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Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
I guess in a way you could say this is the accidental sequel to “You’re Not Entitled To Much In This Life, Except…” from a few days ago.
So this is something I meant to say, too:
The reward for a job well done is more hard work.
That’s definitely the case at my job in the office. I don’t assume I’ll get a raise simply because I’ve been employed there for a certain amount of time.
I see it more of an old school concept that you get a raise based on time. Instead, I work with the mindset that I need to daily show my employer that I’m one of the most proactive, diligent, and creative workers there.
Basically, as I prove myself more each day, I’m rewarded with new tasks and responsibilities- in other words, more hard work.
The concept is that I will eventually hold so many responsibilities and successly completed projects that a new pay grade will eventually be unavoidable.
Until then, I’m working hard and being rewarded with more hard work.
I wish I could tell you that life was easier than that. I don’t think it is.
The thought of ever retiring seems not only impossible for me, but it simply seems like a joke; not just because I have no faith in the Social Security program. It’s also that I can’t imagine not feeling the pressure of accomplishing tasks all the time.
I’m afraid I’m one of those people who would die within a year after retiring. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Therefore, I plan to stay moving and active.
As I write all this, I can’t help but think about how this mindset makes me think of being a parent. With each new phase I complete, like the get-no-sleep phase when you were a newborn, I graduate to a newer and more advanced job.
Nearly three years ago I was cleaning bottles, whereas these days I’m helping you potty train.
If the reward for a job well done is more hard work, then that means hard work is rewarding. Weird concept, but I get it. Actually, one of my favorite books in the world is Ecclesiastes, which is widely believed to be written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.
This sums it up for me in a way I can appreciate:
“5:18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”
If that’s how I see the world, and how I see life, it would seem difficult to feel entitled to much.
Needless to say, I am your daddy. That means the reward for being your daddy is, being your daddy.
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Friday, September 20th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
I would like to believe that I will grow old with you. That’s definitely my goal.
But something I am forcing myself to think about is… what if I didn’t? What if right now, something happened to me?
Would you actually remember me at this point in your life?
Would you read these near daily letters I’ve written to you and simply think about how you sort of remember me?
Or is there any possiblity that our memories together have stuck with you enough that I’ll always be a part of you, without any visual prompts needed?
It’s a strange and sad thought for me because my life is consumed by you. I remember everything we do and say together.
What if you only had these letters to go by to know who I was? Have I been thorough and open enough so that you would know who I really am and what mattered to me?
And if not, what would I want you to know?
I hope it would be obvious that I loved you and Mommy more than anything; that my world would fall apart without either of you in it.
I hope you would be able to see that my faith in God was what my relationship with you and Mommy was built on, despite my shortcomings which often reveal themselves in these letters.
I hope there would be no question that I was an eccentric man who lived an interesting life. It matters to me that you know this about me, because I wish the same for you.
Well, I’m sure I could go on and on about what I would want you to know about me, about yourself at this age, and about life itself.
But again, I plan to be around a very long time. So if I get my wish, there will be plenty of more letters to write you in these decades to come. I’ll tell you all about it.
I love you.
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Thursday, September 12th, 2013
2 years, 9 month.
They say that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone- that it’s easier to take good things for granted when you’re accustomed to them always being there.
Whoever “they” are, I think they make a good point about life.
I don’t want this to be the case with you. I don’t want to take you for granted.
This may sound morbid, but sporadically, I go to a very dark place in my mind, and imagine what life would be like if, suddenly, you weren’t here anymore.
I do believe in a literal hell. And for me, the dark and desperately lonely place in my mind of a life without you in it, is as close to the literal hell as I ever plan to be.
Yet I force myself to go there. I think it’s important for me to go through that mental and psychological exercise.
It’s almost as if I’m subconciously trying to jinx ever losing you, by doing this. It’s my way of feeling I can control the situation.
Though I know I can’t.
I realize it’s not that easy. I realize it’s not up to me; that every day you’re here is a gift from God.
Maybe this helps me understand why I like the movie, Vanilla Sky, with Tom Cruise, so much. Every time I watch it, I have this greater appreciation for my life being how it is right now.
It’s not tainted or maimed by some big tragedy. By now, I’ve finally had some events in my life that have scarred me a bit, but they haven’t cast a forever shadow like losing you would do.
There is more than one way to say, “I love you.”
I hope you can see that all this is just another weird way to say it.
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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Last Friday night as I scrolled through friends’ Facebook status updates in an effort to find anything controversial and/or weird, or therefore interesting, amidst pictures of Instagrammed feet propped up to convince everyone that person is truly relaxing and enjoying life Kenny Chesney style, I came across this status update by a fellow dad:
“You know you’re old when you spend Friday night with your family looking at floor tiles at Lowe’s… and you love it!”
Dozens of “likes” were won.
Somehow it sort of reminds me of Chris Rock’s line at the end of the movie What To Expect When You’re Expecting:
“We love being dads! When I was young, I used to think I was happy – but now I know I’m happy. Exhausted, but happy.”
It’s basically this idea that the rewards of parenting make up for the lack of sanity, peacefulness, and sleep I traded in.
This may be blasphemy to say in a parenting blog post, but, it’s not worth it…
What I mean is, I don’t think it’s fair or legitimate to say that the “rewards” of parenting “make up” for all the sacrifices involved.
Yes, I absolutely love being your dad, but it’s not something I would do for any amount of money; because no amount of money would be “worth it” to me. My price tag would be so expensive I wouldn’t receive anywhere near my asking price.
Being a dad is something I live for. I am wired to want to make all necessary sacrifices for you. And yes, it’s true: Nothing else I’ve ever experienced has brought me a better sense of meaning in my life.
But can you really put a value on life itself? I say you can’t. And when I think of “life itself,” I think of you.
I think of random little things you surprise me with every day; things that probably wouldn’t be that interesting if I told them to anyone else.
Like how you recently turned the CD sleeve to the newest Dave Matthews Band album into a new children’s storybook, which you read in a falsetto voice:
“Hey! Wake up everybody! Time to eat your oatmeal… The man wakes up in the box. Hey, where’s my bed? The bird wakes up on the lawn? He looks for food? He eats the Cheerios. The milk is yucky.”
To me, that’s brilliant. It’s moments like that you give me which are so subtle and hilarious and awesome… and priceless.
But not rewarding. Because I don’t see being a parent as a rewarding thing; I see it as life itself.
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Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
This morning we drove the first half of the way to school in the rain, but the skies began to clear by the second half.
As they did, I announced, “Jack! Look, in the sky! It’s a rainbow! Do you see it?”
You looked through the windshield, asking, “Where? Where?” but not understanding what you were actually looking for.
Finally, you looked above the green I-65 South sign and finally saw what I did.
“I see yellow choo-choo, Daddy!”
That sounds pretty random when I tell it, but I have to consider: You’ve never seen a rainbow until today.
To you, it was a yellow train chugging across the sky.
Despite my 29 and a half year head start into life, I still am fascinated by rainbows; as you obviously are too.
Actually, it’s pretty hard to look up in the sky and see a rainbow and not at least think, “Cool, a rainbow.”
A rainbow is a universal sign of hope, I assume.
I have to assume that as hard as life can be, a person has to see a rainbow and consider that there is hope beyond what we see. For you, I would have to think that life is already more like that already.
You haven’t failed in life, yet.
You haven’t been legitimately disappointed about anything.
You haven’t regretted anything in your past.
You haven’t only wished you would have known sooner.
Hopefully, that’s where I come in. I want you to learn from my mistakes. Sure, you’ll make plenty of your own mistakes; that’s part of life.
But I want to help fast forward you through the learning curve of life.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but there are clues of hope embedded into everyday life, if we know what to look for.
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