Category Archives: For Collin and Finn

Things I want my sons to know about me.

Wednesday Night Ramblings

Dear sons, since you’ve gone back to Florida, I’ve missed you desperately.  When you’re here, I feel whole and alive and happy.  When you’re gone, there’s an emptiness in my heart nothing can fill.  I don’t know why you haven’t been calling me as much as you used to, but I miss talking to you and hearing about your days.  You’re both growing up so fast, and I want to share as much time as I can with you.  You’re my guys, and I love you both more than you can imagine right now.

I’m exhausted from working on this book.  It has taken nearly everything out of me to write it this summer, but I’m almost finished.  One day, if you read my books, I hope you’ll both know that I wrote them for you, to give you something of me that you could cherish and remember and pass on to your children and grandchildren.  You both are my inspiration and motivation, and even though we aren’t together as much as I’d like, I hope one day you’ll find joy in reading this series.

It’s almost time for me to write tonight, and both of you are probably sound asleep right now.  I wish with all my heart I could pop my head in your room, watch you sleep for a few minutes, and kiss your foreheads.  There’s not much harder for parents than to be separated from their children, and for me nighttime is the worst.  While I’m writing, I hope both of you are enjoying happy dreams and resting comfortably.  Please, know that I’m always thinking about you and missing you.  Hopefully, I will see you again soon, and hopefully, we will talk tomorrow.

Tuesday Afternoon Ramblings

Dear sons, this is a cautionary tale about abusing drugs and alcohol.  Right now, you are too young to comprehend this piece, but as you grow older, I hope you’ll read it and heed my warnings.

Drugs are tempting.  The temporary high can be exhilarating, and the escape from reality can seem like the answer to all of your problems.  But when it comes to drugs, both the high and the escape are lies.  Over time, your body will build up tolerance for the drug, and you will need more and more of it to achieve the high, until you reach a point when you need it simply to feel normal.  The escape is an even bigger lie because once you come down, all of your problems are still there, and more often than not those problems have become compounded by mistakes you made while high.

I have witnessed many lives destroyed by drugs, people with promise and potential who threw away their futures to temporarily feel good in the present.  I’ve seen firsthand entire families ripped apart by addictions because drugs don’t just affect the user.  Personally, I lost my relationships with my grandmother and grandfather because of the addictions of my aunt and cousins, and to this day I carry a lot of guilt for losing those relationships even though I wasn’t the one with the problem.  The addicts bankrupted and drained my grandparents dry, sending them both to their graves earlier than they should have gone and robbing them of joy during their final few years.

In short, sons, drugs suck.

Alcohol is no better.  In fact, because it is legal and considered socially acceptable, in many ways, it can be a worse addiction.  Again, I’ve personally witnessed talented, intelligent people destroy their lives trying to find the bottom of a bottle.  Well, there is no bottom, and once you cross the line from casual drinker to dependent, crossing back over becomes exceptionally difficult.  You both need to be wary of alcohol because the addiction is prevalent on both sides of your family, and you have close relatives who lost their lives because of it.

I can also tell you that when I was younger, I struggled with alcohol.  By the age of 22, I was very nearly a full-blown alcoholic, but fortunately, I was able to pull myself back from that abyss.  I believe that my abuse of alcohol in my teens and early twenties has contributed greatly to the delays in finding success because I derailed myself early on, and it took me many years to get myself back on track.  Today, by the grace granted to me, I can enjoy casual drinking, but every single day, I am wary of slipping back down that dark slope.

My hope for both of you is that you never have to face either of these issues firsthand, but the odds say you will, either with your own battles or through close friends and loved ones.  Just know, that if that day comes, whether you are facing it yourself or dealing with someone who is, I will be there for you as much as I can.  However, there will be a limit to what I can and will do for you because in the end you will be the ones who have to choose whether or not you allow drugs and alcohol to ruin your lives.  From my experiences, I already know that I will not allow them to ruin mine.

Tuesday Morning Ramblings

Dear sons, it makes me so proud to know both of you are embracing reading.  I can’t stress enough how valuable and healthy this skill can be in your lives.  Reading exercises your brain in a way nothing else can, which improves your intelligence, helps you retain more knowledge, and keeps you sharper longer.  Reading is one of the best ways to learn new skills and self-educate, both of which can go a long way to achieving the self-sufficiency I’ve stressed to you before.  Being literate empowers you in more ways than I can even begin to express.  The older you get, the more you will be grateful for learning this skill and embracing it.

Reading is also fun.  There’s not much more entertaining than diving into a new world and meeting new characters in a well-written story.  If you read good books, you will rarely be bored, and your imaginations will grow immeasurably.  Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve reading books, and much of what has shaped me into the man I am today came from the pleasures of reading.  There’s nothing wrong with playing video games and watching shows/movies, but reading is a much better, much more beneficial, and much healthier activity.

One day soon, you’ll be old enough to read my books, and that thought both fills me with pride and terrifies me.  If you love the stories, of course, I’ll be delighted, but if you don’t, I’m not sure how I’ll feel.  I wrote them for you, hoping to share a heroic tale that would inspire you, and I care more about your approval than anybody else’s.  So when the day comes when you do begin reading them, I’ll be more nervous than with any other reader.  All I ask of you are two things: please be honest with me, and please be gentle.

Enjoy reading, guys.  You have both entered into a pastime that can change and enrich your lives forever.  You make me proud that you both enjoy learning so much and that you are beginning to absorb books.  I promise you I will provide you with as many as I can find, and you will have an endless source of entertainment and education.  I love you, boys.