THANKS. (An Open Letter to Parents)

Archive, Fatherhood

My earliest memory is moving into the home I’d eventually grow up in. I was probably two, maybe three. I remember the kitchen counters being as tall as the Eiffel Tower and I remember the backyard was dirt.

That’s it. My earliest memory and that’s all I remember.

I don’t remember my mom or dad. I don’t remember diapers or teething. From age zero to age four, I don’t remember anything.

This is nothing shy of a tragedy. I understand that now. I understand that the hardest years of my parents’ life were the ones I don’t remember. At all.

So, Mom and Dad, accept this as a belated thank you. Because I understand now what you went through and it deserves recognition (albeit 32 years late).

Thank you, Mom, for sacrificing your body to bring me into this world.

Thank you, Dad, for supporting her through it all.

Thank you for the rocking and soothing and long drives to put me to sleep.

Thank you for the patience you showed when I didn’t sleep.

Thank you for every diaper bought and changed.

Thank you for sacrificing your free time and independence.

Thank you for bearing the strain a child puts on your relationship.

Thank you for staying together.

Thank you for all the kisses and hugs I don’t remember.

Thank you for surviving those days of utter, zombie-like exhaustion.

Thank you for not giving in to those moments of sheer frustration.

Thank you for all the clothes I wore only once.

Thank you for all the creative ways you entertained me.

Thank you for not going insane.

Thank you for the hard decisions you had to make.

Thank you for enduring the insecurities that parenting brings.

Thank you for thinking of my needs before your own.

Thank you for surviving the long nights and early mornings.

Thank you for a stable home.

Most of all, thank you for trying.

I understand now that as parents trying is all we do. Parenting isn’t about perfection. It’s messy and improvisatory and forever immediate. It’s unfortunate we can’t remember growing up, but being on the other side now comes with a growing appreciation of all of your efforts. And I can’t thank you enough.

 

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