Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thank You Letter to My Son

One fraction of a second can drastically change the course of a life, as well as the lives of everyone that person knows and loves—forever. And that is why I will be eternally grateful for the decisions my 20-year-old son made before and after a recent, potentially life-changing fraction of a second. This is a thank you letter to my son.

My Dearest Firstborn,

As the oldest child in our family, the road hasn’t always been easy. As much research as we did about parenting, and as much as we genuinely longed to be the best parents ever, you were our first. Therefore, it was with you we learned how to be parents. A lot of trial and error occurred as we did the best new, inexperienced parents can do. I realize it wasn’t always easy for you. But I thank you for being resilient and learning so much about being a good person despite our shortcomings.

When you told me you planned to go to the beach for a week with your friends, I shared with you my reservations. But you knew you were a man who was paying his own way and could make his own decisions. I knew you were new to the adult world and would be prone to making mistakes. But I also knew it was your decision to make—and your mistakes, if any, from which to learn. Thank you for being patient with me.

When you told me you had to drive separately because you had to return a few days early, I became frustrated. We argued about which car you would take, because yours was not safe. You wanted to take the van, but it was in need of minor, but important repairs. You reminded me I said you could use the van, if needed. I reminded you about your plan to ride with your friends. We fussed back and forth. Then, I called you and said you’d have to take the white car, because it was the safest and I wasn’t about to take any chances. You could have held a grudge after the argument and taken your own car. But you didn’t. Thank you for seeing through the frustration, putting aside the emotions and taking the safe car.

Before traveling back, you texted me that you were about to leave so I’d know you were on the road. Thank you for being thoughtful and considerate.

Before leaving Myrtle Beach, you checked the air in the tires and filled them as needed, even though you had to stand in the pouring rain to do it. Thank you for being responsible and cautious.

When you got into the car, you secured your seat belt. Thank you for always wearing your seat belt. 

While driving home, you were paying attention to the road. You were not using your cell phone, eating or otherwise distracted. Thank you for taking the task of driving seriously. 

When you saw the deer in the road, you slowed down. When it didn’t move away, but rather turned toward your car, you already knew where you were going to pull off to the side when the inevitable happened. Thank you for paying attention and thinking ahead.

Upon impact, you didn’t overreact. You kept your cool and slowly pulled to the side of the road, even though you couldn’t see because of the dust from the airbags. Thank you for keeping your wits about you.

When you realized you had wrecked your mother’s 2010 Toyota Corolla and now had to wake her up, explain what happened and face the consequences, you put aside the knowledge of your mother’s ability to overreact and made the call anyway. Thank you for calling me when you needed help.

Thank you for becoming a responsible, level-headed, smart adult and for proving we weren’t such bad parents after all. 

Thank you for being a great role model for your younger brothers, your friends and everyone who knows you.  

Thank you for making all the right decisions so that the fraction of a second you experienced on your ride home from the beach didn’t have to change our lives forever. 

With unconditional love, sincere admiration and heartfelt gratitude,

The front of the car absorbed much of the impact.
Guess the deer went for the driver's side headlight.
 The deer ultimately lost its battle against the Corolla.  

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful thank you letter! Wonderful peace of mind comes when you -- the parent -- know you've fulfilled on your parenting promises.