“You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”
― Fulton J. Sheen
To my dearest B and father-to-be,
I don’t really know how to begin this, but there’s definitely something to be said about life’s timing. Echoing the very sentiments you shared with me while in Illinois, it’s as if we were cursed from the start. The timing was just unfair and it seemed pointless to us in moments of despair because of the practical foundations we were already rooted in. But I am not angry, nor am I upset with you for failing to be the person you hoped to be. I’m starting to understand that time is not linear. It’s a malleable agent of space and as a dimension that opens up our perception, there is a way to detect things.
While life is odd and often inequitable, I’m starting to see and feel that things are working out the way they’re suppose to whether we approve of it or not. Of course, those months before you broke the truth were some of the most cherished moments in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I remember the first day I officially met you. I remember thinking, that’s a guy with a big head of curly, black hair. That wasn’t my only thought though. I thought about how smart you were, how everything you said was interesting and enlightening. It was also, after months of talking and getting to know each other, that I began loving you for seeing your enthusiasm and passion, not to mention, the beginnings of you emerging from a being that felt trapped. You were slowly becoming more of who you always wanted to be and I loved you.
Do you remember that time I told you there were no such things as coincidence? And then every person you spoke to that same week said the same thing? Know it then and know it now, but that still holds true. Sure, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the way things end up being from the choices and circumstances we’ve found ourselves in—but, I want you to have faith in yourself and faith in the moments, B. Trust the timing of your life and trust God’s plan for you. If you do, I promise you will live a life without regret and see the bigger picture without the hurt and pain these last months have brought all of us. Nothing is ever too small to be a mistake. I need you to remember that even if you protest that I’m not real or that I don’t matter.
Knowing it today, I will always love you and feel blessed despite the agony you afflicted on me both emotionally and mentally for six years, that God in all His glory and grace, brought us together for something. I don’t think us meeting or even indulging in our commonalities because of a natural affinity was a fruitless chapter to life. God brings everything into our world for a meaning, and despite you regretting it all now, that’s just your fear and immaturity speaking. I know like any relationship, the one I had with you, the one we built together on your inclination, brought meaning, at least for me.
I know those moments and every smile or laugh we shared, they meant something for you, otherwise you never would have prolonged this relationship. But I know from everything we shared from that spring and summer in 2009 to this moment here, you genuinely believed deep down in your soul we were friends—as you would put it so sweetly, “true friends.” You still do. Even if you’re told not to because it’s misguided or because someone feels they need to overpower your feelings, you feel it. They can strip you of everything to prevent you from recalling that time, but you will always be who you are amidst the rubble.
Despite withering away from the technological world to prove obligation to the authority you must bow to (do you remember this?), I know you. I don’t know why or how, but I have an inkling in my gut that feeds the rampant thought that despite it all, despite making me cry and beating me down to a dark place that lets you feel I don’t exist to better your conscious, you still care. I know you would pay me that much respect and care by sitting up each month, reading my emails, discreetly, quietly, absorbing my friendly advice and seeing first-hand what it means to live freely through my bright eyes. And the difference between you and me is that I always knew what my love was because I discovered it through you. I always trusted my intuition and instinct, and today I’m starting to trust time through patience.
And because of what happened last fall, you sped up the timeline. I don’t know how or why, especially after we talked about such conditions and how I always, always stressed to fix things before altering the equation. But you did what you did so simply and now, in a few short months, you will be a father. As I mentioned before, you will be a phenomenal father, B. I know you will. You’re a smart fellow who uses his head rather than his heart in everything you do, but when that kid (if it was a girl, I know you’d still manage to braid her hair…) comes into the world, start using your heart, B. I beg you. Even if it means you open up your heart and true self to one other person in the world, please let it be your child.
I can still recall our conversation from years ago when you highlighted your parenting anxieties at the lake house, that later developed into a grand disinterest in parenthood. Between the fluctuation in your tone to the clenched fists you opened up slowly after I told you what I did, that night I knew you would have it in you one day to be the parent I know you can be.
With every shard of this broken heart, I will still love you and I will be so proud of you for being a father. You need not ever be anxious again because that little one will be your true love and your first priority. And I know you are going to be an amazing father because you have been blessed with amazing father figures around you. There’s no road map, B, but I know you’re going to find your way no matter how long it takes. I know you down to a T, and I know between that drive from work to home or vice versa, a million thoughts run through your head about what’s going to happen and how you’re going to be.
With the way my life has been, I’ve been able to watch a lot of my friends and co-workers have kids. After years of us talking about it, you finally got that bun in the oven (high-five). If I may, here is advice catered to you from knowing you, that I would share and it’s good. I promise.
- Your heart and compassion will always be enough, so don’t ever worry about fixing everything. Just look towards your kid as a guiding light. They don’t need you to solve every problem of theirs, B. They just need you to be there to help build their character, understand the world and prepare them for the realities of life.
- Who cares if they don’t color inside the lines, B. You never did, so why impose such a rule?
- Be vulnerable to your kid if you can’t be that way with others. Show them that other side of you because that’s going to let them know you trust them enough to open up your heart, and vice versa.
- When you see your kid, forget everything that puzzles you about your life. Smile, kiss them, smell their head and do this every time. Even if you’re having an off day, another argument, or are just frustrated and tired. Your kid is going to need all your love through how you value them, no matter how big or small they manage to get.
- I know you tend to live in your own head, jumping the gun, theorizing outcomes and spending so much time internally alone because of it, but there’s so much about yourself that no one else knows but you and while you ponder, “How much is me?” versus “How much is in my head?,” start understanding that your kid cannot be like that. Your kid is not a mini-me. Allow your child to be strong, experience life on his own terms and let him be more of who he wants to be than you could ever be. You have fears, but don’t let yours be his.
- Don’t ever let your child compromise their happiness or dreams because of a societal norm, or because of what someone might tell them. You might have done that, but don’t let them ever.
- Most importantly, don’t ever give up on yourself, B. Create a beautiful, happy world for your little one but know that if you give up on yourself, compromise your identity, your personal values, your needs and digress down a road of unhappiness, they will see that and feel it. Don’t give up what makes you, you. You are beautiful, smart and so intelligent. I’m happy and crying at the thought of someone so new to the world, getting to dote on your intellect.
- Lastly, B, don’t ever compare yourself to other dads. When you put yourself up against others in order to prove how you love your child, you’re going to lose. Comparison is the true thief of joy. (By now, you should know that as she already does.) Whatever you love most about yourself, whatever your passions, whether they be film or the paranormal, whatever makes you light up inside and curls your chin up with happiness through a beaming smile, keep doing that please. Those first few months where you get into the groove will be hard, but I know you can do it. Once the “daddy dust” settles, consider yourself and get back to you in a way that reinvigorates your spirit.
I wanted to add how you should never break their heart, but heartbreak is a part of life. Sure, it takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart (my journals are a testament of that, ha!), but let them fall. Let them fail. Failure has an appalling way of feeding fears to our doubts and insecurities that it isn’t possible to succeed when you nosedive—but that isn’t true. Fear is only as deep as you allow it to be. Unfortunately, of course, you always let fear win you over and trample over your ambitions, but don’t let that happen to your child. If you understand what failure means to you genuinely and recognize it as a means for growth, you will see how you can triumph. If you can get past the fear and accept it as a probable outcome, any impossible dream seems possible.
Hang in there, B. You’re my best friend, I love you and you’re going to be a great dad because you were always such a great friend to me. If anything, if you maybe take an ounce of care, admiration and affection you set aside for me and feed it into your child’s well-being, you know they’re going to be really loved and love you back ever so naturally. How could they not. I mean, it’s you. And they’re blessed to have you as a dad.
Trust the timing of your life. Each obstacle and every opportunity is all part of a greater purpose, leading you to exactly where you need to be no matter the space and time.