August 21, 2016
Dear PJ and Katy,
Three dates that made my life significantly better:
March 30, 1991 – The day your mom and I got married
April 18, 1994 – The day PJ was born
May 24, 1996 – The day Katy was born
And now, a date that confuses me and doesn’t really give me the feeling that it has made my life significantly better: August 19, 2016 – The day your mom came home from taking Katy to the University of Idaho. Yeah… that date just doesn’t give me that feeling of making my life significantly better, but it will and here is how it will.
We just got off the phone from our first FACETIME with the two of you being in Moscow, Idaho. What a kick in the butt that phone call was! You know? To see the two of you enjoying one another’s company made my life better. To hear the joy in your voices talking about one another’s experiences made my life better. And then, to hear that you – along with PJ’s wonderful girlfriend ASHLEE – are going to have homemade dinner together tonight – yes, that made my life better as well.
But, still … not having you here doesn’t make my life better and that is the weird feeling. The house. Quiet. No “Full House” or “Friends” on TV. Amazing that Katy watches those shows. Anyway. Tonight is “Housewives of New Jersey.” Mom has no partner to share that show with. Gosh, I thought with you going away to school, my life would have gotten better because mom wouldn’t watch that show anymore. I JOKE!! I KID!! HA-HA…
Not having PJ here to talk politics / life doesn’t make my life better and that is the weird feeling.
What I have learned in three days of being a father of two children who are both away from college? MY LIFE IS BETTER BECAUSE YOU ARE STILL IN MY LIFE. Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs in the world because, in part, if you successfully do your job (according to some people) your children do eventually leave the house to become their versions of “you” (their mom; their dad). Hopefully BETTER VERSIONS of “You.” And that is another reason my life will be significantly better. PJ – you will be a better dad than me and Katy I have confidence you will be a better mom than Diana (you are going to have to work INCREDIBLY hard to be better than your mom; BUT YOU CAN DO IT).
So, here we were 22 years ago and 20 years ago knowing that this day, August 19, 2016, would arrive. Frankly, it wasn’t a day I was looking forward to. NO WAY. But, as with time, I cannot control time and I can control my response. For twenty years, God blessed us with the responsibility to take care of two of His Angels. Twenty-four hours a day / seven days a week and now what do we do? I mean… How does one retire from the most important job in the world? YOU DON’T. There is no retirement. The job doesn’t end. The job description changes and those changes PJ and Katy are very difficult.
“Why so difficult, Dad?” Well, because your mom and I genuinely enjoy your presence. Your company. We will love being with you. To not have you here is a crappy “job description change.” However, it is part of the job and being a high school music teacher for twenty-seven years, there are crappy parts of that job, but those crappy parts don’t cause me to stop being a high school music teacher- a competent high school music teacher. In the end, we are making great music and memories. I will learn how to adapt to the changes in the job description as dad as I am learning how to adapt to students who are being guided in part by a CYBER-WORLD that didn’t exist 27 years ago.
Thanks to August 19, 2016, make the 2016-17 school year full of great memories. Stories that you will want to share with your children. Stories you know will make all of our lives significantly better. Not too many siblings get to go to the same university at the same time. Make that work for the two of you. Build off the love you have for one another. When you get on one another’s nerves, remember you are siblings. Siblings do that (get on one another’s nerves). Never let something get in the middle of your relationship. In the end, you want to have those Christmases together; Thanksgivings together; sons / daughters / cousins’ birthdays together. You have only one school year together and make it AWESOME!
PJ and Katy – I want to end by saying, “thank you.” Thank you for hugs, kisses, track meets, cool birthday parties with bounce houses / and such, cheerleading competitions, football games, dance recitals, hugs, kisses, baseball games, Eagle Scout, concerts, church, Christmases, Thanksgivings, amazing unconditional love, and so much more, including hugs and kisses. You are two of the most amazing people I know and yes, I am extremely biased, but I am also happy to say, others have told me that too about the two of you. You have made my life significantly better and I know you will continue to make my life significantly better. You are incredibly special. I love you!!