Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Letters to Dad: How You Affirm Me

Dear Dad,

Whenever I wonder about the potency that my words have as a parent with C-Man and H-Girl, I think about the fact that when they were entrusted into my care, I found myself saying the EXACT same things to them that you and mom said to me. I am also keenly aware of the value of words that affirm a person. I vividly remember when we borrowed Uncle W's van to move my stuff out of my NYC apartment. You guys had me drive since I was more familiar with the city. All that really meant was that I knew how crazy NYC drivers were and my nerves were absolutely frayed at the thought of driving in that madness. But, I agreed. We found ourselves on a one-way street with cars parked along both sides of the street. This was not at all uncommon. Parking is terrible in the city. However, we reached a place where two very wide vehicles were parked right across from one another and it was a tight fit. I took one look at that and thought "Trouble."

However, you said, "You can do it, Rob." The thing was that you meant it. While my mind was replaying all of the times that I stalled out that Subaru stick shift the first time I tried to drive it, you were convinced I could pull this miracle off. So, I took a deep breath, sent up a prayer, and slowly pushed on through. No one was more surprised than I when we made it through, and there were no sounds of metal on metal or a bumper falling off. And then you said, "Yay! You did it! I knew you could." Boy, you were the only one, but that sure felt good. You knew I could.

I think that is how the impossible gets done. Someone says, "You can do it." And that person might not believe it, but they try. And because of someone else's belief in their ability, they succeed. We all need cheerleaders. People who believe we can exceed our own expectations. That is how we become great. Outstanding. Better than we ever thought we could be.

So, you have taught me two things. Not to give up. Keep striving for outstanding. And always, when given an opening, let someone else know that they can do it. They have the potential to be amazing. And when they exceed what they thought they could do, say, "Well, of course you could do it. I knew you could." And if they ask me how I knew, I will tell them my dad told me a long time ago.

I love you.


image found at


  1. Heart-warming yet again! I'm so glad that you're sharing these emails to your dad. How's he doing?

  2. Get through this the best way you can, Rob. Your castle is made of solid steel.

  3. Dear Robin... these letters are so touching. They remind me of the last few days I had with my Dad... when no other family members were around, I would stroke his hair... and hug him... and tell him that it was ok... that he could go anytime he was ready... that we would all be ok.

    I also remember one afternoon, when we were alone, Dad asked where Mom was. At that time, Mom had been gone 17 years... not wanting to take a chance on upsetting Dad, I told him that "Mom has gone on home... she's there waiting on you..." I cry even now while I type this. I realized later the message that I really gave Dad that Sunday afternoon... and it was all true... Mom had indeed gone home and was waiting for him.

    I wish I could give you a big hug, sweetie... I know what you are experiencing...


  4. Isn't it nice to have someone who truly believes in you??? Such a rare gift ....

  5. Just finished reading all of your posts but didn't want to inundate you with comments on each one, so I'll just say it here: These are gorgeous, and incredibly strong, and you are both of those things too. I can't pretend that I know what you're feeling because I haven't lost a parent yet; but I know grief and I know how much strength it takes to get through it and I know, above and beyond anything else now, that you are one of the strongest people I have ever known.

    Love and hugs,

  6. I read these to hubs today at lunch and he was just overwhelmed with emotion. We're thinking of you and sending out warm hugs. If there's anything at all... Well, you know.


  7. this was great!
    Have a pretty day!

  8. you know, I have been talking about this with a friend of the world has enough nay sayers and I think the world needs a few more cheerleaders. I hope to become the kind of person who encourages others and gives unconditional support. You have a fantastic Dad.


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