“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”
― Alexandre Dumas
If I could tell you anything, and have you know I mean it and you believe it, what would I say? I’d start by saying, “Thank you.” Thank you for giving me what were some of the best days of my life. Thank you for showing me that real love is possible. Thank you for giving me a son – a son who loves me unconditionally, who is my motivation for waking up each day and telling myself that “no matter how hard it is, I will try.” Try to do better. Try to be better. Try to achieve all of my dreams, goals and aspirations, not just for his sake, but for mine as well.
I’d tell you that I know you aren’t perfect. I’d tell you that I know you try. I’d tell you that when I think of you, I no longer think of the bad times. I don’t think of the times you angered me or broke my heart. I’d tell you that I forgive you. Truly forgive you. That when I think of you, I think of Alex, our son. When I think of you, I think of your sly smile and your ridiculous laugh. I think of your raspy voice – how it tilts when you’re excited and grows loud, and your heavy accent that after more than 15 years of speaking English, has not gone away.
I’d tell you that I’m sorry for the pain and embarrassment that I caused you. You hurt me. I hurt you. That’s the way my world used to work. I allowed rage, unforgiveness and a hunger for vengeance change me into a person that I wasn’t. I’d tell you that this is not an excuse. I was wrong. And I’d tell you that I hope you forgive me, too. Truly forgive me.
I’d tell you that I love you and always will. Love never fades. That’s how I know the love I felt – and still feel for you is real. We may never see each other, again. How I feel may not be reciprocated. We may not be compatible humans, but I love you still.
If I could tell you anything, and have you know I mean it and you believe it, what would I say? I’d ask you if you remember the silent fistpump you made when you found out we were having a boy. I’d ask you if you remember the day I left our son with you to run errands, and when I came back, he was wearing a diaper, knee-high socks and ‘Jesus sandals’. His diaper was full and you told me you forgot that he’s able to pee. That memory always makes me laugh. Thank you for creating his life with me.
I’d tell you that when our son was 6 months, and I walked away, sometimes I wish I’d stayed. I regretted nothing that day, and I regretted everything. I’d tell you that in 2008 – the year we finally said we were done, I wish I weren’t so blind to see how much you’d grown to love me. I’d tell you that I wish I’d believed Filo when she told me that you’d changed and that you loved me. I’d tell you that I wish I’d believed the pain in your voice when you pleaded with me to stay. I’d tell you that I’ve found peace in not believing it. That it was just a little too late. I could’ve wound up incredibly happy, or incredibly sad for the rest of my life. It wasn’t a risk that I was willing to take. I’d tell you that one day, I hope this is something you can understand.
I’d tell you that when you were in your 20s, you were an idiot. But you already know that. I’d tell you I was, too.
I’d say, btw, just so it’s out there – I always hated the action movies you chose, but your music selection has always been on point. I’d say thanks for not laughing at me when I ran out of the movie theatre in fear during the screening of the remake of The Exorcist, or for crying until snot ran out of my nose during the premiere of The Passion of the Christ.
I’d tell you that I regret nothing. And I regret everything. Our past hurt us. But it also shaped us into the people we are, today. People that care about others. That think first, and react later. People who consider the happiness and feelings of others above our own instant (and often reckless) self-gratification. It made us great parents. Great listeners. It drove us to be great. There’s nothing like throwing yourself into work to dull pain. And we’re successful today because of it. See? There I am, turning raisins back into grapes and making sweet lemonade with bitter lemons.
If I could tell you anything, and have you know I mean it and you believe it, what would I say? I’d ask you, “How’s your daughter?” I’d tell you that I saw a picture of her on Facebook when she was first born, and she looked just like you. There she was, all in my newsfeed with her pink onesie, chocolate skin, baby smile, and close-cropped hair. I’d tell you that I think she’s beautiful, and it warmed my heart that you were such a proud dad.
If I could tell you anything, and have you know I mean it and you believe it, what would I say? I’d tell you all the things that I’m telling you right now, and I’m glad that, today, I can call you my friend.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
– Bil Keane