by A. T. Miller
Written for my child-to-be.
| It should be so simple to write this, but when faced with the task, I feel inadequate. I know this doesn't have to be profound, but I want you to feel what I am feeling at this moment; the wonder, fear, joy and despair at your coming. All the things a father-to-be fears, I fear. What will you be like? Will I be a good protector, provider, and role model? Will I know what to do when you get sick? Will I know all the answers to your questions?
It is important to me that when you are older, you understand how much I love you even though we have not met. I envision holding your little baby body in my hands and you smiling up at me. I hear your laugh, I see the spark of intelligence in your eyes, and I know the mind of God. I am not one for religion, but when I realize that you're coming, I know that I am blessed.
It's strange how we have lived all our lives until your birth without you, not knowing what we've been missing. You enter our world, and suddenly everything is different, improved. I know that there will be times of frustration, when you will want to strangle us as parents, but you have to understand our point of view. You are our world. All that we do is in preparation for your coming, and for maintaining you while you're here.
I want to offer you all that I can give, but I'm not sure what I'll have to share. I'm sorry if your life does not turn out to be a whirlwind of financial bliss. Life is so much more than that kind of wealth. Sarah and I have each other, and now we both have you. We could lose everything else, and that would be enough. We learned that the hard way, believe me.
I want to accept you for who you are, but that is not a license for you to become a bad person. It is a promise that no matter what course your life takes, as long as you live healthy, benevolent, and wise, I support your decision. Things may change in the future, but my hopes for your life to unfold in the most brilliant way possible will never diminish. You can do anything to which you set your mind within the scope of human achievement. I heard that and thought I would grow up to be a superhero. Now I just really want to be your hero.
What does it take to be a good person? The notion of benevolence is both a matter of perspective and social conscience. What I am is not perfect, and I have never claimed or pretended to be. I do what I must for those I love, no matter how difficult. I try my best to do what I believe is right, and that is all I could ever ask of you. Be a good person at all times. Please, try hard.
To this end, I make a pledge to you, my child, that I will adhere to throughout the remainder of my life:
1) I will never abandon you. I cannot control nature, so I cannot promise that we will never be separated, but when it is my choice, I will never leave your side.
2) I will teach you how to be a good person both in word and deed. I will tell you how it is done, and show you by example how to lay your anger down, how to share, how to grow in this world without doing harm.
3) I will put your needs above my own. I will prove to you that dreams are not falsehoods we tell ourselves in disgruntled fervors in our dreary, everyday lives, but I will recognize when to stow them away when practical demands warrant.
4) I will never relax my vigilance to ensure your safety. I will protect you with my very being, with every sense I possess, and every faculty at my disposal. As long as you let me, I will keep you close and watch over you.
5) I will maintain discipline. I will offer you both freedom and structure, applying in a tempered fashion the rules that all people must follow to function properly in society.
6) I will strive to elevate your status whenever possible, while refraining from living through you. I want you to be the best at whatever you become, pressing only hard enough to keep you focused.
I cannot tell you that you will have everything your heart desires. I don't even think you should have that. You will have everything you need to be fed, clothed, housed, taught, and loved. These things I can guarantee regardless of the circumstances.