A LETTER TO MY SONS

by Steve Clem on October 6, 2011

Dear boys,

We’re about to enter a new period in our relationship.

You’re about to enter what the world calls the teenage years (Nile, you technically already have, and Grady, you’ve emotionally been a teenager since birth).

And I’m about to transform from the “Dad You Want To Talk To,” to “‘Oh No, Here He Comes’ Dad.”

I’m not sure I’m ready for it.

I already felt the tug at the heart last week when I dropped you off at school. You admitted you wanted me to drop you off on the street instead of the front entrance not because it saved me time, but because you didn’t want to be seen with me.

I do understand. Believe me, with your Grandma, when I was your age, I have stories that would give you ginormous knots in your stomach.

But that will have to wait for another time, because I’m talking about the three of us.

Please know, that no matter how stupid and lame I become in the next few years, you are without a doubt the reason that I walk this Earth. We may not have the most traditional family, but that doesn’t stop us from having our own kinds of traditions.

So I am going to make sure that I can come up with some non-lame ideas for things we can do together once in awhile, when you’re not doing homework, hanging out with friends, attending football, basketball or baseball practice, or generally hiding in your room away from me.

Something that when you’re my age, you’ll be able to look back at and say “Those were great times.”

Ok, now to the really important part of this letter . Girls.

No matter how many times I tell you that you can talk to me about “girls and stuff,” I know that you won’t. No kid wants to talk to their parents about that. I certainly didn’t.

So I’m going to tell you some really important things now that I hope you’ll remember.

Don’t be someone that you’re not for a girl. Be yourself. If they don’t like you for who you are, they’re not worth it.

Respect not just the girls you like, but even the ones you don’t. Because every single one of them is somebody’s daughter.

Don’t date a girl to impress your friends. Date a girl who impresses you.

Girls will hurt you. It’s a fact. But you will survive the hurt.

When they tell you they want to talk, don’t roll your eyes.

Oh yeah, one more thing, you’re not allowed to date anyone until you’re 21.

Love you,

Dad

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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