I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.
I actually took this entire challenge because I remembered AOM’s post about how important this is while privately having a freakout on vacation with my family. I realized that there is a barrier in communication between me and my father, and I won’t get into the psychoanalysis of why that is how it is, but it was distressing me and making me feel guilty as a daughter for having this weird relationship where I don’t talk to my dad about anything beyond baseball, the weather, and me re-thinking law school (I’ve rethought it at least five times). Our interactions on the phone are often him saying “Well, I overheard what you and Mami were saying. I love you, take care,” (in Spanish) and then he prays for me, but mostly I keep in touch with the entire family through my mom unless we are all Skyping as a family. He also doesn’t know something rather important about me that I had to tell my mom last year. Relate this all to gender all you will. I’ll do it later – right now, writing the letter is the thing – I’ll reflect on the gender part later. Questions though: Do any of you have a similar relationship to your fathers? I think part of the reasons are gender based (I saw my mom more growing up since she got home from work earlier, patriarchy-awareness made me suspicious of some of his advice, etc.)
Those two weeks I was home this summer, I tried to fix all of this by reconnecting with my Dad by asking him one question, one that would not be so nerve-wracking to ask, but one that goes beyond how he thinks the Padres will end up this season and how it’s 90 degrees in Chicago. I asked him about his favorite person in the Bible. My Dad’s favorite person in the Bible is Solomon, which is a newish favorite person of his, I think, because lately he has been talking a lot about wisdom. He says he likes Solomon because he was given wisdom by God and valued wisdom enough to ask for it. I told him my favorite person was Amos, and then I also added Nehemiah – and he nodded on that one, recalling that he was the one who asked to rebuild Jerusalem after exile. After that we didn’t really talk about it much further, but I was glad to at least now know who my father’s favorite person from the Bible is, which gave me an insight into his values, just as I’d like to think my choice of Amos and Nehemiah stems from my values.
I think a letter to my father would be a series of questions. I am scared of going beyond questions because he has done so much for me, and I feel like I would fail to appropriately describe this weird guilt of not knowing him as much as I’d like to while at the same time knowing that I am very much in his debt and how right now I am not at all what he probably hoped I’d turn out to be at this age. I think my questions will include things like:
1. How did you feel about how your life was going when you were my age?
2. What is the most important lesson your father taught you?
3. Who have been the best friends you’ve ever had, and why have they been the best friends you’ve ever had?
4. What is the most important part about being a good son?
5. What is the most important part about being a good parent?
6. What is the most important part about being a good husband?
7. What is the most important part about being a good friend?.
Now that I have an outline, I hope to have the letter in the mail by next week.