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Dear C and A,
This last week, you got to meet my grandmother and your great-grandmother. Mimi is 93, which means she lived through The Great Depression, WW2, the moon landing, the creation of the internet, and so much more. Those are only the headline events, but life is made up of so much more than headlines. She also raised 3 daughters, helped raise me when I was a young boy, and buried her husband of I don’t know how many years.
I’m so grateful you both got to meet her. C, you’d met her before, but this was A’s first time. I have no idea if you’ll remember spending this time with her, but I hope so. If only because having a great-grandparent is increasingly rare. Her life and your lives will be increasingly different, but for that one moment we were all together in our shared lives. I don’t know if the power of that moment was more about me or you all, but I’m grateful that we made it a priority.
Yet it was also a reminder of how complicated people can be. As I mentioned, I was raised by Mimi for a number of years growing up. I have cherished memories of their house, of her and Pops, and of the family she built. Yet I also don’t agree with many of the views she holds about politics or people. I felt pitied when she wanted to talk about our challenges as parents. I can’t sweep those feeling under the rug of different times, even as I love and respect the person she is. And I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance to reconcile that with her. I suspect that trip is the last time I will see her.
Separately, I’ve been thinking about your education and my responsibility as your father. Being your dad means feeling the weight of your future in a world I’m not sure I understand enough to shape. Maybe not everyone feels this way, but I do. I’m not one to completely rail against the schooling system, if only because I don’t know that I have the strength of energy to take their place, but I know that your education doesn’t end at the doors of the school. It ends at my feet. Which means I’m figuring out how to support your curiosity, your ability, and your mental talents. This week, we’re trying some above-your-level reading. All because I had to get started while building the plan. I couldn’t waste the opportunity.
I hope by the time you’re both interested in these letters, some of these make sense. Maybe they’re just the ramblings of a crazed old man, lost in his desire for more and better. I don’t know. But as I said before, they are me.