(Reed’s Playlist for the occasion: Better Together by Jack Johnson)
I’m hoping you still read these posts. I know you’ve been really busy lately, and I wasn’t ever sure how much you were able to read my stuff, especially because you’re not on Facebook.
To be honest, there are a few people I’m kind of holding back on writing about, even though they’ve been instrumental in the formation of me as a human being. There’s just no way to really, truly explain the tangled mess of things I feel about you all. But shit, I’m gonna give it a try.
When I tell people about you, the first thing I say to them is that you’ve cared for me so much. And I think that’s the right word for it. It’s not just like you loved me, or raised me, or helped me become who I am. You cared for me in that you caught me when you knew I was going to hurt myself, and you let me fall when you knew it was important for me to know the pain. You cared for me in that you watched over every homework assignment, every school play (Seriously, though, why did you film all of “Going Buggy”? Waste of camera memory.) You cared for me in always nudging me towards the right direction, but never forcing me to go there.
You know, it’s funny. When I considered what a parent is and does, I always just assumed this was par for the course. It’s the true hallmark of a role model that, for most of the formative moments, you don’t even realize what they’re doing for you. It’s only time and retrospect that let you see that they were behind you the whole time, supporting and uplifting you.
And I know you know this, but you were not par for the course. The story started pulling apart when I got to college. When I heard about your own family, and their fragmented state due directly to a lack of good parenting. When I heard about how you and Dad waited for decades for a divorce so that we would all be grown up and not ruined by the split. When I heard about a friend’s mother, and how horrible a parent can actually be to their child – even just through negligence or turning a blind eye.
There are so many ways you can parent “wrong”, and only a few that you can parent “right”. And I really think the root of all good parents, those I’ve had the privilege and luck to witness in my life, is that caring.
You always tell me how you’re looking for a person who will be as good to you as I am to Lindsay. That statement kind of breaks my heart, a little bit. Because I care for Lindsay, as I was taught by you. Without seeing the way you loved me, I would have no idea how to love another human being that fully. And God knows if someone deserves to be loved that fully, it’s you.
Every time I speak of you, it’s with admiration. I want to be like you – your responsibility, your gentleness, the ease with which I can approach you. Most of all, I want to care like you. It’s been my goal in life since I ever really started considering what my goal in life should be.
I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know that you did so well raising the three of us. I want you to know that I believe you’re going to find a person who cares for you the way you cared for us. And I want you to know that on that day, I’m gonna open up a big-ass can of “TOLD YOU SO.”
Thank you, for everything. I wish I could do better than this, but words are all I have right now.
I love you.