A Letter To My Oldest Son

Hey buddy,

I can’t believe you’re going to be nine in a couple weeks. It seems like just yesterday your mom and I were bringing you home from the hospital. You gave us a good scare there in the beginning. You don’t remember your open heart surgery when you were five days old, but we remember. Vividly.

Speaking of your heart, you’re our tenderheart child. You feel greatly. Your feelings can be hurt easily. Sometimes I pick on you and lightly make fun of you not to hurt those tender feelings of yours. I do it to help you understand the difference between people teasing to make you laugh and teasing to hurt you. I do it so you won’t be so hard on yourself. I do it so you understand that humor can be the best medicine.

You are our snuggler. Our hugger. Hugs hello. Hugs goodbye. Hugs because you feel loved. Hugs because you want someone else to feel loved. When your actions help others and gains you nothing, I know you will grow up to be a great person.

I would never tell you to stop feeling. Feelings are important in today’s society. It means you care for others as much as you care for yourself. They allow you to empathise. They allow you to not just understand what others are feeling, but to know what they are feeling. Especially those closest to you.

I would never tell you to “suck it up” because this world needs more people who care. That is what calls people to action. Many people complain about a situation, their own or one with society. However, it’s the ones who care who step up and do something about it. They are the problem solvers of the world.

I would never tell you to “grow a pair” because great leaders understand emotion. They understand people’s emotions are an important part of a skill set. The greater you can make someone feel the more productive they’re likely to be. Great leaders tap into their own emotions as well as the emotions of their colleagues to make them feel as equals, not as minions.

I would never tell you to “man up”. To “man up” signifies that you are not a man. Obviously, you are not a man, you’re only nine. But you are of the man species. Telling you to man up would signify that you can’t be a man because you have emotions, because you care, because you shed a tear. It signifies that you are less than a man. To be less than a man is less than human. Less than life itself. You are not. You never will be. I don’t care what anyone tells you or tries to make you feel.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll will tell you to quit your bitchin’. You are to quit your bitchin’ if you are complaining more about the problem than doing anything to solve the problem. You are to quit your bitching if you’re complaining about something that can’t be changed (aka, the weather). You are to quit your bitchin’ if you’re complaining about something that is your own fault.

You are our tenderheart and I hope that never changes. I know there will be some events that will try to harden you. They will try to break you down into a person who doesn’t care. I hope you only let them build you up and make you the man I know you’ll be.

Love,
Dad

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Bubble Wrapping My Babies

As you’ve read in the past, Crash and Bang are little dare devils. They like to climb, jump, bike, swing, hang, and generally test their capabilities. How many stairs can they jump down? How far off the swings can they jump? How high in the tree can he climb? How high on the trampoline can they jump? How fast can they ride on their bikes? Can he ride his snowboard down the slide? Can he ride his bike down the porch steps?

While I allow them to try most things under supervision, there are some I put a stop to. No, you can’t ride down the porch steps. No, you can’t climb on the roof to get whatever you threw up there. No, you can’t jump off the top of the jungle gym.

I was watching T.V. last night and one of the shows I watched (Modern Family – I had never seen it before but it was pretty funny) addressed protecting children from doing dangerous things. At the end, the big revelation was that no matter how much we try to protect our children they are going to get hurt anyway. Sure, we can keep them from physically harming themselves. But that’s where the line is drawn.

One day they may lose a beloved pet. One day they may lose that competition they practiced so hard for. One day they may get their hearts broken by someone who they thought loved them. One day they may not get into that university they really wanted to attend. One day they may not get that job they most desired. One day there won’t be a band aid and kiss to make it feel all better.

Like the rest of us, they will survive the ordeal, hopefully learn from the experience, and then move on. We can be their listening ear, their sounding board, their wise sage. However, in the end, the decision is theirs. Like myself, some of you have little ones who have yet to experience this. Some of you have little ones who may be going through something at the moment. Then some of you have little ones who are actually big ones and have experienced this already (thanks mom and dad!).

I apologize. I don’t mean to be the one who pooped in the punch bowl. It’s just something that occurred to me last night. Or rather, something that was shown to me, albeit in a comical way.

After reading A Momma’s View touching post this morning “To My Baby” I felt compelled to write about this. I’ve written about protecting Crash and Bang plenty of times. I attempt to keep them from doing stupid things a la “Jackass”. But no matter how hard we try, we can’t protect them from everything.

We can try to bubble wrap them. We can try to cushion their fall. We can even try keeping them in Tupperware. But in the end it’s up to them. I just hope I can give them the strength and confidence they will need to successfully move on to bigger and better things with their lives.

The First Airport (Leg 2)

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Well, I wasn’t going to write about this, but I feel I need to. I am embarking on 3 airport journey. I have kissed my monkeys good night and I am now at the nearly empty airport to catch a few Zzzs. It’s one am. We live two and a half hours from the airport, hence the reason I’m here so early. My gracious brother-in-law rode here with me so he could drive our car back home. He’ll get back at 3 am.

My flight is at 6am. Five legs of this journey and I now have one down. My final destination of these next four legs will be my parents house. I haven’t been there in 5 years. The exciting part will be leg 3. That’s where I meet my brother who I haven’t seen in 5 years. We’ll make leg 4 together on the same flight before meeting our parents and driving the last leg.

For reasons I won’t share here, this trip has some heavily mixed emotions. First, there is the cause of the trip. My mom and her family need support and my brother and I are sure to be there to help provide it. There is also the leaving DW, Crash, and Bang for a week. I haven’t been away from them for that long ever (with the exception of DW and I being apart for 8 months while going through immigration when we were married nearly 10 years ago). I know my monkeys will be okay, but I’ll still miss them.

On the flip side, I’m going “home” for the first time in 5 years. I’ll see family I haven’t seen for 5 or 25 years.

So, you see, I’m being tugged in two directions. And I guess the best I can do is document this 3,000 mile journey by planes and cars and share it with everyone.

It is now 1:54 am and I have a prime bench to catch a nap with my bags still attached to me. Also, I am sorta giddy to get my hands on my brother’s Fival the rat Mouse stuffie!

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Photo by Deviant Art