Dear Malin Reese,
I wanted to share with you a quick story before I get to the rest of this letter. Last week I hopped on my company’s intra-city bus so I could quickly get back to the heart of Seattle where I park each day. I ended up being the only one on the bus so I struck up a casual conversation with the bus driver, a 70-year-old man who didn’t really like the idea of casual conversation. What he really enjoyed instead was relaying extremely personal information about his recent divorce. It turns out his ex-wife cheated on him with a “greaseball” chef who mass produces food on a giant cruise ship. His ex-wife eventually got bored waiting around for said greaseball and begged for the bus driver to take her back. After a few naughty cell phone pictures were sent the bus driver’s way, he became weak and succumbed to the “devil woman’s” “wicked snatch”. But hey! Good news! He just had a breakthrough and will no longer be “perpetrating tomfoolery with the wrong head”. If it seems inappropriate that I’m sharing this, it totally is. I’ve started a couple of these letters with a list of Do’s and Don’t’s. I have one simple Don’t for this letter. Don’t be an over sharer.
Speaking of divorce, you have a few extra Grandparents because of it. I watched your Grandma and Grandpa go through one when I was 9-years-old. There was a lot of heartache and pain (cue cheesy Foreigner song) associated with their divorce and it certainly shaped a good portion of my childhood. A few years later Mom watched the same thing happen to your other Grandma and Grandpa. More heartache and pain and another marriage added to the growing societal scrap-heap. I don’t want to trivialize divorce because it’s a drag. But you know what? It’s also normal. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Sometimes people just aren’t meant to be together. Or they shouldn’t be together. For instance, most marriages in Kentucky should end in divorce because it’s not okay to marry family. I can’t speak for your Mom, but there was one really amazing thing that happened as a direct result of my Mom and Dad’s divorce. Aunt Anna and Aunt Brittany became two of my closest friends and remain so to this day. In troubled times, you either fade far away from the people who are closest to you or you dig in with them and brace yourself for whatever comes your way. We chose to dig in. Always choose to dig in with the people you love.
I adore your Mom. We have history and a real-life love story. You are the culmination of that love story. Having said that, there are no guarantees in life. I can’t say with 100% certainty that Mom and I will be together ten years from now. She could eventually grow so weary of me leaving your bottle brush in with the rest of the dirty dishes that she serves me with divorce papers. I could have a chance encounter with Matt Damon…and then you’d have two Dads. Here’s what I can guarantee; I’ll always put your Mom first. I’ll love her fiercely. I’ll always try to become a better husband and not get too comfortable with the person that I am. I promise to do the same for you kiddo. I think that will always be enough.