Letter to My Son

10/19/19 Saturday

Dear Son, I’ve always wanted to write you a letter. Until now it didn’t make much sense, because since you’ve been born we’ve pretty much always been together, except when I was away on work trips or gone surfing. I want you to know that I love you very much, and I’m always thinking about you, even when we’re apart.

I’m very proud of you, for many different reasons. We all know you’re exceptionally gifted, that you test way above your grade level. I won’t go into that too much, other than to say I’m often amazed at how your mind works, to talk with you, to see how you reason, how you work ideas out in your head before responding to people’s questions. I love your drawings, your games, the challenges and competitions that you make up. Your imagination is inspiring to others, myself included. I’ve always tried to encourage your dreams and ambitions, while reminding you that the road to achieve them is not easy and will take dedication, practice, hard work. If you love what you’re doing however, the time and energy you put into things, be it a hobby, passion, dream, or occupation, will not seem much like work at all.

If there’s anything that I could ever expect of you, it would be to do your best to respect others, and to respect yourself. Respecting others is easy enough to understand – be humble, gracious, treat others with dignity, kindness, compassion, and learn to appreciate what they have to offer. Respecting yourself I have found to be much more difficult. We tend to be too hard on ourselves, and can let the negative aspects of life break our focus from building on our positive strengths and gifts. Always remember that you have a place on this earth, that you deserve to be here, that you are unique and the world is a better place with you in it.

I’m sorry that things didn’t work out between your mom and me. Although it’s a tough time time right now and she and I don’t agree on a lot of things, your mom will always have a special place in my heart, and the good times we had before are well worth the bad we’re going through now. Above all you should know that you were conceived in love, that we both love you and know you love us. You have brought great joy to my life, and helped me learn a lot about myself. I’m not going to be the type of dad who pesters you for grandchildren, but I will tell you this. Being a dad is not easy by any means, and being a single dad is turning out to be challenging, sometimes scary, and usually just plain hard. But I can tell you that for me at least being your dad is the most rewarding, meaningful, and fun experience I could ever imagine. I’m so thankful you’re in my life.

If there ever comes a point in your life where you wonder about me, about who I am or what makes me tick, I can leave you some clues. One of my favorite places to surf used to be in Oregon at Cape Lookout. It’s remote, inconsistent, and sharky. You can’t see the break from the road, and it’s a couple of miles down a trail to the beach. But there have been times when I caught it good, and usually I was the only one in the water or on the beach. It’s a place where I can be wild and free. There were times when after these sessions, I would walk back up the many switchbacks and if it was sunny, would pause to look out through the old growth spruce forest out over the vast Pacific. In the afternoon the sun hits the water like trillions of tiny diamonds, and the shimmering blue dances all the way out to the curved horizon. If you understand that you will understand me. If you get to fly fish a Montana river in the fall you will understand me. Or camp in the desert Southwest. Or climb above treeline in the North Cascades. Or have a good cup of coffee outside on a deck in the morning sun. I’m a simple person and I love strongly.

I hope you will grow to appreciate the beauty around you, that you learn to love life. Take care of others, and take care of yourself. I love you. I’m without you this weekend and miss you very much. I’m looking forward to seeing you Tuesday at school for lunch, Wednesday afternoon, and next weekend. It looks like the weather might be good so I’m thinking we could go to the beach and look for agates on Saturday, and maybe go swimming at the pool on Sunday, just some ideas. Take care Day, see you soon.

after-the-rain.org / Boy jumping up in the air

Author: Rainey

after-the-rain.org What started out as chicken scratch notes on the back pages of my boat’s logbook has now grown into a blog. These words and images help me cope with a loved one struggling with mental illness, and they help guide me through divorce, and the process of moving on. Thanks for reading along as I learn about life the hard way, do the best I can for my son in my new role as a single dad, and find weird similarities between restoring an old blue water sailboat and putting the pieces of my own life back together. Come check out my story and feel free to say hi!

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