My daugher is 29.
When she came into my life, I was 21 and she was 3. She was a chubby-cheeked little girl, playing in the dirt just outside my front door entrance.
My son is 24.
I got to see him come into this world, and I cried when I got to hold him.
They deserved better parents.
I can't undo my failures, but I often wonder what damage I caused. Like everything in my life, I should have done better… but this time, there is a lot of truth in that usually distorted thought.
Yesterday, on the phone, my daughter and I had a little chat. She's in the middle of a break-up with her current man and about to graduate from university. She was emotionally stressed and wondering what her next steps were going to be. I reassured her that she always has a home and has a family that loves her. Further, I told her that she could do anything she set her mind to.
She told me while fighting back tears, that she remembered the first time I told her that when she was a little girl. I responded kind of muffled, fighting back tears of my own, that it's still true today.
It made me happy to think that she remembered those words and took them to heart so long ago. It made me sad to think of all the times I wasn't so supportive, times when I was mad or hurtful in my words or actions.
A young online Australian friend once angrily blogged 'Words hurt… and you can never take them back'. She was so right… doubly so, when it comes to your kids.
My two kids are kind, caring human beings. That's what makes me proud as a dad. Things they achieve seem so secondary to that basic truth. I hope they both find happiness in this world… nothing more or less.