As I write this letter, I hope that when the day comes for you both to become fathers you will take the time to read it. As your mother, I have found that you will have many fears when raising a child. One of them will be the failing effort to raise a respectful, responsible and, most importantly, loving young man or woman. As much as your personal life experiences will teach you, I wanted to give you a little insight on what mom and dad have learned so far raising you and your siblings.
I'm hoping this letter makes life less worrisome when the time comes for you.
Remember to always:
Be Patient. People have praised me on how patient I am dealing with the four of you. Remember to take plenty of time to accomplish a task with your child. If you go into each event knowing the worst that could happen is being late, there's no reason to rush. We don't want to look back and say we always hurried everywhere. When you spend more time saying, "hurry, hurry, hurry," you lose the fun of family time.
Always Listen. Every day your child will feel like what they have to say is the most important thing to them. You will find the text message or email from work being way more important, but when you don't listen to your child you could miss valuable communication. It could be when they have to go to the bathroom (you both peed on yourself several times during potty training), or things that may be so important to them but not so interesting to you. But after giving them your full attention you'll ﬁnd out there's bullying at school.
Be Playful. I'm not sure if becoming parents so young have helped in this area, but Dad always found joy in playing with you boys -- from painting his face at your birthday party or going down every water slide (sometimes forcing you to join him). I'm sure these are memories you will never forget and also why you're terriﬁed of going on high drop roller coasters. Either way, being a parent includes being a friend and enjoying moments together.
Check In. Make sure you know what's going on in your child's life and keep the line of communication open. During our dinner time or breakfast talks, I have always tried to ask one question speciﬁc to each child -- and not the cliche "What did you do today?" With four siblings someone can get lost or left behind in our fast-paced lives.
Love Abundantly. I can only lead by example as to what a mother should be with your sisters, but your father is the best role model as to what a dad should be.
You both are being are raised by a great man who has learned from all of the above, but also continues to impress me each day by what he teaches you and me. This letter is not only a cheat sheet into fatherhood, but a dedication to the best teacher -- your own father.
I want you to remember that times get stressful and being a parent may be one of the hardest things you do. It will also be your biggest accomplishment in life to raise another human being. As we have watched The Lion King, you know the mom and dad are the king and queen, but one day you will be a king. When dealing with your own cubs, the best advice I can give you is: Hakuna matata (it means no worries)!