Dear Oldest Son,
I’m writing this letter to you and posting it publicly for the world to see because I want our friends and family (and anyone else who cares to read this) to know how proud I am of you.
I realize the past few weeks have been extremely difficult because of the illness and hospitalization of your youngest sibling, Bella. I hope you know that we admire and support everything you are doing during this tough and stressful time. We also know that the juggling you have to do — especially given a full course load, work, and various complications that life with divorced parents and two families brings — has to wear you down.
At the same time, we see that you are resilient, dedicated, and determined — traits that any parent would want to see in a child. For the most part, you meet the challenges you have in life head on, and juggle the various priorities you face with grace, love and affirmation. As your dad, that makes me proud.
We all have our challenges. I was forced to face mine as a child and continue to face them as an adult, just as you have faced (and are being forced to face) yours. We all make mistakes and fumble along our path to that elusive thing we each define as adulthood.
Any parent, when he/she looks in the mirror and deals with this reality we call life, has regrets. We regret things we did as children, as teenagers, as young adults, and as parents. We try to learn from each, acknowledge what we can do better or that simply we’ve done our best given the circumstances, and move on to face the many challenges ahead.
It’s not easy. In fact, more times than not, it is tougher than we ever dreamed possible.
I want you to know, and the world to hear, how proud I am of you for your juggling. I want you to know how much I love you, and how much my frustration (and the frustration) you feel from this side of the family is due to the fact that we don’t get to see you as much as we would like. Simply put, we miss you.
You’ll be 21 soon; Dec. 9, 2013 will be a day I never dreamed possible. But you’re still so young, with so much to see and experience in this life. I hope your families — biological and extended — get to spend and share your life with you. I pray that we will.
I love you, son.