A Father’s Day Letter to My Kids
Dear Addison and Jackson,
I wrote you a letter last year on Father’s Day and I hope that this can be my Father’s Day gift to you as I continue to figure out parenthood and you guys continue to grow up. I hope you’ll read these one day when you’re older.
I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect parent.
Like you, I have my good days and my bad. I try to be funny when I’m not. I try to be stern when I can’t be. I try to be loving when it’s difficult for me. I try to hide the sadness I feel inside at times; I don’t want you to constantly battle the darkness of depression that I face on a daily basis. I want to protect you from that.
I try every single day.
I don’t want you to view me as your hero or your best friend. I just want to be a good dad to you and be there when you need me. I want to teach you things you’ll need in life…long after I’m gone.
I was scared to death when I became a dad for the first time in 2008. Addison, I remember holding you for the first time and thinking: “I’m now responsible for another life.” But I loved you from the moment I saw you. Unconditionally.
I know I haven’t consoled you enough when you needed me. But I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are and I hope I can raise you to be a respectful young woman, who sees the good in others.
You are sweet, smart, funny and destined to be great in whatever you do.
Yes, I cried at your Kindergarten graduation and I shed a tear when I opened your first grade report card. I’m not sorry I did that, but be forewarned: I will cry at your high school graduation, when you graduate college, when I give you away on your Wedding Day, and when you have kids. That’s my right as a dad. I want to be sure you still love me and you don’t hate me when you grow older. I don’t want to lose my baby girl.
I can’t believe you’re 7 years old! (As I cry again)
Now, Jackson…. Oh, my little minion, my little shadow. You’ve been to the ER more times in the last few years than I have in my 33 years of existence. That’s an impressive feat. You have a whole in your mouth from your missing teeth that makes women’s hearts swoon because they think you’re so cute.
I am impressed you’ve made it to 4 — you know, with all the falls you’ve had. If you make it to 5, then I’ll call it my greatest accomplishment.
Don’t take this the wrong way: when your mom and I found out we were having a boy, I panicked. I didn’t want a boy. I didn’t think I could be a good dad to a son. You’re always by my side. You’re my little buddy. I want to teach you how to throw a baseball, and a football, and to shoot a basketball.
I also am I excited for the day when YOU are the one mowing the lawn, not me.
I want you to grow up to become a respectful young man, who learns the value of serving others. I want you to treat women with respect. I want you to treat others with respect.
These last seven years have been full of great moments that I’ll remember for a lifetime. I can’t believe that I’ve been a dad for seven years. And to think, when it all started with Addy in 2008, I didn’t think that I’d have two great kids.
I’ll always be there for you in both success and failure, when you fall down, or when someone breaks your heart. I just want to be a good dad and set a good example for the both of you.
I hope you will accept me unconditionally with all my faults and imperfections. I’m not perfect. I’ll never be perfect. I’m not a hero. I just want to be dad.
I love you with all my heart,
Chris Yandle is the Assistant AD for Communications & Public Relations at Georgia Tech and an Adjunct Instructor in Public Relations at Kennesaw State. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisYandle.