Today’s post is a bit different. No DIY task with snazzy pictures or delicious food/recipe to drool over. Just a story and letter that was a surprise to us all.
Allow me to preface and set the “scene” for you. We are not an emotional family. We are just not. Now, don’t get me wrong – we have our sentimental times and we are “lovey” with one another in our own way. There are times we get the knot in our throat and a tear stained cheek…but those moments do not come as often as for others. Padre and Madre raised us to be tough and roll with the punches because “the world is tough and if you’re going to survive it and be successful you needed to brace yourself.” I believe we all have lived by this philosophy and those of us with children are rearing them to do the same.
With that said…we were a bit taken back on Father’s Day this year. Padre most definitely threw us all for a loop as he walked into Danielle’s house (late for HIS picnic, I might add) carrying 3 cards adorned with our spouse’s names on them. (Kelsea’s hubby got an email.) Danielle’s hubby of 10 years was the first to open his card. A piece of folded up paper fell out. He unfolded and started to read. A few lines in, he looked up at Padre and asked if he should wait and read “this” later. Dad admitted it was awkward having him read it while he was in the same room – so it was tucked away and reopened when we all departed for the evening. Hilary and I’s husbands followed suit and waited until they went home to read the words J.E. penned. It was not until after they had finished reading that Danielle, Hilary, and I read the letter. (Kelsea was the first girl to get eyes on it and her text to us was…”Dad’s letter to the guys – great!” Needless to say, we were all anxious to see what was said.) Let’s just say… Knot. In. Throat. Moment. for sure!
Danielle asked Dad if we could blog about it and we were given the “green light”. As long as we created the paragraphs where necessary, and if there is any place that needs to be a list, make it one. So, at long last…here is the letter that surprised us all…
I guess I am cheating a little by using a sort of form letter for this, but hey, give a guy a break. I have a lot of offspring and now a lot of sons in law. Also consider the fact that I am about as far from a “wear my emotions of my sleeve,” guy as you can find. So, take what you get! First, I am very glad that each of you are in my daughter’s lives, and in case you haven’t realized it yet – in ALL of our lives! It is a large, noisy, opinionated – but very tight group. And as each of you has joined the group, and are becoming fathers, you have added even more. I don’t have anything I can give you except my support and maybe a little advice when you ask. I know you aren’t asking, but I am going to try and say some things that I have thought about a lot. You may just file all of this in the category of “dumb shit my father in law says”, but here I go.
You are, or soon going to be, great fathers! Believe me, I watch!! These are my daughters you have married. If you don’t feel that kind of feeling yet, trust me – you will. You will find more about your emotions from your daughters than you ever thought you could, they are your “little girls” and ANYTHING that threatens or hurts them, you will feel. Trust me, it’s ok. You will feel every success and failure of all your kids, it’s just part of the job. You can’t take the tests, win the races, make the teams, get the hits, or make the friends. You can only guide, listen, support and love. And you will not be able to fix everything, sometimes it will seem like you can’t fix anything! Don’t sweat it, just be willing to let them talk to you and you’ll be surprised how much a trip to Dairy Queen may help.
Let your kid’s, especially the boys, see you love and respect their mother. They will learn everything about respect and security by watching you in that relationship. Make sure that the kids, and their mothers, know you love them and that their security is one of, if not the biggest thing, in your life.
Keep your promises!!! Doesn’t matter if they are big or small, kept promises are security. When I look back on all of my failures with the kids and their mom, unkept promises are the center. If you say you are going to do something, do it! Even if it requires personal sacrifice. Nothing demonstrates love more, and it will always be a great teaching opportunity for your kids. They are always watching you, and they learn a whole lot more from what they see you do than what they hear you say. Things will happen and you are going to just want to lose it. But think, could you do that to a student, employee, or colleague? Why would we treat our family with any less respect than anybody else? Trust me, I screwed this one up a lot. Before the melt down occurs think, “will anything that just happened mean shit next month, next week or even an hour from now?” That 5-10 seconds of reflection will lead to a lot less hurt feelings and probably more laughter than you can even imagine.
And lastly, you WILL mess up. And the Jethro Gibbs Rule #1 “never apologize” will NOT work. Nothing will show your wife and kids your love more than when you sit down and admit you are wrong. Apologize and seek forgiveness. Been there, done it, and the relationship that comes out of it is amazing. And it is one of those great teaching moments again.
Thank you all for everything you have done for my daughters and grandchildren so far. I love you all, don’t get creeped out, and I am so glad you are part of our family. Happy Fathers Day.
The first read of that I experienced a knot in my throat and a tear or two running down my cheek. It just wasn’t anything I was expecting my dad to say/share with my husband and brothers in law. It was most definitely a surprise to us all…a welcomed surprise indeed. The honesty in that letter is killer and so very spot on.
I leave you today with a bulleted list of J.E.’s advice. (Also a requirement if we were going to go public with it.)
0 don’t fear emotions
0 love and respect
0 keep your promises
0 keep your cool
I wish you a wonderful Thursday. Baby B is informing me he is hungry…loudly! See you next Thursday!