Friday, February 08, 2008

Sometimes, not nearly often enough, I write letters to my boys which I keep in journals for them to read when they are older. Recently we delved into the letters from before my oldest son's birth for a genealogy project he had at school. He seemed pretty impressed that he had letters from when he was in the womb.

I wish I had as many of the younger two from those days, but you know how that goes, unfortunately. I'm trying to make up for time now though.

Here is my most recent letter to Micah, written this afternoon about some events at school yesterday.

Dear Micah,

I already told you, and you smiled and understood, but it helps me to write that I am sorry. I over-reacted, and probably made things worse. I was of course upset, and you know the reasons. To be honest, it pains me to see your mother cry, and she was very worried about you. I know that you know we had to discipline you, and that you'll serve your little sentence knowing that it was just. I don't want to diminish that part of it, because it had to be done. As I said, we couldn't be good parents and love you like we do without making you accountable for your actions. And while I believe you didn't mean to hurt anyone or cause such a ruckus, I know that you understand the actions we took. Thank you for taking it with grace.

For my part, I just want you to know that I regret verbally pushing you so hard. What was the point of my sitting there for so long on the edge of your bed, expecting you to explain yourself when you, like so many of us adults who have done something thoughtless, could offer no acceptable explanation anyway? I want you to know that I've been in your shoes, and while my own father had dealt more harshly in a physical sense, I do not want to make you feel like less of a person for screwing up. The thing is, as we told you, you are a good boy, better than the actions you took yesterday, but you know this.

I was glad that before I left I was able to whisper to you and let you know that I understood that you would do your time and that would be the end of it. So why am I bringing it up now? At first I thought that I should just let this go, and not set the memory in ink, but let it dissolve into forgetfulness. But then I thought, if I did I wouldn't get to tell you this-- how your oldest brother and I talked in the car about how dads sometimes make mistakes, or react too quickly or loudly. Sometimes I say some wise things that even surprise me, and sometimes my decisions are just and quick. But you will find, super dad though you will want to be, you'll still be human when you are a father. And while that's tough to take, especially when your goal is to be the best dad your child could want or need, I hope you will remember this little letter, and not be too hard on yourself.

I saw it in your smile when we said goodbye, that there was no loss of love between us and you understood that not only what you did wrong and how to correct it, but that your father thought no less of you for being human. After all, he's obviously imperfect too, isn't he?

And Micah, thanks for making it right, especially with that apology letter you wrote. Sometimes, even when what you did was not so unusual or even on purpose, sometimes it's the right thing to do. Your a big man, little guy.

I love you more than life,
Always, Dad


Jessica N. Connor said...

I am doing a presentation in one of my classes on gay and lesbian-headed households, and I came across your blog. Anyway, I would LOVE to use your letter to your son in my presentation, because so many 'Christians' believe that two men or two women can not possibly raise a child correctly. This letter only helps solidify my opinion that sexual orientation does not decide whether you can submit love to a child. If you would, e-mail me... Thank you so much!

Gay said...

Certainly, I'll email you. I wonder if one of my other letters might be more appropriate. If not, I only ask that you mention the context of the letter, that it was about his being in trouble for something that he did at school; disrespect for an authority figure to be exact. I wonder if my critics are surprised that gay dads talk about many things like this that have nothing to do with homosexuality.

Jessica said...

Ha Ha!! I bet they would be shocked! I didn't receive your e-mail conformation in time to include your letter into my presentation, but I did talk about the letter. I actually came up with an activity to do for the class. I had everyone list their three favorite things about their family, and asked were the things they listed gender-specific. I explained that families only need love to survive. not a mom and a dad. It's crazy to me how a person can be upset with their father for not being in their life, and get upset because two men or two women want to share THEIR lives with a child. Anyway, thank you for your consent. I think I will take both letters to class just in case my instructor has any interest in reading them. Thanks again!