I think at some point in life all dads get a rap as being a little bit protective, or a little demanding, but all of that stems from a simple impulse – we want the best for our kids and would love nothing more than to be able to do for them just a little better than was done for us (as an aside, my parents and in-laws have collectively set the bar pretty high –Mama G and I have got our work cut out for us). We want to be old farts sitting on the couch and be able to say that we did right by our kids.
I don’t think that every post I occasionally write here will be a list, but here goes for today – a list of my dreams for you, Carina...
1) I want you to grow up full of passion. Here’s one of my favorite quotes, perhaps the only good couple lines in an otherwise dreadful essay by Edgar Allan Poe: “passion[s] should be held in reverence; they must not - they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind.” Passions are an affliction, they take control and you just have to go with it – find things in life that light a fire under you and hold them dearly. Music, science, sports, and love for a certain blondie from the Boston area have taken me places I couldn’t have dreamed of when I was younger.
2) My dad (your pap-pap) once told me as a little guy, “Don’t blow out others lights so yours can shine.” Your Mommy often talks about wishing there was more empathy in the world. Grow to learn to love those around you, see the best in them, even if it’s buried, even if they cause a problem for you. It’s hard, and admittedly your Daddy fails sometimes. The important part is, your light will shine brightest of all if you learn to help and love those around you.
3) I want you to find someone to spend your life with who, like your Mommy does for me, can, with a single phrase, smile, or butt-slap, make you want to stand up on a pedestal and shout, “I am Carina Shannyn G., and I am invincible.”
4) It might not end up being your thing, but I hope you love music – making it, hearing it, talking about it, everything.
5) I want you to be confident and believe in yourself, and love whoever you turn out to be. When I was a little guy in grade school, I got teased and bullied, and your Grammie and Pap-pap, Aunt Ellie, and Uncle Chris were always there to remind me that as I long as I was happy with who I was, none of it mattered. I hope none of that ever happens to you, but if it does, I want you to be made of strong stuff, even stronger than what your Daddy was forged out of by his awesome family.
6) I want you to learn the words to V for Villanova and the Eagles’ Fight song, and sing them with me when we root for our teams. I’ll take care of the booing, although I fear you might pick that one up from your old man whether he likes it or not.
7) I want you to be a hard worker – even if you end up being smart, it’s just like talent at a sport – to be the best you also have to work really really hard.
8) I want you to take me to a father-daughter dance.
9) I want you to keep your belly-laugh. It probably won’t be lady-like, but it’s so damn cute.
10) Here’s the last one for this post, but far from the last dream or wish I have for you. I want the world that you grow up in to be a place that recognizes you for the wonder that you are. I want you to have adventures, love, laughter and tears (both are necessary), and when you look back on the sum total of the events of your life someday, I want to you smile and be able to say that there was nothing more you could have wanted, nothing else you could have done, and that you can recognize that even at eight months old, you had already made the world a better place.