Opened the newspaper this morning, saw an article about how you should “write a letter to your children, saying all you ever wanted to say.” Something about your kid having your words forever, or something like that.
I’m not sure what to say. I guess I’ll start with you taking to the sea. I worry, I really do. All those days out on the ocean, all the storms we’ve seen through. Someday I’m not gonna be there to see if your boat made it home. I’m not gonna be able to tell you the safest route home. I just have to hope that all the years we spent together can guide you. I wish I could tell you to give up the sea-farer’s life, to go back to shore, find something safer to do. But I see that look in your eye, and I know what it means. I see that same look every time I look in the mirror. You’ve got it in the blood, as Murph would say. I guess if it came right down to it, you’d have Murph to keep an eye on you, for all the time he’s got. Good man, Murph.
And don’t think for a moment I’m not proud of you. You’re an amazing young woman. You’re strong, beautiful. You remind me of your mother. I knew when it was time to set the traps, you’d always be by my side, pulling your weight. Better deck hand then most men I’ve met. Always know just what to do. I’d trust you with my life, and so I know you’ll always handle yours well. Don’t have to worry about you getting into trouble after I’m gone.
I hope you know that from the second you were in my arms, you were my baby girl. I don’t care if I live to see you turn 70, you’ll still be my baby girl. We’ve laughed together, cried together, even had a bit too much to drink together. When your mother was pregnant, we thought you were going to be a boy. I’m glad we were wrong. I can’t imagine not having my little girl. My baby girl. My daughter.
Don’t ever let someone tell you to settle. You’re worth so much more than you know, and I’ve seen the boys around town. They chase after you for your beauty, but don’t take ‘em for true until they chase after you for your brain. Fall in love, but fall for the person who makes the foggiest day bright. Beauty will cool and fade, but a smile will warm you the rest of your life.
When I’m gone, remember I’m still there for you. I may not be able to talk to you, but my spirit lives in that boat. Run your hand over the wheel, and I’ll be there, holding your hand. Wrap yourself in the old slickers, and know I’m hugging you tight, and I’ll never let go. And remember: I put my life into that boat, but that wasn’t what really mattered. You were why I put the time in. I spent days at sea, but each day, my heart was home with you. Don’t ever forget that there’s nothing more important than love, family, and friends, and don’t be afraid to take friendship wherever you find it. The poorest man can make the richest friend.
More than anything, remember you are loved. Remember you are loved. You are loved. And you always will be. I don’t say it enough, and I hope I’m not getting to mushy on you, but if it’s the one thing you remember me saying, I hope this is it: you are loved.
I guess I can see why the newspaper issued the challenge. It’s good to know that you’ll be able to hear what I need you to hear, even if I’m gone. And that’s why I’m challenging you. If you ever have children, I want you to write a letter to them. Tell them all the mushy nonsense that you never had the time, or courage, to say.
All my love,
All my love,