I'm not sure what emotion I'm suppose to show as these days pass by me and I realize the time is nearing. I can only tell you what I feel now and pray that you understand someday.
You bounced into this world twenty years ago and my heart filled with love and pride, yet I worried if I knew enough to be the Father of a Son. I hadn't felt this confusion when your sisters were born, as a Father I simply swallowed them up with love and adoration as most Fathers do with their little girls. No, it was different having a Son, especially because I'm not like most Fathers who hunt, fish, play and enjoy sports. I enjoy the wonder and wonders of this Mother Earth this place we call home. I'm in awe of Sunsets after a Spring storm, the call of an owl in the blackness of night, the feel of cool smooth river rocks on my feet as I wade across a creek. I decided when you were a baby that I was not going to pretend to be a macho Dad because honesty is something you needed to learn. Very quickly you and I made our connection and in the early years you wanted to be with Dad. We became buddies and the worries I had faded as we ganged up on Mom and the girls in the house. Once you ask if I would buy you a hammer so when I was working on a project you could help, I didn't let you see, but I cried that day. I know I got a little carried away because the next Christmas I built you a bright red tool box. On the front screen door of my Studio I put another handle just a little lower because you couldn't reach the tall one. When I showed you “Your” handle you ran to get Mom and the girls and show off what Dad had done, I didn't let you see, but I cried that day.
You always had long hair and a braid just like Dad but one day you ask if I would let you cut it. At first you only had the long hair cut and you kept the braid, but one day you came home with your braid in your hand. I knew then that you were becoming your own man, I didn't let you see, but I cried that day.
A few months ago you came home and told me you had joined the Air Force, I tried everything I could to get you to change your decision, but you held fast. I'm frightened for you, I'm frightened that you won't come home someday. I worry that when you do come home you'll be too big to need Dad to put that extra handle on the screen door.
I took you to Tulsa to leave for boot camp still trying to convince you to change your mind and stay home. You smiled and told me that this is what you want to do and you would be okay. We hugged and said “I love you” as we said goodbye, I didn't let you see, but I cried that day.
We've talked on the phone and written our letters and in October we will attend your graduation in San Antonio. We'll share a couple of days and then off you'll go again because this is what you want to do. We'll say “I love you” as we say goodbye but this time will be different as I'll let you see me cry that day.
I am so proud to be your father
I love you,
Sharing the Journey