.....while I was eating my oatmeal. It was in the new incarnation of Life that is appearing in our Friday newspaper. It is part of a letter written by "celebrated writer" (I don't know who he is) Tim O'Brien, who an older father, to his 16-month-old son, Timmy. The whole letter is touching, but especially this part:
More than that, I long for the day when you might also forgive me. I waited too long, Timmy. Until the late afternoon of June 20, 2003, I had defined myself, for better and for worse, by the novels and stories I had written. I had sought myself in sentences. I had loved myself only insofar as I loved a chapter or a scene or a scrap of dialogue. This is not to demean my life or my writing. I do hope you will someday read the books and stories; I hope you will find my ghost in those pages, my best self, the man I would wish to be for you. Call it pride, call it love, but I even dare to hope that you will commit a line or two to memory, for in the dream-space behind those vowels and consonants is the sound of your father's voice, the kid I once was, the man I now am, the old man I will soon become.
That said, I would trade every syllable of my life's work for an extra 5 or 10 years with you, whatever the going rate might be. A father's chief duty is not to instruct or to discipline. A father's chief duty is to be present. And I yearn to be with you forever, always present, even knowing it cannot and will not happen.
Now THAT is lovely.