Happy Father’s Day!
It’s been five years since the last time I was able to celebrate Father’s Day with you but, as your son, this day still carries weight with me no matter how far away I am or how long it’s been since I’ve seen you.
I thought about passing this letter off as an idea I had all along, but the truth is I neglected to put a card in the mail on time. I hope this note can make up for that.
I wish I could be with you today. If we were together, we probably would have risen early, shared a pot of coffee, walked the dogs along the river bluff, all the while discussing ideas and projects in the way we like to do. I would inevitably share a hot take, you would question my thinking in a genuinely curious way, and I would be challenged to defend my position only to realize I had not actually thought it out. You are good at that.
I have always admired your ability to think; to parse out problems into their fundamental parts and address each part on its own. You have an uncanny ability to identify the relevant factors contributing to almost any decision, and you never hesitate to ask the difficult but important questions. When you find a gap in your knowledge, you fill it. You have the humility to acknowledge that which you do not know, and immediately set out to learn that which you do not understand. Thank you for teaching me how to learn and showing me what it means to really think; to question my assumptions and be humble about my ignorance.
You have a rare but keen understanding of your emotions and the impact they have on your outlook. At no point in my life did you try to convince me that men don’t have feelings or that men do not hurt. Thank you for not shying away from expressing your emotions in an honest way and showing me that it is okay to be vulnerable.
Your work has never come before your family. Nothing was ever so important that you could not support me at a big event or sit down for a family dinner. Thank you for showing up and being there.
Even when you are busy with work, you never hesitate to take my call or answer a text when I need something. Thank you for dropping everything to help me with whatever project I’m working on at the moment or whatever problem I am trying to solve—even if you’re explaining something for the 100th time.
Your love of reading has always been something I’ve aspired to. The amount of books on your shelf is astounding to me, and you certainly have the wisdom to show for it. Thank you for passing along your proclivity for reading, and for sharing your books and articles that you think I will enjoy or learn from.
When I was about 10 years old—and many times since—you told me something I’ve never forgotten:
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Thank you for teaching me how to love by loving my mother, and being a model for how to treat my future partner.
When I am discouraged, demoralized, or defeated, you consistently say what needs to be said—not just what I want to hear—to set me on the right track. I have never once questioned your support for what I am doing or where I am going because you have always been in my corner, coaching me in the fight. Thank you for believing in me unflinchingly.
“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” –Ian Morgan Cron
Thank you for being that man for me, and for inspiring me to be that man one day for my son.
I look forward to many more long walks accompanying long talks.