LETTERS TO THE NEW DAD – FROM HIS OWN DAD
What a joy this past week has been with the new arrival of your son Max.
As I sat in the hospital room and held that little man in my arms I couldn’t help but have thirty years of memories of you flood through my mind. You and little Max look like identical twins separated by thirty years. I was reminded of when I held you for the first time in that same hospital how overwhelmed I was with the responsibility of raising a son. I clearly remember thinking to myself as I looked down at you “I better not screw this up”.
There is no way to express to you how much joy you have brought me these past three decades.
You have truly enriched my life more than words can express. I do remember praying many times while you were growing up, that God would someday bless you with a son, so you could have a clearer understanding of just how deeply I love you.
Well, God answered all of those prayers and there I was standing in a hospital room much like the room where I first held you; looking down at my son holding his son (my grandson), and it hit me that you still can’t possibly know how deeply I love you.
I’m quite sure you have a better understanding because we are now both in that same enviable club called fathers, but as I was praising God quietly in my mind for a healthy grandson, I quickly became aware that my love for you had one clear advantage that you and Max did not have. That one clear advantage was thirty years of friendship.
A lot happens in thirty years and, looking back on it I question how so much can happen in, what now seems to be, such a short amount of time.
There was my first Father’s Day, the first time I “thought” you said “Daddy”. There were your first steps, your first day of school, and the first time we played “catch”. There was that first time when I was pretty sure I disappointed you. I’m sure you are probably thinking “Which first time?” There are just too many “first time” experiences with a son to mention.
I will never forget that time when we formed our “B.F. Club” that stood for “Buds Forever,” while setting a personal best record of riding the Silver Bullet at Frontier City twelve consecutive times without getting off of the roller coaster.
Almost every Saturday morning, during our B.F. time, we would have breakfast and test drive cars I couldn’t afford, or just do random things that guys like to do.
I think at one point I had myself almost convinced that I was spending time with you just trying to be a good father, but I must admit that it was because I loved spending time with you.
You never failed to make me laugh, make me look at things a different way, and always made me proud to be your dad.
I have always loved the ways you found to never make it be just about you.
It never mattered who you were talking to at the time, you always made them feel that, at least for that moment, they were the most important person in the world. You still do that.
Even when I coached you in little league baseball I will never forget standing in the dugout watching you pitch knowing that you only needed two more outs and you would pitch a “perfect game”. Being a little superstitious (at least as it pertains to baseball) I tried not to think about it, let alone say anything about it out loud. With one out in the last inning I saw you looking for me in the dugout from the mound. You motioned for me to come out to the mound and I remember thinking “this can’t be good”. You told me you thought you had a blister on your pitching hand and thought I should replace you with another pitcher.
I’m not sure how I convinced you to stay in the game without mentioning the “perfect-game” opportunity, but looking back I’m sure God must have had a hand in that. I just wanted to watch my son pitch a perfect-game and you were just thinking what might be best for the team. That’s still the only perfect game I’ve ever watched in person.
I’ve watched you grow into a man with great integrity and compassion for others. When people ask if I am related to Jess Maulsby I answer “yes!” without hesitation. You have taught me so much through the years and I continue to learn from you. Thanks for being patient with me when I knew I was right, and you knew in truth, I was wrong.
Now it’s your turn to travel down that road with your son, Max. It was once said that “a son will follow his father’s example and not his advice”. I can tell you in advance that Max is going to turn out just fine. You will be an amazing dad thanks, in no small part on my be half, to the valuable things I taught you “not to do”.
My small advice to you for what it’s worth is to just be Jess. That would be the greatest gift you could ever give Max.
You will find out soon, much like I did, that he will teach you far more than you ever thought you could teach him.
One more thought: I wouldn’t spend much time being concerned with how he will “turn out”. From one dad to the next, and from personal experience, I can assure you that he will turn out far greater than your wildest dreams could ever hope.
My prayer for you is that God will bless you and Max, and that He would form an unbreakable bond that will enrich both of your lives.
That your relationship will help you both understand, in a deeper way, the sacrificial love that God the Father has for His Son, and The Son for His Father. I look forward to watching the two of you grow together.
I’m convinced God placed you and Sara in his life for God’s purposes and I look forward with great anticipation to see what that actually is.
Thanks for being my son and thanks for letting me be Max’s grandfather. I pledge that as his grandfather I will honor you and Sara and love him with all of my being.
I love you so much son,