Family

Dear Father, What do you think? Last night I came back home to a medley of frowns and questions: What do you think? “Why are you late? It’s going to be 10 pm.” “Do you realize it’s dark outside? You know Delhi’s not safe.” What do you think? This morning, I woke up to your Daughter’s Day wishes and the following justification: What do you think? “It is not that we do not trust you; it’s just that we cannot trust the society.” What do you think? I understand your concern. I have been understanding since I was a young girl, you see. Selecting my friends carefully, not going out for late night parties and all the other ideologies which a girl is fed with since childhood — I tried sticking to all of these. But you know what, father, all this hasn’t really helped. The...
1,457
Hey there, As I am writing, I really hope that you will read this. To be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve written you. Two years ago, I searched for the perfect card and took two weeks to write you a note. Then ... I never sent it. You see, I’ve searched the registries since I was 18, I’ve written a letter to my birth mother (who wasn’t open to reading it), and even did the DNA test on ancestry.com. So by writing to you, I feel like this is my last chance to figure out where I came from (although the DNA test did say I was French/German and found a possible 3rd and 4th cousin who never responded.) More importantly, I want you to know how much I look up to you and how much I want to thank you. Thank you for putting me first. Because of you, my life is awesome. You need to...
1,670
Dear Father of a Teenage Daughter, You love your kids and would do anything for them. That should be enough, right? Wrong! You don’t fucking know what you are up against! A teenage girl’s psyche is random and bitchy. They can’t help it, so you need to help yourself. If you won’t listen to your wife, listen to me. I was raised by a single father, so I have had some world-class training in being a bitchy teenage daughter. I was good at it. Some of my most committed roles were in my teens. Award-winning stuff. Oh, if only there had been smartphones to film it all. You need to know that without some serious support, you are fucked. I can’t sugar-coat it. You need a slap across the face on this one. Your daughter is closer to being a woman than you will care to admit, and there are...
1,811
Dear Dad, I am writing about what it means to be a man. You are, for me, the best example of a man I respect. You have led our family and community in so many ways during the past 60 plus years. As I have learned from you, I want Good Men Project readers to learn from me. What have you done that has made you a man worthy of such respect and admiration? You Made Visions Real You were instrumental as President of the school board in building a second high school in our hometown — the only suburban district to have a second high school. It wasn’t a popular choice for many in the community, including me. I had lifelong friends headed to the other high school and remember upon hearing the news when I was in grade school, crying on your bed. It was a tough call but your foresight...
1,581
Dear Pa, I know you care deeply about many issues, especially social justice. You’re tired of wars, you’re ashamed of the attempts to destroy social programs in this country, you hate seeing the unions that helped you as a worker provide for our family get dismantled by wealthy CEOs whose only goal is to make themselves and their cronies more wealthy. These are noble things to believe in, and values that you’ve instilled in your children. But you probably don’t often consider how you select and digest (and frequently, share on Facebook) the stories that you’ll accept as true. This is called cognitive bias – sorry, that’s a terrible article for a layman, but I’d be happy to discuss next time I’m home. Anyway, the bottom line is that the beliefs you already hold prime you to accept...
1,351
Dear Brandon, On the afternoon of Eliza’s birthday, as I visited you and your girls in the delivery room, you made a request. You said, “Remind us in six weeks how excited we are right now.” I’m writing this for December 1t, when Eliza will be six weeks old. I suspect that the six-week mark won’t be as trying for you and Olivia as it was with Clive. Way back then, you were brand new parents, blindsided by exhaustion and adjustment. But I’d be happy to remind you of what I observed on October 20; just a little dose of that happiness will make up for sleep loss. Eliza’s tiny head, topped with dark, feather-like hair, fit in your hand. You cradled her carefully as she stuck out her strawberry-red tongue and made hungry noises. Her face was completely round: chubby cheeks and...
2,172
To my Brothers, We need your help. I am running out of excuses to explain why men, specifically men of color, are not stepping up to the plate to be the fathers and role models we promised we would be. As young men we promised ourselves we’d be different. We’d be different than many of our fathers were to us. I don’t know what happened along the way. Why didn’t we live up to that promise? I don’t know why we lied to our children, to our women, and to ourselves. It hurts when I go to parent-teacher night and the only people I see talking about their children’s education are mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts. Where the hell are you men? I get that we have to work, we have to grind… I get it. I understand she “did you dirty”. I feel you when you say she has a new man. But let...
1,546
Dear Jaden, I know that having a seven-year age gap between us sometimes makes our relationship hard, but I hope you know how much I love you. I understand why you think all I do is constantly judge you and tell you what to do, but I truly only do it because I care about you so much. I don’t think I tell you enough how talented you are and how many great qualities you possess. You are so full of energy and able to make friends quickly because of your outgoing personality. The fact that you’re already a better skier than me, having only started two years ago, just shows how quickly you pick up new skills, which is something I’m extremely jealous of. You not only are talented, but you are also smart and loving. The fact that you’re already 13 scares me because it makes me realize how...
4,030
Dear Other Other Mother, If I were you I’d be really mad at me. Actually, I was in an eerily similar situation a while back and I was quite mad at the other potential-other mother who didn’t seem to care about my heart. But as far as I can tell and you’ve said, you’re not mad. That means a lot, because I really didn’t go into this to make any enemies. You said you’re not mad, just hurt. I can imagine the hurt. I really, really can imagine. In fact, so many times we’ve almost walked away for that reason. At the very beginning I told myself that as long as we knew baby sister was safe, we wouldn’t fight for her. We’d leave it alone and walk away. There were several weeks of uncertainty between her birth announcement and learning about her whereabouts. We prayed hard for her every...
2,068
Dear daughter, I no longer see the mirror shelf lined up with your array of kaajal pencils. Your room stays unusually clean. We miss being constantly pestered. Those times when you drop by for a few days? They are the most terrible, because after you are gone we don’t even have the task of waiting for you on our minds. They say when your daughter is married you lose her to someone else. How is this any different? We barely get to see you or talk to you all that much, at least not like earlier days. I feel like we have already married you off to your independence. Although this sounds like complaining, I really am not complaining – because I was the one who always wanted you to have everything I didn’t. I wanted you to be armed for all battles that you may never have to face. I...
4,876

Pages