Family

Dear Jill, First, let me say, I love you. Our family isn’t one for expressing our feelings out loud, unless it’s anger, so I wanted to change that. I love you. I have always loved you. You are my older sister and I respect you. We haven’t talked for a very long time. We don’t write each other, we don’t phone each other and I find that terribly sad. Some how we grew apart and I wish I could change that. I’m not sure how though. Maybe you have some ideas? There are lots of days I miss you so much, in fact most days. I’ve tried emailing you, through Facebook, but get no response. I used to call you and leave messages, but didn’t get phone calls back. So I guess I gave up. I’m kind of ashamed that I gave up, but the non-responses hurt me and I was tired of being hurt. I know you...
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Hey baby girl, Happy 16th! I can’t believe you’re so grown up. You wrote the perfect heartfelt note to me on my last birthday. We were 3,000 miles apart, and celebrating without you didn’t feel quite right. I hadn’t seen you in three months, and I missed you like crazy. When I read your happy birthday Facebook message, I instantly burst into happy tears in the middle of a bar. I was blubbering, and everyone in the bar turned around to stare. It’s my turn to one-up you now. I hope you read this somewhere like fourth period geometry and have an embarrassing cry in public, too. It’s cathartic, try it. Here it goes. Your birthday always makes me nostalgic. Grandma and I were in a hotel lobby when we first heard you were born. “You have two messages,” the concierge told us. The...
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To My Older Sister, I have often wondered how different my life would be if you weren’t part of it. I cannot imagine a single event of my life being the same. Every single childhood memory has you attached to it. Like the time that we camped inside and stayed up all night talking about nothing. I was 5, and you were 11. You made me say every swear word you knew and laughed hysterically when they would come out of my little innocent mouth. I am going to blame the truck driver mouth I have today on you for breaking me in when I was so young. Every time someone tells me that I swear a lot, I just say, “You should meet my sister.” I can’t write this letter without mentioning how much you teased me growing up (and sometimes now). It was your older sisterly duty to bully me, and my oh my...
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Dear big Sis, You were the first person to ever stick their tongue out at me, and give me my very first pinch. Ah, the memories. To be fair, I probably deserved it. Let's be honest, when we were little I was a pain in your butt. Being the younger child, I always got my way. I was a tattle-tale and I would hit you first and then go cry to Mom and Dad when you reciprocated. I practically breathed down your neck at all hours of the day, always wanting you to share your Barbies with me, or whatever other toy the older kids were playing with that week. I took all of the attention and could be a brat, and that's the truth. So, really, I don't blame you for locking me in our hotel room at Disney World when I was a toddler. Looking back on it, I probably would have done the same thing...
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To My Older Sister, If only there were an easy way to say thank you, I love you, stay away from me and I hate you all at once. Over the years, our relationship has made me feel all these emotions and several others including, but not limited to: rage, annoyance, guilt and empathy. When we were younger, you asserted your dominance over me in every way possible. You cut my doll’s hair, promising me it would grow back (surprise, it doesn’t). In every game we played, you were the superior role and I was forced to play some kind of subordinate role. One day I was the maid, and the next day I was your pet dog. I even fell for your stupid little tricks that got me to do all of your chores for you, like when you said “I’ll time you” to get me to clean your room or fetch you a snack from the...
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I often get the question asked to me, “How do you do it?”. People wonder how I juggle so many things on top of motherhood, they question how I will go to graduate school with three children, and begin a career. They question my energy and balance. Well, I will let you all in on my secret. One word, John. I do not always have it all together. I lack drive at times just like everyone else. I question myself as a mother, just as every mother does. My secret weapon in my arsenal however, is the father of my children. A man, who is more than the typical definition of a “father”. A man who gives more than any man I have ever known, to his family. A man, who takes on equal, if not more parenting than myself at times. He is a man who would give anything for his children, yet the most...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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