Dear Mrs. Romney,
I was looking forward to your speech at the Republican National Convention. I really was. For some reason I feel a connection with you. You see, my own mom -- like you -- raised five boys. I was the youngest of that brood that grew up in a small, Nebraska town back in the sixties and seventies. And while I know that the world you live in is very different than that of my own mother's, there's some connection we have. Right?
Maybe it's that "raising-a-fraternity" storyline or something.
Whatever it is, I've got a soft spot in my heart for you.
But I've got to tell you -- and I truly hate saying this -- you kind of threw me for a loop with some of your comments in your speech:
I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it -- the love we have for our children and our children's children...
Sometimes I think that late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a great collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day, and know that they'll make it through another one tomorrow. But in that end of the day moment, they just aren't sure how.
And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it?
It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.
It's the moms of this nation -- single, married, widowed -- who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters.
You know it's true, don't you?
You're the ones who always have to do a little more.
You know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done.
You know what those late night phone calls with an elderly parent are like and the long weekend drives just to see how they're doing.
You know the fastest route to the local emergency room and which doctors actually answer the phone when you call at night.
You know what it's like to sit in that graduation ceremony and wonder how it was that so many long days turned into years that went by so quickly... I'm not sure if men really understand this, but I don't think there's a woman in America who really expects her life to be easy. In our own ways, we all know better!
Maybe I'm just a little sensitive. And I'm sorry if I am. But when I heard you share those thoughts, I kind of felt like I just got a tongue-lashing from Mom.
You see, my mom actually died at the age of 49. And that left my dad alone to raise that basketball team of boys. And he did a wonderful job. He never missed a beat.
Ironically, I've been raising my own three children alone for quite some time. So I feel kind of tuned in to the dad and parenting stuff. But I'm not unique. I'm more like the scores (millions) of other dads out there -- married, single or otherwise -- who deeply value being a father. We certainly don't consider ourselves better than women, but most of us view ourselves as equally capable of parenting. That means we worry about our children. We lay awake at night consumed with a myriad of issues regarding our family. We sigh. Loudly. We sit through those graduations and have the exact same feelings you described. We go to the pediatrician's office. We do laundry. And we have tremendous pride in ourselves, our family, and our country.
I know you were reaching out to the women voters in our country -- and perhaps you were effective in doing that. You see, I'm not really comfortable talking about politics. But I am comfortable talking about dads, parenting and the countless men I see in my travels around the country who are emotionally connected to their kids and are committed to being available, accessible dads.
And I just wanted you to know that.
Don't get me wrong. Your praise directed towards mothers was great. I'm a big believer in the value of strong, loving moms.
Just consider this an open invitation from me to hang out sometime. I'd love to tell you more about what's going on in the dad world. Heck, I might even pull out my mom's secret recipe for fudge and make you a special batch!
A Son and a Dad
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