An Honest Open Letter to My Son As He Becomes a First Time Dad
I really feel at this point I should be giving you all types of advice on being a parent, and I’m not even sure where to begin. In just a few weeks you will experience one of the most amazing moments of your life, becoming a dad. How can it be possible? Somehow 33 years I’ve gone by and it seems like only yesterday I was holding you in my arms for the very first time.
As moms, we want to be the ones to give you words of wisdom, reflective anecdote and compelling advice for every aspect of your life, but when it comes to being a parent I'll tell it to you straight… You just learn as you go.
I could talk to you about making sure the house is baby proofed, being careful what they eat, giving them a good balance of study and play, but let’s face it ....that’s really not what it’s about. The fact is my son, you’re going to make mistakes… A lot of them. I did.
As a parent your job is to raise your child to be healthy, happy, smart, and most importantly kind. We do what we can, trust me. I was completely lost on how to be a parent even after reading every book out there, but there I was...a mom.
At 22, they handed me this beautiful baby boy and sent me home from the hospital like they were throwing me to the wolves to survive. I remember standing there looking at you in your crib thinking to myself, “What am I gonna do with this little human who is depending on me to survive?". I became that mom that went in your room at night just to make sure you were breathing. I would watch you for hours and think to myself how am I going to know all the right things to do and say all the time? Reality check… I didn’t.
There were so many times that I thought I was failing at being a "good" mom. Maybe I was too hard on you at times, and other times maybe I was just too easy. Was I supportive enough? Did I let you be yourself or was I a total helicopter mom? But when I look at you now I realize out of all the things I’ve done well in my life, raising you and your sisters is my greatest accomplishment, and not because I did everything right, but because of how wonderful you are now. I know you’re going to be a phenomenal father. No mother could be more proud.
The Best Advice
So my son, my little boy, the best advice I can give to you on being a father is this. Don’t blink. Don’t wait. Don’t miss out. If the lawn needs mowed and she wants you to push her on the swing, let the grass grow. When she asks you to read her just one more bedtime story, read her two. When she’s tired of walking and wants daddy to carry her, pick her up and hold her tight while she’s still tiny enough to fit in your arms. When she wants you to snuggle on the couch and watch her favorite movie for the millionth time, watch it like you’ve never seen it before. And when she gets her heart broken by a boy for the very first time and acts like it’s the end of the world, hold her tight and realize to her, it is, and she needs her Daddy.
See, that’s what it’s really all about. What being a great parent is about. Creating moments that you can hold onto long after they’re grown.
Never forget the time goes so damn fast. Before you know it her first steps will turn into her first day of school, it will turn into her drivers license, it will turn into her first date, will turn into her leaving for college, it will turn into you walking her down the aisle and then…and as if it happened overnight, .... it will be her turn to ask you for advice on being a parent.
So step back and take a deep breath my son, because there’s no doubt in my mind that you will be an incredible dad. And I promise you that I won’t be that type of grandmother, aka Nonie, that’s spoils her grandchildren left and right non-stop. Oh who are we kidding... I totally will be. See... I’m still learning.
And for the record, you may be about to be somebody’s dad, but you will always be my little boy....forever and always my baby you’ll be.
Mom....a Grandma in training