What You Mean To Me

Joseph Medler daddy-o

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It can all disappear. It can happen in an instant or it can happen over time. What’s certain, the only thing really, is that all of us will go away. Each and everyone of us is renting. A hundred years from now, give or take, their will be all new tenants, each one deeply connected to the past from which they sprung, but each one also tied to a future we can’t imagine. The slipperiness of it all is easy to understand and hard to truly fathom. What’s promised to me is this minute. As such it seems important for me to try to truly explain to you both how much you mean to me.

You guys are my life’s greatest achievement.

It’s an entirely selfish assessment to be sure, but I have achieved things in life, everyone does, and truthfully, without question, whatever conceivable and inconceivable things that may yet come you should know that I’ll never ever do anything that will have meant more to me than raising you. What’s silly is to think is that there’s some list somewhere, even if it were to reside solely in my head, where there could possibly be something listed second. Nothing would deserve to be that close to you guys. Your mother feels the exact same way.

From the second we met both of you we knew we had found our guiding stars, our purpose and our direction. I’m certainly still capable of making bad decisions, and sometimes I’ll do things that will have some small negative effect on you. It’s okay, we’re all human and I hope you’ll forgive me. What I know is my path is the one you’re walking on in front of me. At times you’ll drift and at times I will, but I know it will never be too far. I’ll always walk that path behind you, keeping watch and marveling at your journey. At the paths you blaze as you make your way. It’s been my life’s greatest pleasure walking the path you’ve cut for me.

I’m so incredibly proud of you both.

It’s insane to think that you’ll have no frame of reference for what I mean when I’m saying it. After all you’re 5 and 3 as I write this. You’ll understand down the road. Truth is there’s a little selfishness in this too. That’s okay. Family relationships, the best ones, all the best ones contain certain aspects that would be hugely dysfunctional in all other relationships. Make no mistake, we are tied tight to you two. You’ll wiggle free someday, even though we’ll keep cinching and tugging, you’ll break away. You should. Hell, I’ll be proud of that too. Even through tears I’ll be looking at your blurred silhouettes walking away as you must and I’ll be filled with pride. Fear and love and anxiety and pride. It’ll be right there with all the other feelings. Including lonely and perhaps a touch lost. But I’ll be so proud. I’ll also slip the rope through your belt loop and it will always be there ready for when you feel fully your own and want to come back and reminisce and learn what it was all about and who we were now that you’ve earned and learned a new perspective.

Language is insufficient to describe what you each mean to me.

I love you both to the ends of the earth. I love you past the ends of the earth. I love you across time and space and I love you in a way that the word love can’t sufficiently convey.

When I was a kid I was cursed with parents who loved me. As a disaffected suburban youth this did not fit the narrative I was constructing and at times I rejected the love that was so generously heaped on me. It wasn’t a jerk thing. I was just not aware of what my parents meant when they said they loved me. I didn’t get that they were saying it not only to me but of me. They were expressing a thing that is far beyond what we know of love until we meet our kids. Perhaps others find it elsewhere than with children, perhaps you will. For my life, for my parents lives it was becoming parents. I can no longer speak to any other experience than the one where I become a parent and I can tell you that I’m so very much in love with the life it’s given me. The life you’ve given me. Sure, there are no doubt times when the business of parenting could best be classified as my favorite frustration. What’s interesting about that is that in retrospect it all turns into beauty, even the parts that might feel awful to live through.

I’m planning a long adventure that takes us all down the path as far as we can go together. I’m aware that we won’t all be on the path together forever. But I’m also aware that we will be on that path, together, forever. Because whatever else may be happening and whenever you may be reading this you should know, the minute you guys came along you removed all the boundaries that I had assigned to myself. You stretched that moment to the length of a lifetime and proceeded to teach me how to dance on it, free of the burdens I’d imagined weighed so heavy before you taught me to let them go. You are the magic that makes my life complexly beautiful and you brought with you all the joy and love to last a thousand lifetimes.

We’re not promised tomorrow, but we have today. I’m so happy to be here with you two.


About the Author

Joseph Medler

Joe Medler lives in New Jersey with his beautiful wife and two strapping sons. He will tell you he is the luckiest man in the world. You can find his writing at .

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