It’s me, Dad. You and I still won’t meet for a while. You’ve got about four more months to go. I just wanted to get in touch with you again since it’s been some time since we talked.
The last time I wrote to you, you were just an idea, a hope and a prayer that your mom and I just whispered together. We did not know if you would be a boy or a girl, or if you would ever even be born.
But now you are not just an idea or a thought or a prayer. You are an idea made alive. You are growing every day, and for that we give thanks. While I am writing this letter, I think about the book manuscript that sits on my desktop, a testament of all the things your mother and I have done to try to help bring you into actual existence. When you finally show up, it will be about five years that we waited for you.
Those five years will have been worth it.
But I want you to know something, son. it’s really important that I say this, because it’s going to be easy to misunderstand.
Your mother and I want you, but we do not need you.
That sounds a little harsh, I know. What do I mean I don’t need you?
Lately, the doctors have been taking lots of photos of you. We have been able to see your arms, your legs, your fingers, toes, your face, nose, even your bones. That is pretty exciting.
Of course, you will learn one day that often times, the more you know, the more you worry. The doctors will always discover some little thing to make you worry, even though they say “It’s nothing to worry about.” There are people who “counsel” couples on all of the risks associated with their genetics. So lately, we have been thinking a lot about your physical health and well being. We hope that you emerge into the world as a healthy little boy. We do not wish for you to have extra challenges in life, of course.
But we know that even if you have challenges, disabilities or health problems, we will still love you. It does not matter what the doctors or the genetic “counselors” say. We do not need you to be “healthy” or “normal” the way most people think of “normal.” We know that however you come into this world, you will be loved.
We have also spent a lot of time thinking about what our dreams are for you. Sure, we are excited to have a baby, but we know that babies only last a little while. We are much more looking forward to seeing you grow. We do not know if you will be exceptionally smart or not. We have no idea if you will have athletic talent. If you do, you will truly be a genetic anomaly. Maybe you will be a great musician, or you will be blessed with a logical and mathematical mind. We do not know if you will look like your mother or if you will inherit your dad’s nose (God help you if you do.)
Perhaps none of our predictions for you will come true and your life will come as a complete surprise to us. That is okay too, son. Your mom and I do not need you to be a great writer, or a skilled ball player, or a magnificent musician or artist. We have no unfulfilled dreams that we will be looking to you to live out. We have no frustrated ambitions that we will pile on you. I know there are some parents who yell at their kids when they fail to hit the ball at a Little League game. I will be no more or less proud of you if you hit the ball or do not hit the ball.
I think you are starting to get the picture, but let me say this too.
People have been congratulating us a lot lately, and we are happy to receive good wishes. People have been saying “There is nothing better than having kids,” and I’m sure they believe that. Many people may be assuming that now that you are on your way, we are finally happy. With a child, our lives will now have purpose and our marriage will be better.
But I want you to know this.
Your mother and I will be happy to have you and we are looking forward to this adventure with you, but we were also happy without you. We did not pursue you with desperation, looking for a child to fill a hole in our lives, to fix our marriage or to give our lives purpose. Putting such expectations on you would be unfair and unattainable. Your mom and dad can take care of themselves. You don’t need to worry about that. We know that you will soon grow up and we will be empty nesters…again. Our job is not to keep you forever, or make you the solution to our problems. Our job is to keep you for just a little while and then send you out of the nest.
When you come into our home, know with certainty that you will be loved by us. We will be proud of you. We will encourage you to no end. But we need you to do nothing to fulfill us. We do not need you to be anything to make us proud of you.
Just show up and be who you are, and that will be enough.
See you soon, son.