Dear Malin Reese,
This is my first official letter to you and I’d like to begin each of these with a list of a few simple do’s and dont’s that may eventually help you navigate through life.
- Do be kind for the sake of being kind.
- Do love the animals in your life and the ones you’ll only meet in passing
- Do seek out social justice. Always.
- Do give the Arts a chance to be a part of your life
- Do value the power of your intellect over the power of your beauty.
- Don’t date a guy who has a popped collar or is wearing an Ed Hardy shirt. EVER.
- Don’t wear sunglasses indoors. You may notice that Popped Collar and Ed Hardy Guy do this.
- Don’t take selfies. You may notice that Popped Collar and Ed Hardy Guy do this.
- Don’t be frightened by Nicolas Cage. He’s terrible but ultimately harmless.
- Don’t ever get caught listening to Creed. You may notice that Ed Hardy Guy gets caught doing this.
It’s been a little over 6 months since you’ve entered my world and I have some good news: There’s no sign of the awkward cone that shaped your head for the first few days of your existence. In actuality, you’re perfectly beautiful. If your mother or I had any cold-blooded business sense, we’d have sold you to Disney by now.
Before I get to the crux of this letter, here’s a quick recap of your life thus far: You’ve conquered 7 plane rides, endured our transient lifestyle during a move from Phoenix to Seattle and have ruined a handful of my shirts with your formidable bowel explosions which for a time smelled like a combo of sweet curry and aggressive gingivitis. It was enough to challenge even the most seasoned gag reflex. You probably haven’t had the type of stability that you deserve but you’re still breezing through life with a sweet smile and a disposition most parents would kill for. So thank you for that.
Now on to something that I think is paramount for you to know. Being your Dad is the greatest privilege I’ll ever know in my life. Some people might actually find this sad (those people probably work on Wall Street and hire someone else to raise their kids) but for me it’s inarguable. I write about this now because I’ve already grown weary of hearing the common parental platitude that “Being a parent is hard work”. Well, no shit being a parent is hard work. At the moment, I gauge my success as a father if you’re still breathing in the morning. I have to parent each day with the simple idea that fierce love will always triumph over my inexperience. So yes, being a parent is hard work but the hard work associated with it is such an insignificant piece of the puzzle. I’m asked all the time how the transition to parenthood has been and never once have I dismissed it with “It’s Hard Work”. Instead, I’ve talked about how you’ve been sleeping through the night since you were two months old. How you smiled at me for the first time at 3 a.m. and it turned my world upside down. That you stare in amazement each time your dog brother and dog sister walk into your line of sight. These little moments and achievements are the privileges that I hold on to and I promise you that I’ll continue to highlight them as I watch you discover the world.