In a little over one month my wife and I will be retiring and moving to a new home in Ohio. Since we have spent the last 40 years living in church-owned parsonages, this will be the first time we will have a house to call our own. It’s also only twenty minutes away from our eldest daughter and 3 of our 6 grandkids, so it will be especially nice.
In preparation for retirement we have been downsizing and cleaning out 40 years of clutter. It’s disheartening to discover just how much useless junk you can accumulate in the course of a lifetime. Every week we are filling two garbage barrels and depositing at least 4 extra large garbage bags in front of our house for the sanitation department to haul away. Just to show you how easy it is accumulate things without trying, we just found two boxes of books that had not been unpacked since we moved here 12 years ago.
In sorting through the box I came across a large, one-volume book, The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. Since I’m not an avid Poe fan, I almost threw this one away. However, since the title was embossed in gold and the page edges were gilt, it looked like it might have been a gift, so I decided to open it up. I’m glad I did, because it was a gift from my 2nd eldest child who had written me a touching note on the inside fly.
01, Dec. 2001
[He is in the Air Force, so of course he dated it using military nomenclature.]
It seems to me that children will say that they are not going to be like their parents when they are young, but more often than not they do. I said it and I grew up to be like you in many ways and I’m proud to be able to say that now, because even though I bitched and complained about the way you raised me, you did a great job by me.
I’m proud of who I am and who I’ve become and without your guidance I don’t think that I would be who I am.
I love you for who you are and what you have done. And even though you may think you were hard on me when you raised me, I don’t and I still love you. ‘Cause no matter the circumstances, you are my Dad and I am your son. And I am proud to call you Father.
Love Always and Forever,
PS. That doesn’t mean I’ll kiss you though.
His words warmed my heart and brought a tear to my eye. What a wonderful affirmation to receive at the end of my career as I move on to a new stage in my life. It was a providential serendipity.
It is especially wonderful because my son is a great father to his children. I hope someday that he will receive a similar letter from them.
As for the PS about him kissing me …well, that’s another story for another time.