Joanna: Best Job In The World
There is an artist who is having a show at a museum that I really like. Would you like to go see it with me one evening? The museum is called The Guggenheim and the Artist's name is Claes Oldenburg. His art is funny (that's why I like it). Also he can draw really good. Remember when I went to Washington by myself to see a show? Well now that show is here! Shall we go? Let me know!
I have another dream. I dream that my kids will grow up healthy and happy and have fun doing it. That my two kids will come to realize how lucky they are to have each other - how different they are from each other and how cool each of them are. If they do then everyone will be winners. I have a dream of watching my kids grow up and do fun and interesting things - when they do - I will smile and be happy. Like I am now!
Good job to get your last month's church reading done. I'm sorry I had to make you like that. Being a dad is not easy sometimes but I tell you... it's the Best Job in the World!! Just because we get upset now and then or we don't always see eye to eye doesn't mean we don't love each other. We love each other very much. Disagreeing and getting mad sometimes is part of life. Fortunately it's a small part! Have fun today!
Sometimes we all (me too I know) need to take a step back from our lives and take a good, hard look at ourselves. Are we who we want to be? Do we like what we see? Are we doing the best we can? What do we need to do to be better - to be more like we want to be?
You don't do this for your parents - for other people - you do it for yourself. You don't go to school and play sports to make me (your dad) happy - You're doing it for you! To build your life - your life habits - your life goals. If you make yourself happy - then I'm happy. It's as simple as that.
There's many things that hurt, that sting our bodies and our feelings. Sometimes parents nudge - try to mold our lives, like kneading fudge into a mold. Is the shape they try to make right for you? Or is it fake? I was a kid, I'm a father now trying to do his best somehow. With mom, with Theo, with you. Holy cow!
What can I say about our family? Do we all love each other like crazy? Absolutely!! Do we sometimes treat each other badly? Yes - if I'm honest I'd have to admit that. But (and there's always a "but"), that part comes from anxiety - stress - not the heart. Our world is stressful - fast-paced with a lot of expectations and causes for concern. Your poem showed me that even at 13 you are not immune to these things. But we as people - as human beings, still thrive, still persevere - still set goals and try to achieve them. We don't give up. We look and see and recognize the love around us and draw on it for support. We carry our weight when we can and we ask for help when we need it. The goal of life in the animal world is survival. But people have a higher goal than that. We want to triumph - to create - to love!
You have no idea how peaceful it is to sit at the kitchen table with a candle or two burning and a cup of coffee in front of you and a pen in hand ready to write. I love getting up ahead of everyone and having that hour to myself and my thoughts. It's very helpful, meditative way to start the day. It gives me a chance to think about myself, about you and Theo and mom. And writing to you gives me another chance. A chance to connect with you - share my thoughts - my life with you. A chance to give you something of my private self. Without feedback of any kind which is a plus and a minus but hey - that's life. I love you.
When my dad died almost 26 years ago now, my mom had one of those cards printed that say "In loving memory of..." on the back and a quote or picture of a Saint on the front. Well the front she chose had this quote entitled "Take Time" and it's about just that - to take time in your life for the things that are important and some of them are good - "Take time to think - It is the source of power! Take time to be friendly - It is the road to happiness! Take time to play - It is the secret of perpetual youth! Take time to laugh - It is the music of the soul! Take time to work - It is the price of success! Take time to Love and be Loved - It is a God-given privilege" (and the greatest single idea of Christianity - I added that). I always liked the message of that card - you have to take time to think about your life and how you're living it or else it will be so busy and pass by so fast you'll be surprised. At 14 it seems like it will last forever but it won't. It seems like there will always be tomorrow but there won't. Do your best every day. Make the days count. I love you so much!
It was fun to go up to the Met with you Saturday. I know it was work for you but I was glad that you had the kind of work to do that took you to a place like that. A place filled with the results of all that is good about the human race - all the struggle to achieve something wonderful that's never been seen before and to share it with so many thousands of people every day. My knowledge about art and artists is not random. I've been moved by art and the stories of the artists who make it all my life - at least from about 19 on. Find something to love! I love you so much.
Seemed so far away (college I mean) so long ago when you were born (born to change my world). Born to be your world. Born to live and discover yourself - others - love - fear - right - wrong. An empty slate at one time (were you ever really "empty"?) So much character, style, laughter, caring and love. Look in the mirror - what do you see? Do you see the newborn babygirl? Do you see the newborn college student? Do you see a young woman on her way?
You never stop being a daughter or a son. Even after your parents are gone and you're long on your own. The legacy stays with you. The things they taught you more by their example than their words. You find yourself in the same boat with your new family looking back to when the shoe was on the other foot and you were a kid. The other night in Peer, a boy asked how come we (as parents) don't want our kids to do the same things, experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex, that we did when we were there age? Well because we love you, that's why. That's really the simple, honest answer. And one day, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, you might find yourself responsible for me or mom. Just try your best to treat us with the same love we have always and forever given you.