Friday, August 1, 2008

Dear Son

I wrote this in high school and found it today, so I thought I'd put it up here. I wrote it in the voice of a father writing a letter to his son. I remember it inspiring some tears among family members back then. Let's see if it's still got the juice to do it now :)

Dear Son,

Maybe it's too late to say all of the things I should have said while you were growing up. I hope it isn't. I have left so many things unsaid. I need to say them now. There are so many things you need to know.

As I waited with you at the bus station that warm August day, there were so many things I wanted to say to you, but you know me... the words wouldn't come. I looked over at you and saw you in your new suit, freshly pressed shirt, new shoes, and I felt such pride. I was proud to be your father. I still am. I was proud to have a son that was going to make something of his life. You have certainly done that. You have never let me down. I'm afraid I've let you down in many ways. I believe this is the first time I've ever told you how proud you make me feel.

I remember sitting with you that day. It was a long time ago. You were so excited about going to college, starting a new life. Your cheeks had the rosy glow of youth, and your eyes were full of anticipation. I wanted to tell you then how proud I was, but I didn't. I'm sure, in turn, you wanted to hear the words. Son, I'm sorry I couldn't say them then. I just figured you always knew.

I remember how Rusty looked that day. As we sat on the step of the old family car, Rusty lay his brown and black snout lovingly on your knee. He loved you so. That was his way of saying goodbye. He looked into the distance with you, sure something was out there. He knew you were scared. He knew you were excited. He showed his support just by being there, and I thought it was all right if I did the same. I now realize that you needed more than that. You needed my words... my love. You needed me, and I wasn't there for you. Rusty held you close, while I held you at a distance.

You looked so handsome on that day. You sat there poised, ready for anything, and yet you clutched the pink-ribboned care package your mother had put together the night before. It was almost as if you didn't want to let go. You didn't want to be out on your own, and yet you knew it was something that had to be done.

I remember sitting there, clutching your hat in my hands, ready to give it back to you when the bus pulled up at the curb. I, too, didn't want to let go. All I could think about was how young you looked; how fragile. I wanted to keep that hat with me forever so you couldn't get on the bus. That didn't happen. I handed that hat over to you as the bus stopped at the curb.

As you walked onto the bus that day, Rusty let out a whimper, again showing his unconditional love for you. I know it appeared as if I showed no emotion as you took that first step into the world. I know it must have hurt you when I quickly left, dragging Rusty with me back to the car. Son, if you could have only known the reason I had to leave in such a hurry...

There was a single tear falling silently from my face that day, and I didn't want anyone to see. As I got into the car I quickly wiped it away and said to myself, "I'm proud of you, Son."

I wish you could have heard it.


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