Thursday, January 10, 2008

The lines on my face

Every now & then we write notes to our kids, the same way my parents and one of my brothers wrote to me as I was growing up. Here's one that I'm dropping on Vee and Kee's desks today:

Dear child-o-mine,

You have probably noticed lately that both your father and I look tired and worn. You are seeing those little wrinkles form in places on our faces that used to be smooth.

I remember the first time I noticed that my mom and dad looked old. This is probably that same time in your life and I want to tell you a little more about why, how, and where those worry lines are forming so you can better understand your direct impact on us.

Here's one angle:

Some dads stay up late at night worrying about their sons who are out late, possibly doing drugs, being with girls, or otherwise messing up their youth.

Your dad is staying up late working on building a safety net for you so that if you become enamored with philosophy or medicine or ancient Greek literature in college, he can handle the college bills for a while longer while you explore.

What a liberating thought; what a freely lived life! We will earn those worry wrinkles one way or the other -- what beauty there is in earning them while building something good.

With every little choice you make throughout the day, you put yourself (and by default your family) on the path to greater freedom. Or not. You could be making choices that clamp us down to lesser freedom, where all our efforts are spent just staying afloat.

Instead, so many of your choices have been good, healthy, and mature, that we are focusing our efforts on developing the best kinds of worry wrinkles.

Here's another angle:

There are different types of wrinkles. Some moms form scowl wrinkles from looking angrily at their misbehaving children. Some moms form disappointment wrinkles. I hate disappointment wrinkles.

I'm forming smile lines, laugh lines, and fatigue lines. The smiles and laughs come from you between the hours of 4 and 9 pm. The fatigue lines come from all the other hours that I spend, working my hardest to build a future for our little family. The location and intent behind those lines is extremely important.

So, that's all for now, but pay attention to the lines on our faces -- they speak volumes of our love for you and for your future. You'll be earning your own lines soon enough.