Good morning my son. I will say good morning to you many times for the rest of your life but now you are not quite able to understand it. You are just months in the womb and I hope that as I talk to you each day, my mouth against your mother’s stomach, that you will recognize my voice when you finally enter this world.
I am starting my journal to you for several reasons. I need a space to reflect upon what it means to be a father, a place to ponder your creation and all of the emotional experiences that I will be going through. Hopefully, by understanding the experiences better, I will be more enlightened about what it means to be a father.
I am also writing this so that one day I can share it with you as a memoir of your earliest days. I hope that my reflections will give you a greater sense of your roots and remind you of how much you are loved as you become a man someday. One of my favorite philosophers is Soren Keirkegard who said: “Life must be lived forward, but understood backwards.” If you understand where you come from, I believe you will be centered and strengthened for your own journey in life.
In my own son/father experience, one of my greatest memories was going fishing and hunting with my dad during the late 60’s. No matter how much our week was disturbed by the Vietnam War, and the actions of teens and the establishment, I knew that Saturday afternoons in fall would be a chance for the two of us to be outside together and feel like the world was a stable place. The voice of Keith Jackson announcing a college football game on the radio will forever trigger my memories of being with my dad.
Besides the outdoor emotional connections I had with my father, my love for the mountains and camping goes back many years. While the camping part was self taught (my dad was too OCD about being dirty for him to be a camper), we took many family trips from my hometown of St. Louis to Colorado, and always worked in picnic lunches besides a stream or some great hike up to a mountain lake. These experiences are “etched in my memory” (as my mother would often say) and have always been a source of peace and relaxation.
Most of all, I want you to be happy and do whatever your heart desires. The mythologist Joseph Campbell put it thus, “Follow your bliss.” I am sure that there will be times when I’ll want you to do the things I enjoy and perhaps even want you to think the way I do. Please forgive me if I place too great a burden on you with these values and dreams. If we connect in a few areas like camping, hiking, and running, that will be great.
What’s more important than shared activities and ideas however is for you to have a base of love and support to help you establish your own roots from which you can follow your own dreams. I want you to have the freedom to be who you will be. But know this, my son: you will always be loved by your parents and by God.
Your Dad to Be
August 18, 1993
Lake City, Colorado