Hey Kids, it’s dad.
I just thought I’d write you this short letter to let you know how much I love you and care about you. Seeing you grow from babies into these two amazing kids is such a powerful and tremendous experience for me. Being your father is easily one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I thank you for helping make my life feel so wonderful and complete. Each and every day, I am so appreciative that you are my kids.
While I have your attention, though, there are a few…small areas that are on my mind, ones that could use some minor improvements or fine tuning on your parts. Only if you have time, of course. No pressure. And I’m definitely not meaning to sound annoying or like a nag or that I’m angry or frustrated, because who could be angry or frustrated with kids as wonderful as you are…most of the time.
But, it would be great if you could read, discuss these items among each other, and sort things out a bit. Not huge things, mind you, because remember, overall you are amazing and wonderful. Never forget that. I’m just saying that we all have things to work on — look at your dad! If someone took some time to write me a letter like this with things for me to work on it would be much longer. No need to nod your heads so vigorously.
Anyways, if you aren’t too busy laying on the couch watching TV or eating the food that I joyously prepared for you while you also relaxing on the couch, it would be great if you could peruse this letter and consider my suggestions. Only if you have some time. No stress.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but you can each be slightly grumpy in the mornings. Not that I’m being critical! Believe me, I get it — mornings are tough! To state the obvious, no one enjoys having a great sleep in a cozy bed cut short. Having said that, it would make your dad so happy if the second you started interacting with other humans in the real world (namely me), if we could all just be in a good mood. I’m okay with tired, I’m okay with bored and I’m even okay with some well-timed sarcasm, but grumpiness makes me sad. You don’t want a sad dad, do you?
Breakfasts, especially on school days are slow! Hey, I get it — what passes for kids’ TV these days is hilarious and captivating. Some great work is being done on many accounts. And, as we all know, the real issue here is that your dad even allows you to watch TV in the morning on a school day in the first place. What sort of idiot is he (compelling question for a different day)? But look, no one enjoys cold eggs and no one enjoys being yelled at “why aren’t you eating?” and “could you please eat?” and “why won’t you at least take a bite?” while they gape mindlessly at the screen. So, it would be really peachy if you could just find some way to eat breakfast in a more timely fashion.
And I know we all want to look our best, so selecting the perfect combination of clothes as well as meticulously cleaning your teeth and brushing your hair is a top priority. I, for one, should spend more than the three-to-five minutes I spend on these tasks. So, I completely get that some time is needed to be prepared to set a foot out of the house (and exponentially more for two). But, when I’m racing around doing a million things and I see you standing there in front of the bathroom mirror almost literally brushing one hair at a time or ever-so-slowly trying on your third outfit with the toothbrush dangling out of your mouth, I go a bit batty. “There goes good ol’ crazy dad,” you must be thinking as you treat each individual tooth like a precious diamond as you remember the dental hygienist recommending. If you care for my sanity, could you perhaps pick up the pace just a tad?
Easily one of my favourite moments of the day is when I pick you up from school and I get to see your freckled smiling faces once more except for those rare (often) meltdowns in the car. I know you are tired and I know school is exhausting and I also know that it takes a lot of effort to “keep it together” all day when out in the public. But, sweeties, daddy is tired and exhausted too and he’d love nothing more than a quiet “how was your day?” and “what did you learn at school” drive home. Not that I don’t want you to share honestly, but if it could all be done at a lower decibel level with no crying and kicking my car seat or to at least give me a short warning signal so as best to ready myself for the (your) storm, that would mean so much.
Also, at least once every few days, one or the other of you has misplaced a favourite article of clothing or a much-needed lunch bag or some homework your teacher will kill you if you don’t hand in. And somehow, even though I was at work all day and clearly am not to blame (for this), it is all my fault? Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining or criticizing you at all. Completely not the point of this letter. You are both amazing! And forgetful from time to time. Again, I’m far from perfect myself, but if you could take more care, watch your things, maybe glue or tape or even staple important things to your body it would help. Daddy is trying to be funny, aside from the not-losing-things-anymore part.
You are each other’s best friends and nothing warms my heart or puts a tear in the corner of my eye then to see you sitting next to each other on the couch reading or on the floor playing a game or being kind to the other for no special reason. If only those moments could last the whole day! But they don’t. Something always comes up that shatters the peace. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday (clearly) and I fully understand you can’t get along all the time with someone you live with, and sometimes a little frustration is warranted, but dad would be gaining many fewer grey hairs each day if you could just get along. This means thinking before your hit, taking a deep breath before you yell and remembering your sister loves you and that your dad may be on the verge of a mental breakdown.
I hope this is going okay so far — you know how much I love you and never want to hurt your feelings, but while we are on the topic of fighting, it makes me tense with frustration when either of you are going out of your way to purposely be difficult. In case you aren’t quite sure what I am referring to, here is the scenario. Your mom or I will be asking for your help around the house or trying to get the family ready to go out and everything is going swimmingly and then, without notice or any obvious reason, one of you decides “hey, let’s just arbitrarily stop listening and following instructions just for laughs”. Not funny, but still adorable, but, to be clear, definitely not funny. And nothing can continue until one of you decides to let it. I’m sure the power and control is delicious and I hope you get to enjoy that when you are parents one day, but for now, make it easy for your dad, pretty please?
At the risk of feeling like I’m piling another one on my list of complaints, nothing puts a damper on a perfectly nice evening than a long, drawn-out bedtime. We all know that staying up is fun and five more minutes never really hurt anyone even when five really meant ten or fifteen (sounds like a prison sentence, doesn’t it?). And you raise some well-thought out and semi-articulate questions such as “Why are you being so mean?”, ”Why do you guys get to stay up so late?” and “You just want us to go to sleep so you can spend time without us.” We’ve done so much with and for you all day, so it would be amazing if you could hop upstairs like the cute little bunnies you are and go to bed. All of this ideally would happen without you having to be tucked in, kissed good night, had your water bottle filled up, your nighttime music changed, your pillow fluffed again and again and again till somehow, it’s morning already.
And at the end of yet another day, your mom and I flop down next to each other on the couch, utterly spent and we look back on the day that was. I hope you know how much we love you and wish you could somehow grow up a little more slowly as the teenage years and all of that excitement (wheee!) is just around the corner. Sure there is some frustration and some tears and some arguing from time to time and sure you two could be easier on each other and on us and sure you could cut back on the crying and yelling and hitting but never forget how amazing you are and that I still love you tremendously.
Your dad, Tommy