Today is father’s day. I know it’s a new thing for you, because this is the first year that this day comes around and you have your own new little social network at school. It is to be expected that they said to you: “This Sunday, you have to be extra good with daddy because it is his day” and, like you do with everything else, you questioned it; you thought it through and decided to participate full on.
But I have to tell you, there’s nothing you need to do this father’s day, or any other day, for that matter, to be “extra good”. The one that needs to put some “extra” effort is me.
Everything you do comes from the purity that just a young, unabridged life can produce. Why would I want you to do anything differently? For me, in the other hand, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
I will use this, the only real public outlet I have to make you a promise, the kind of promise that drives a lifetime and the only kind of promise that you deserve.
I promise, from now on, to give always a little more than I think is possible to give, to listen more carefully, to attend to your needs and not what I think your needs are, to play with you because it’s fun and not because I think we need play time together, to teach you what I know without expecting you to care about it just because I say so, to earn your trust and not to expect it gratuitously, to embrace your energy and beautiful personality and not to repress it and to do my very best, to lead a life you can be proud of.
I promise to be EXTRA GOOD from now on.
I know you are too small to understand some of these words (are you?) but I certainly expect for you to understand that while I have done my best all these years, it is clear to me that you always deserved more.
In our life together there will be difficult times, I know that there are circumstances that you already question and don’t understand but it is during these complex times, when you are even more important to me and I would die before letting any harm come to you. I’m eternally sorry for the mistakes I have made so far. I will continue to make it up to you, even if it means letting your son ride on my back for days on end.
As I’m sure you have noticed, there are a lot of things I don’t know how to do. Being a father on father’s day is just another one of those new things for me. I don’t even have the experience of being a son during father’s day. My only memories of father’s day involve people around me trying not to speak of the subject and, towards the end of the day, my mom giving me a big hug (the kind you give someone when they’re sad) and saying something like: “It’s just the two of us, I’m your mom and your dad”.
To conclude, I promise you will never have that kind of hug during father’s day, nobody will ever say to you: “I’m your father” (not even Darth Vader) or “I have been your father” or any of the substitutes of you telling me: “Daddy, happy fathers day” just like you have been doing almost everyday of the past week and just like you did 5 minutes ago.
I’ve cried like a baby writing this letter, not because I’m sad but because it is clear to me how much you deserve and how small I am in comparison to the task at hand. I promise to grow to the appropriate size before you have kids of your own.
I love you,
Your novice dad
P.S. None of this means you get ALL the toys you want ALL the time, ok?