Sunday, June 15, 2008

A letter I'll never get to send.

Dear Mr. Sgt.'s Dad,

Happy Fathers Day! It may seem odd that I'm writing this to you, since you and I have never met, but I feel as though we have. From what Sgt. has told me you are in some ways a reflection of my own father. In the ways you aren't, I've listened to Sgt. tell stories that have painted me a picture. I wanted to thank you for the man that you raised. While I am not one to canonize any parent for the way their child turned out, (I believe a lot of times children turn out the way they do in spite of who their parents were rather than because of who they were, good and bad), I think that a lot of the decisions you made pushed Sgt. to be motivated and independent - two things which I love about him.

He is very similar to you in a lot of ways, he gets his flare for cooking from you, and might I add you would be very proud of the presentation he makes while doing so. I hear he also has your stubborn streak... I'm still working on it but if you have any tips let me know. He's not nearly as tall as you, but he's incredibly charming and handsome, so thanks for passing on those genes! Did you know that the man actually gets frustrated when I get in a hurry and don't let him open my car door? He tells me it's a habit you instilled in him from a very young age, I love it. If we have children together, boys in particular, I hope it's a habit they pick up from their father, who picked it up from you.

Sgt. and I grew up in very similar homes so I am not afraid to tell you that you made some mistakes, as my own parents did. However the older we've both become, and the more we've thought back, the frustration slips away and we have both realized that although you all weren't perfect (no parents are), we believe you did the best you knew to do. HE believes you did the best you knew to do. My heart breaks knowing the guilt he carries in not being able to get to tell you that himself. Somehow though, I know that you know. He doesn't say it much but I know that he wonders from time to time if you would be proud of him today. I think you are. He told me how you signed the release papers when he was 17 to join, and how proud he felt you were. Thank you for that. I'm not sure if it was a wisdom only a father has or if it just didn't matter much either way at the time, but you allowed him to follow his dream, and his heart. He followed it into something that he finds true fulfillment and pride in, and for that, I don't think "Thank You" is enough.

Let me tell you a little bit about the man that your son is these days. He smiles a lot now. As an NCO, the only time he isn't racing to talk to me is when he needs to take care of one of his soldiers. He loves looking out for them and in a way, I think it reminds him of your other son, his little brother, the Marine. I've met him too by the way and it goes to show that their depth of character is not just a mishap... they are both honorable and wonderful men. He's very competitive, I beat him in a game of canasta while he was home and I could barley scoot my chair back from the kitchen table in triumph before he was challenging me for "two out of three, two out of three." He still loves to tell stories and will talk your ear off if you stand there to listen long enough. He's so intelligent. Sometimes too much for his own good, but I love listening to him give advice. He's such an old soul. He wants two boys, and one girl, just like you. Right now we're waiting to hear back on his acceptance into an officer program, he's always striving to better himself. Tennessee is still home, and I can see why, after having visited. He still loves the mountains, which I think resonates a connection with you. He's an amazing friend, and partner. Sometimes I wonder to myself what I did to deserve him. He's so funny! His dry sense of humor fits perfectly with my quick wit and we have fun bantering back and forth. I hear he has your laugh. The man is stubborn, and if I know one thing, I know he gets that from you. The family has told me, but it's obvious from the last few stories he has of you. It's ok, I'm not upset, it's part of the package that is him, but like I said before, if you have any tricks let me know. He's respectful and courteous, traits I know were also passed down from you. Thank you for that. He bought a new car, which he loves. The stereo system is loud enough to blow your ear drums out but he loves playing the music loud anyway.

I know you are proud of him because it would be hard for any father not to be. I can see he still carries some guilt with him in all that happened right before you passed, so if you could visit him in a dream and let him know it's ok... that would be nice. He is so worried that something will happen to him before he gets to spread your ashes, I think he feels like it's the least he can still do for you, since there wasn't much he could do before. He's a wonderful man, and I wanted to thank you personally for helping bring him into this world. It couldn't have always been easy but you did just fine, and he's doing great. He misses you. I know you're looking down on him though, smiling and most likely laughing your butt off from time to time.

One final thing. From the woman who loves him and all, I don't like to think about the worst that could happen, however in his line of work it's not something I can really avoid. I've thought about it and we've talked about it together. You can never dwell on it, you just have to trust in God and know that he is looking out for him (I like to think you both are). But, if something should happen, if one day I find myself starring through empty, tear filled eyes at a folded flag, please greet him with open arms. Tell him you love him and that you missed him too. Please tell him you're proud of him. I think deep down he knows, but that question can never be truly answered unless it's from you.

Thank you for having a hand in who he is today, he is a son you should be proud to call yours. Happy Father's Day Mr. Sgt.'s dad!

2 comments:

Lindsay aka Corn

I've often thought about getting the chance to thank *R*'s grandfather for raising him to be the man that he is today, but since he is passed, I thought I missed my chance. Thanks for reminding me that isn't the case.

trying

what a moving letter. i hope sgt finds the peace that he needs.