I’m writing you this thank you letter from a sunny bench on the playground. (Thank you for letting me sit here, by the way. The swings make me barf). Technically you’re not babies anymore. At 8.5 and 11.5, I’m guessing you don’t have many years of monkey bars and swinging left in you. I’m just happy you still love playing with dolls and Legos. Can you make that last a little bit longer, please?
As an initial matter, I’m sorry I brought you into this shithole slum of a planet at probably one of the shittiest, most overpopulated and bleakest times in human history. Sorry for saying “shit.” I’m sorry, too, for the trouble I have caused in trying to do my part to un-shittify things. Maybe I’ve shat them up worse. But maybe you will understand why some day, and pick up where I left off, and do a better and less self-destructive job of it?
I hope so.
Your biggest gift to me is bravery. Not fearlessness. I have more fear now than ever before. But you make me brave because I know that the only thing that matters is that I live to see you grow up and that you both outlive me. If that happens, I can handle anything. People can drag my name through the fetid sewer of lies and bullshit all they want and I could be broke and homeless and none of it will matter as long as we are around to love each other.
To my girl: I envy you. Your self-confidence, your self-esteem, your kindness, hard work, affection and your fierce independence. When I was your age, all I cared about were boys and friend drama. I cried over everything. You care about friendship bracelets and making your own French toast and finishing your math homework correctly and on time. You never get in trouble, unlike your mother. You hardly cry. Grandma dreaded my parent-teacher conferences but I look forward to yours because I know I’m not going to hear a bad word about you.
To my little man: You’re already too cool for your mom, I know. With your Sabiki fishing rig and your deep knowledge of local flora and your love of snowboarding and anything involving a ball. I doubt you’ll ever live anyplace but Alaska, and I hope you make it a better place. Thank you for teaching me how to raise a low-anxiety, wordsmith of a boy who loves babies, animals, and elders. Thank you for (almost) always being kind to other children.
The two of you are, by far, my greatest achievement. When you were born, I looked at you in wonder that my body made these perfect humans. I still love to put my face in your hair and read you stories and sleep next to you at night. I’ll try my best never to let anyone come betweeen you and your happiness and potential.
Thank you for the gift of being mine.