I don't know when you'll read this or be able to, but I wanted to write it because you're on my mind. At the time of this letter, you are a four-pound baby in your mother's stomach and we're so excited to meet you. You've changed my life even before arriving and I hope that never changes, even when I'm tired of your attitude or you think I'm the absolute worst because I won't let you talk to some goofy boy that you like. (More on stupid boys later.)
We're praying daily that you are born healthy and that you and your mom survive your delivery. I never really spent a lot of time thinking about who my kids were going to be (or thinking of my kids in general) until last winter. Now I think about you constantly. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm going to be a great father; I'm not as confident as they are, but I'll let you be the judge. My only hope is that I can be. I've been surrounded by so many fathers who weren't there for their children (or wanted to be, but were beaten down by life's responsibilities.) I would never ever want that for you. You deserve my best.
There are so many things I want to tell you and show you. Although I must confess, when I picture you in my mind, you are always either a toddler or in grade school. (Honestly, I am not really looking forward to changing your diapers. But I will.) I picture us walking in the park and getting ice cream. I daydream about helping you with your homework and taking you shopping. I think about your first day of school and teaching you how to drive. I want to read you bedtime stories and convince you to love Alfred Hitchcock and The Isley Brothers and the Detroit Pistons as much as I do. I want to give you the carefree life of a child, while equipping you to be an amazing adult. Most importantly, I want to love you the way Jesus Christ loves me. And teach you how to do the same.
No matter what happens, know this: Your mother and I are in love and we were in love when we made you. If you ever hear your mom yelling at me, don't take it too hard. She's loud. She doesn't even know she's loud half the time. (I'm sure this will not be surprising news whenever you read this.) But at the time I'm writing this, she's hardly sleeping at night because your body has wreaked havoc on her body. So always remember that she's earned the right to fuss at us. She's going to be the reason for most of the good things about you.
Boys. You're probably going to like them, I guess. I really don't want to talk about this. Just watch them. All of them. The thugs, the pretty boys, the nice guys. They all want the same thing. This isn't to make you anti-men because your father is a man. But boys are trouble. If they can't be men and treat you (at minimum) with the love and respect that I give you, save yourself the heartache of getting emotionally and physically attached. It's not worth it. Trust me.
Your father is a wildly ambitious man. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this, I'm back to working on a feature-length screenplay that hopefully I'll be shooting by the time you start saying, "Dadadadadada." I don't know what complications this may create, but everything I do is for you. I don't want to be one of those fathers who can buy you everything but isn't there when you need me. But I don't want to be a father who's there all the time and can't buy you anything. Help me with that.
If I tell you no, it means no. Don't ask me again. Ok, who am I kidding?
I'm writing this to let you know that I was thinking about you and praying for you and excited about you long before you had any idea about the cocoon you're about to get shoved out of in 46 days. But when you do, you will be my beautiful butterfly. And I will love you and protect you and teach you. I am not your friend, I am your father. But that doesn't mean we can't be friendly.
Anyway, I love you. Always.
Jason Gilmore is a film director, screenwriter, novelist and unrepentant Detroit Pistons fan. Track him down on Facebook.
ABOUT JASON GILMORE
more about jason gilmore
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
7.14.10 @ 6:20a
"I am not your friend, I am your father. But that doesn't mean we can't be friendly"
Oh, brother. Isn't that the truth?
What a lovely, lovely view. Good on ya.
7.14.10 @ 6:22a
And Amina is a beautiful name. What does it mean?
7.14.10 @ 11:38a
Amina is an Arabic name that means faithful, secure.
I can only hope.
7.14.10 @ 2:29p
If you want to be a good father, you'll be a good father. It's the baby daddies who don't care to think about it who end up bringing themselves down. The more you think about it, the harder you'll try. The harder you try, the better you'll be. As the muppet said: "Do or do not; there is no fail."
7.14.10 @ 3:13p
7.14.10 @ 3:53p
Great column! And a lovely name. Are you pronouncing it AH-min-ah or ah-MEEN-ah? I have a friend who uses the first one.
7.14.10 @ 3:58p
Jael -- The first one. And thank you. :)
candy green gustavson
7.14.10 @ 4:10p
You're giving us "oldies" hope for the future! Nicely done.
7.14.10 @ 7:18p
Wonderful piece. I'm looking forward to meeting Amina before she is very old, because I am lucky enough to live in the same city as you and your wife. Of course, I still have to meet both of you face-to-face first, but that should happen in two weeks.
7.15.10 @ 9:14p
Thanks! Your choice of words is important: a baby, not a fetus (or a foetus). Your lack of confidence is proper. We all want to encourage you, but in our mind of minds (usu. heart of hearts) those of us who've been fathers for a while know where we've failed.
We fail as husbands; we ask for forgiveness. We fail as fathers; we ask for forgiveness.I failed my son--more than once. He forgave me--each time. Being a father, like being a husband--it's hard, patient work.
michelle von euw
7.24.10 @ 10:21a
Beautiful. I especially like the part about your wife having earned the right to fuss. =)
And Amina Pearl is a gorgeous name for your little Gilmore Girl!