...

What a great tribute to your dad. Happy Father's day, Annie's dad. You raised a wonderful daughter.

Lynette said...

what a lovely tribute.
thanks for sharing

Juls said...

Beautiful letter. Really. And if you happen to talk to *my* dad. Tell him I love him and miss him so. :)

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Awwww! That. Was. Beautiful. :)