A mi niño interior, para que deje de estar molesto.
(porque obviamente no tengo la menor intención de tener hijos).
I write this letter not having met you at all. Not knowing whether you’re a boy or a girl or any of your physical features. I write this letter because I found myself talking to you on my way back from the gym. See, your aunt, who I assumed you’ve met by now, is currently pregnant and she’s put babies in my head… for which we hate her (so, come to think of it, you may actually not have met her because we’re probably no longer in speaking terms. Trust me, she wasn’t that great. Lol). It’s not that I don’t like kids per se… I just don’t like other people’s kids. Most people’s kids. Ok, I hate kids. But, I mean, if you are in fact reading this letter I must surely have changed my mind because, well, you were clearly not an accident. I’m also writing this letter in English because that’s how it came out when I was walking home. I’m assuming that, if I have you, it means I no longer live in the country I grew up in and since I speak no other language, chances are I’ve moved somewhere in the States, Australia or the UK. I do hope you get to visit my country someday because it’s also yours. And it’s beautiful. Somewhat idiotic, but beautiful.
The reason behind this letter is quite simple: it’s a reminder. I’ve been wandering and wondering about many a thing, and I’ve come up with some interesting ideas about parenting and how I would like to raise you, if you do in fact one day find your way into my home. It all mostly stems from how I was raised myself, a.k.a. «How I will most definitely NOT raise you». My parents made some pretty dumb mistakes, but as I grow older I realize I need to cut them some slack. Most mistakes can be attributed to the context in which they’re made and that shines a new light on things. Regardless of that, I honestly do believe they were never really truly aware of how big a mess they were making. I would imagine they didn’t think much of it back then. And I know they couldn’t have known the effect those fuck-ups would have on me. But I won’t get into that, ‘cause I’m okay with all of it. You need to see your parents as people and not as parents in order to understand, forgive and forget. I know they loved me every time they fucked up in my eyes. I couldn’t know that as a kid and you won’t know that ‘til you’re my age, so there’s a chance you might resent my wrong-doings during the years in between, but hopefully you’ll come to the same conclusion and give me a damn break. I can wait for you to come around. Hopefully I won’t have fucked up too badly and it won’t take you long.
See, the thing I’ve learned when looking at my relationship with my parents and other people’s relationships with theirs is that loving your kid is nowhere near enough. That is a given, the love is there, but you need to put in work for it to be fully understood and truly felt. Kids will remember their parents however the hell they want. I know I do. Things may have actually happened differently from how I remember them, but what I remember is how I felt and that colors my every view. My parents gave me everything they had and yet that is not what I remember, because they also took a lot of it away. Unbeknown to them, of course. And I could never find the words to tell them (or even explain it to myself) exactly how much they took from me. And if you know anything about me by now is that I’m not much of a talker. I am, however, very much a writer. This is how I process things. This is how I get my ideas across. Talking is exhausting. So much histrionics involved. I can’t be bothered. I’ve turned into my dad in that regard. It’s kind of embarrassing.
That actually brings me to my next point, and perhaps this is the key to it all. One needs to be okay for one’s kid to be okay. If you’re unhappy in your life, if you’re going through the motions, if you’re letting joy die over your everyday burden, you won’t have the energy to put in the aforementioned work and your love won’t translate and your kid won’t feel it. No matter what you say. Actions speak louder than words and the tiniest of gestures can convey so much more meaning. Kids are people who have spent their entire lives looking at their parents. They get their inflections, but lack the context to fully grasp the situation. And then you get someone like me. I won’t do that to you. I want to be a lot more upfront about things with you, I want you to understand things and think. I don’t want you to be so sheltered you become blind to harm. I want you to be able to tell it’s there and best kept at arm’s length. I also want you to make mistakes and learn, I want you to choose to do the right thing because you know from experience what that is. The thing is I don’t know if I’ll be able to. Because those mistakes usually bring forth pain. Physical, mental or both. And I, against my better judgement reflected above, will always try to spare you from it.
Trying to stand between your child and pain and those stupid mistakes they need to make is human nature. It’s beyond stupid, ‘cause you will make them anyway, but it’s our nature. So let me break it down for you: you will think I’ll be mad – and I’m not gonna lie, I probably will be, but know that you can still come crying to me. Even when I say «don’t come crying to me!», you can come crying to me. My dad, who you probably never met, once reproached me I only came to him or my mom when I was in trouble (implying it was never for the good stuff). That’s a whole other letter I won’t get into, but my point here is: if you are anything like me (and you may not be because you probably didn’t come from my DNA… count yourself lucky on that regard!), you will be fiercely independent and that is just fine. And if you come to me with only your problems, that is fine, too. It means you’re out of sorts and need my help and I will help. I’ll try not to be an a-hole about it. If I am, just show me this letter and let me know I’m not keeping my end of the bargain.
I’d also like you to come to me with the good stuff; but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Do one thing for me, though. Be as smart as humanly possible about your stupid mistakes. Don’t make mistakes that will get you killed, ‘cause that will really piss me off. Also, don’t get others killed, that’s just fucked up. Oh, and don’t grow up to be a douche, I wanna be able to defend you and/or testify on your behalf in a court of law. That means no throwing your life away in any way. Dabble in whatever the hell you want, as long as it doesn’t harm others and/or yourself (too much), and I’ll be fine with it. Dabble, kid. Not full-on drown. Got it? Good. I’m probably gonna be a crappy parent because a) I never honestly wanted to be one, and b) as I said, I hate kids. More and more with each passing year. But I’m hoping I’ll be like those people who dislike every kid but their own. I’m also hoping you’ll have another dad who will be way better at it than me. Someone who likes kids, games and getting dirty. A big kid, in a way. That might balance things out.
One last thing, I can MAYBE warm up to the idea of having a dog. Your other dad, as described above, sounds like a dog person (which reflects poorly on my matchmaking skills). But we are having cats and you better love them or you’re out of the will.