Fathers Day letter from your mommy (republished)
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
Mommy showed me an old letter that she wrote to you on Father’s Day 2012 today. I wanted to share it with you again this year, because nothing has changed in terms of how she expressed my love for you kids.
I try to still be that “shirtless guy in the Phish hat” that she met so long ago. There are days I don’t feel like that kid anymore. I’m older, heavier, more grey, early to bed, more apt to bypass the 2nd beer rather than continue on. I think I’m wiser though. Sometimes I hear about who I was though at different times in my life and wonder if anything ever really changes. Most of the time I know he’s still there, the passion I had for life now mostly channeled towards you guys instead of destinations and dreams of things to do “while I’m still young.” Some ships sail into the distance after all.
I can’t complain about that.
At least not now. I’m happy in my life. Though I did dream a few nights ago about Seabrook; the afternoon breeze there on Northbeach, the smell of pine straw blending with salt water, a slow walk down the path towards the water.
I rode my bike this morning; 30 miles with some hills – the pounding of my heart in my ears a quiet reminder of the shirtless guy in the Phish hat.
The same guy who loves you and Mommy with the fire that used to burn up less important things.
A neighbor asked a few weeks ago why you never wear a shirt Max.
Here’s what Mommy to you 4 years ago:
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
Your daddy is crazy. Completely nuts. I mean, the guy shaves his legs and gets up at 4am. And it is that craziness, determination, DESIRE, that makes me love him so much. He goes after everything in his life with passion – straight from the heart passion. Triathlon, training, writing, me, and especially you kids. I could never have imagined that wild, free-spirited 23 year old that never wore a shirt or shoes walking across our college campus, but always his trademark Phish hat, would turn out to be the most passionate man I have ever met. Or that I would be lucky enough to spend my life with him.
I met your dad on March 27th, 1998 at a concert, but I knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life with him a week earlier when I talked to him on the phone. I told my coworker after I talked to your daddy about coming to work for me as a lifeguard that summer, that I was going to “marry that guy with the great voice.” His voice gave me chill-bumps. We got married a year to the day later, and our life has been a whirlwind ever since.
On our first date, I knew, with my whole heart, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. For hours, we sat in a corner booth discussing life, what we wanted out of it (to be writers, dreamers, living on the beach and having a different life than the normal day after day 9-5). It wasn’t long after that that your dad and I got married and took off and lived our dream for a while, living on Seabrook Island, SC as newlyweds for close to a year. Then reality hit, and we had to start over.
Sometimes life gets in the way of your dreams and even though you may have to take a temporary detour, you keep the dreams alive everyday. We knew that we couldn’t chase dolphins every day for the rest of our lives…yet. So, we worked hard. Daddy got his first “real” job at a publishing company, and I got my master’s degree. We still managed to live our dream occasionally, taking lots of trips all over the Caribbean, Mexico, the keys, and always back to the place where we had our first glimpse of heaven – Charleston. We kept waiting though to live the life of our dreams.
After 5 years we were still missing something, and that void was filled when you were born Isabella. You were born at sunrise, 5:15am, and the symbolism for what that you would mean in our life was established immediately. All of the dreams, and passion, and heart and soul that your father had was put all in you. I knew watching him hold you and gazing into your eyes for hours those first few days, that with all the beautiful places we had been and things we had done, you were by far the most beautiful in his eyes.
Then you two came along Max and Kate, and though your ride here was bumpy, your daddy and I would not change it for the world. Watching him hold you two little bitty ten week premature munchkins made every second of the heartbreak and hardships that came before you two came, worth every second. Someday we will tell you about that journey.
Isabella, you have your father’s desire, his drive, and his determination. I love watching you already chasing your dreams the way your father does, and I love seeing the pride in his eyes when he watches you race or do gymnastics, win or lose you are always the winner in his eyes. You are growing up to be such a beautiful, strong young lady. You have always looked like your daddy. Some of our friends even joked that they weren’t sure I was your mother.
Max, your daddy was a nervous wreck when we found out we were having a boy. He was so afraid he wouldn’t be able to kiss on a boy and love on a boy the way he did a little girl. But he was, and he does. I love the way you have to cuddle up to your dad every night and watch “ball” with him – even though you tell me every night to “go away” so you can have your dad time.
Kate, you are your daddy’s clone. We never thought a kid could look more like their father than you, Izzy, but you just might have her beat, Kate. I love watching your daddy hold you up next to him in he mirror (your favorite thing Kate) and say “clone wars” in his various star wars character voices. I love the way he is so protective of you all of the time. He still sees that sweet tiny little baby fighting for her life in the Vanderbilt NICU, and he is still brought to tears by those memories often. We came so close to losing you and that haunts your daddy.
Your mommy and daddy had lots of dreams, desires, and plans for our life, and the three of you far exceeded all of them. Now, the five of us have even bigger plans and dreams. Right now your daddy leaves the house every morning to go to an office job, so that he can provide for us. There is a lot that’s heroic about that – because I know your daddy. But I’m also seeing the real Chad surface again in him. The man who thought anything was possible. There’s so much to be done in life and he doesn’t want you kids to miss it. He won’t be content with a normal life. He’s been talking in metaphors lot lately about “living on a boat” and only living once. That’s the man I met so many years ago.
All of the passion your daddy has for life, and all of the dreams he has for our family, is exceeded by only one thing – the passion he has for you three.
You are his life.
And you are the luckiest, most blessed children in the world to have him.
I love you,