I DIDN’T WANT TO BE A FATHER
A Letter to My Unborn Child
My Dear Daughter,
For the past six months, I’ve tried to write this letter. As it turns out, words had left me…until recently. You read that right — for six whole months, you rendered me speechless, little one. Attempting to process the sheer enormity of your existence and pending arrival proved to be feeble.
Why have words mysteriously appeared now?
One thing changed, we discovered you are a she. So now it’s time for full-disclosure:
I didn’t want to be a father.
There, I said it. Sorry. But you deserve the truth.
(You’ll quickly learn your daddy has a habit for being blunt. It’s possible you’ll find it endearing, but not likely.)
It’s not your fault. Simply put, I’ve never seen myself as a father. My flaws always seemed too magnified to responsibly tackle parenting. This is as we say, #RealTalk.
After four years of marriage to your amazingly awesome Mommy that all went down the pooper. Because — SURPRISE! — you decided to burst onto the scene without care…or permission.
(You’re just like daddy already.)
Though it’s still a struggle to imagine myself a parent, I can definitively say — I love so fierecely, my darling girl, at times I can hardly breathe. Layers upon layers of wonder, discovery, and yes, love have woven their way into my soul, bringing with it a euphoria quelling my fear…tho I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
You’ve messed me up for all the right reasons.
So, before you enter this crazy world and strap on your mortal coil, a few things you should know…
I’M SCARED SHITLESS.
Yes, from time-to-time your daddy says shit; it’s one of his many entertaining flaws.
I’d be lying if I said I was going into this fatherhood-thing with confidence. Ironic right? Leave it to an unborn six-month-old fetus to strike more fear into my core than anything. But that’s where we find ourselves.
How can I possibly be so afraid of something, I’m assuming, will be so stinkin’ adorable?
Truth is, the fear of messing you up is crippling.
There’s nothing I want more than for your world to be one of beauty, creativity, and laughter. I want you to feel comfortable exploring, questioning, and discovering. Your corner of the universe should be limitless with potential, passion, and pursuing.
And if there’s anyone that would shatter your stained glass window of possibility — it’s me.
Parenting, it seems, is an art-form. A messy, creative, exhausting, vast, beautiful, confusing, and profound portal of creativity that influences the world more than any other.
No pressure, right?
Regardless, nothing’s stopping it now — you’re coming…and with it, unexplored trails of love and life.
You scare me, kid. Let’s be patient with each other, okay?
And this is promised — I’ll give you the best I’ve got.
YOU’RE GOING TO BE WEIRD.
Perhaps the coolest concept of early parenting is your Mommy & I get to choose how to raise you. The food you’ll eat; the music you’ll hear; the stuff you’ll watch. That said, buckle-up for a crazy exploration of randomness.
You’ll be raised on a steady diet of Bob Dylan, Comic Books, Renaissance Music, Loud and Obnoxious Laughter, Funny Voices, Joseph Campbell, Broadway Staples, and more Movies than you can imagine. And that’s just from me.
Don’t worry, your cosmologist Mama will ensure you’re rocking out to Katy Perry with a stunning collection of leggings, head-bands, sunglasses, sparkles, and when the time is right — hair product.
If you need more dichotomy, don’t worry, one set of Grandparents are Republicans and the others are Democrats. Trust me, this is ground for all kinds of…fun.
And just hold on for dear life as all of your California “Aunts” (Mandy, Aubrey, Ashley, Megan, & Renae) take you on a never-ending roller-coaster ride of life’s craziness.
What does this mean?
Part of the ironic unsettling excitement surrounding your arrival is the tapestry of experiences and personality traits you’ll garner. You’ll be deliciously sarcastic as much as you’ll be subtly tender. I’m both afraid and anxious to see just how profoundly human you become. And being born into this family means one thing above most all else:
Own your freak flag and let it fly.
I’M SORRY FOR THE FOLLOWING THINGS:
If you get my awful curly hair.
you get your Mama’s big canoe feet.
Calling you Spud, Pepsi, Matilda, Mona Lisa, & Bernice while in utero.
Daddy being a Red Sox fan.
Grandpa Roush conducting background music in public places.
Whatever Uncle Tim & Uncle Peanut teach you.
Mommy knowing all things Kardashian.
Grandma Sue singing you show-tunes instead of lullabies.
Everything we post about you on the internet — including this letter.
All the times Daddy gets lost when taking you places.
When Mommy can’t commit to a toothpaste, so it changes daily.
When Grandma Mochelle forgets the bread in the oven.
Putting your diaper on backwards.
The first — and every — time you hear country music.
For bringing you into a world that doesn’t have In-N-Out Burger worldwide.
And that some people still think Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK.
YOU’RE MY HOT AIR BALLOON.
Believe it or not, little one, you saved my life.
You are the one that cut my tethered weights. You are the one that opened my soul into something it’s never known. You are the one that proved I’m capable of venturing into uncharted waters. You are the adventure I wasn’t aware I needed. You are the purest form of love and life I’ll ever know. You are the sobering dose of perspective. You are the fire that fuels my balloon.
Sweet daughter, you dared to cut the rope tying me down in fearful stagnation. You released me. And now we dare to head the way we were meant to go; now we soar.
NO MATTER WHERE YOUR JOURNEY LEADS, YOU’LL ALWAYS BE CLOAKED IN LOVE.
More times than I can possibly count, you’ll be faced with moments of uncertainty and doubt. The right answer will evade you and the journey — not the destination — will become the thing.
Know this above all else, is your Mommy & Daddy will always be in your corner. As advocates, curators of creativity, and lenders of laughter — we will champion your journey no matter where it takes you; no matter who you love; no matter what fuels your heart. You will always have a home. You will always have love from your blood.
What you’ll most assuredly learn the hard way is just how magnanimous love is.
The beautiful tragedy of life is love’s all consuming nature. It’s powerful enough to steer life trajectory all on its own.
Furthermore, transformation — love’s most common side-effect — always includes destruction, commitment, and renewal. Thus, apathy becomes the easier choice — but don’t let apathy silence your spirit.
Yes, love is laborious, but then again, when did convenience spark awakening?
Love trumps all…if you let it, dear one.
Your Mommy & I will raise you to love this world with fierce gentleness; to love your fellow humans with urgent authenticity; and to relish life’s simple profundities. Because, the human emotional gauntlet is a marvelous thing. And life trajectory has a way of becoming one huge practical joke.
But the one thing we can always control is how we love.
And that’s why the first song I played for you when you could first hear in the womb was William Fitzsimmons’, “Brandon”:
“I could love you,
I would sew the seeds again,
If you take down your justified defense.
If they chase you
Because you are not the same,
I will run too
And call you by your name…”
You’ll undoubtedly be the best part of me. In some ways — due to my imperfection — you’ll be the worst part of me.
Certainly, you’ll be the most beautiful thing Mama & I will ever see. Let us brave the ocean together, daughter.
With All My Love,