Letter To My Son: All I Have To Offer

Dear Jake,

We lived a very steady life when you were younger. A life of 9 to 5. Of Monday through Friday with a weekend at the end. We took short vacations and the occasional day off with some holiday time around the New Year.

Grocery shopping was for Sunday. Laundry was on Saturday.

The alarm rang at 6am and we promptly silenced it till we were good and ready to wake up. Drop off was after 7 in the morning and we saw each other again for an enthusiastic hug and kiss just after 5.

Our days rarely changed and this consistency made us a little bored at times but happier in the end. We were better for it, I swear.

But one thing started to bother me as you began to reach elementary school age. I could offer you a home, lots of love, giggles and silliness, food to eat and food you refused, bathtime and a book to read at bedtime. And on the rare occasion I let my guard down, a little toy or new movie to enjoy would make its way home with us.

What I couldn’t offer was more time. Time for swim lessons. Time to take hip hop or drum classes. I couldn’t make room for theater or painting, for karate or baseball though we tried.

I wished, with all my heart, to have been able give you the chance to experience everything. To travel and see the world. To learn languages you’d never use. To find something that was uniquely yours.

You were only 5 years old at the time that I wrote this with no realization of all that I did and didn’t do. The sadness that colored my expression as I drove past the studio offering new classes in jazz and movement. The sigh I released as I checked out the new Fall schedule for swim classes that we couldn’t fit into our days.

The regret that, though I gave you every ounce of everything I had, I couldn’t give you those opportunities. And that it wasn’t a short term issue. It was something I prepared myself to accept as a long term issue. The issue of time not being available and that we would only be just us.

When you read this, I want you to know that, though you didn’t take tumbling classes or join a basketball league or get a chance to explore watercolors or Spanish, it wasn’t for lack of effort. And if you had asked me, I would have moved heaven and earth to find a way to make it happen.

All I can offer you in your grown up days is the knowledge that you were loved. Loved to the moon and back. We may not have done boy scouts or sleep away camps, but we laughed. We laughed everyday and we were goofy everyday. We sang songs together and shared the same sense of humor.

As you read this, now a fully grown man, maybe with a family of your own, I hope you have memories of the snuggles in the morning, of singing in the car and of making plans together to see every city in all the world (yes…you wanted to travel and see everything. And I agreed). I hope these memories are beautiful and warm, filling in for the memories we never got to make.

Silly Faces

All I could offer then was everything I had. I gave you my all. And if you had asked me for more, my son, I would have found a way.

Neither did you ask nor did you complain.

Instead you laughed.

And together, we were silly.

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