To My Unborn Son,
We haven’t met and yet I’ve held you as close as I can. Even though our eyes haven’t locked, you have me wrapped around your little finger. You might have heard my voice already but have no clue who it is.
I am your dad.
That’s right. That guy with brown eyes, strong arms and a loving heart. That guy who looks like he knows what to do when it comes to parenting but yet it is obvious he really has no clue. I’m the guy who enjoys watching baseball and reading a good book. I’m also that guy who will get down and play a board game with you, teach you how to play, and how to become the man I can only hope to be.
I am that dad who will be staying up late at night, wondering how we are going to make it to the next paycheck. I did that quite a bit during the nine months you were with your mother. I sat down in the basement under a single lamp, head in my hands, wondering how this will all work out and worried about when the next set of bills would come.
But then, I look at a sonogram picture taken of you only a few weeks ago. A picture of that told us you were going to be a little boy and that makes all that worry worth it.
I’m that dad who worries so much because I care so deeply about the family you are about to enter. I’m that dad who wants to provide for you so you can live a life I never lived. I’m that dad who wants to give you the experiences I couldn’t have growing up in a small town in western Kansas.
Yes, I’m that dad.
I’m that dad who will do anything to make sure you are safe. I’m that dad who will make sure you come into a loving home and are cared for the moment you enter into this world.
Yes. I am that dad.
To be honest son, I have no clue how to parent two children. I barely knew how to parent one. I may go back and read some of those early posts I wrote when it was just your brother and you will see I had NO CLUE. I would even argue that I still don’t get this whole parenting thing. But you know what? I’m going to try my best. I can’t promise I will get it right all the time, but I’ll do my best. That’s all you can really ask for right?
Yes … I am that dad who will at least try.
I’ve loved you from the moment we knew you were coming our way. Sometimes, it won’t be easy to love you because you will antagonize your brother or you will stay out after curfew with the neighbor girl (who will be your age by the way and I’ve already talked to her dad and he guesses he will let you date her). While it won’t always be easy, I will still love you.
I will love you from the moment I hold you in my arms at the hospital to the moment I take my last breath. I know it is difficult to realize that I won’t always be there for you and your brother, but it is something that I am grappling with myself right now. I won’t always be there for the two of you and your mother. And you know what? That keeps me up at night more so than the bills that have to go unpaid for one more month.
I won’t always be there to tell you right from wrong. I won’t always be there to stand in your doorway watching you play Legos in your room. I won’t always be there to give you that fatherly advice that you need. I won’t always be there to tell you it is going to be OK when your girlfriend breaks up with you and that some day you are going to find someone as great as your mother. I hope I can make it that long.
I don’t really want to stay up at night wondering if we will be able to make it to the next paycheck because we needed to take you to the doctor for an unexpected visit. I want to be that dad who has it all put together. I want our family to be the one who looks like it has it all. I want to be that dad who will always love you … no … matter… what.
Son, the next however many years are going to be interesting, fun, hysterical, difficult, and happy … yes, probably all at the same time. My hope is that you can bear with me as I try to be the parent you want me to be.
I love you, my unborn son,
A version of “Open Letter to My Unborn Son” first appeared on The Rookie Dad. Unborn son photo: Brandon Billinger