A message to my children…
There’s going to come a time – and it will probably be much sooner than I expect – that you’re going to become curious about your father. You may want to find out more about the man you know as “Daddy,” and in your attempt to learn more, you may come across this blog. Hopefully this is one of the first posts you read because it contains a warning:
You don’t have to continue reading.If you continue to read this blog, you will indeed learn more about me. You may be faced with a realization that I am an actual human being with an identity that doesn’t revolve entirely around raising three children. You may not particularly enjoy this realization, and may come to the conclusion that you liked it better when you knew me only as a father.
I’ll make a confession: Even at the age of 39, I still don’t truly know my own parents as people. For the most part, I just consider them as “Mom” and “Dad,” and I have come to realize that it was a somewhat conscious decision on my part to keep it that way.
I haven’t remained completely ignorant of who they were. Along the way, I’ve learned things about them, or come to understand some of who they were beyond being parents. But I haven’t wanted to delve any deeper, because I’m not sure what good can really come of it.
As often happens when I become philosophical, I will reference an episode of The Simpsons. In the episode “Lisa the Iconoclast,” the town of Springfield is preparing to celebrate its bicentennial. During the preparations, Lisa discovers that revered town founder Jebediah Springfield was not what most people believed him to be. Instead of a brave and heroic pioneer, he was really a traitorous pirate named Hans Sprungfeld.Lisa plans to reveal the truth to the town, but decides against it at the last second. She realizes that the myth of Jebediah Springfield had more value than the truth. Celebrating the idealized version of Springfield made people happy and brought the townspeople together. Revealing the truth would likely ruin that and divide the people, with very little gained.
That’s kind of how I feel about my parents. I may not know everything about them, but I know that they were good parents who provided me with love and support. I had a happy childhood and was given every opportunity to succeed in life. Why would I really want to learn anything that might tarnish those good feelings? If the truth happened to be that they weren’t as good of people as I believe them to be, what good does it do me to learn that? In this case, I feel ignorance really is bliss.
I understand if my warning hasn’t eliminated your sense of curiosity. The good news is, I don’t have any deep, dark secrets to hide. I may not be perfect, but I don’t think you’ll ever discover anything about you that will make you want to change your name or disavow any knowledge of me.
Also keep in mind that the person I was before I had children is not the same person I am today. The person who wrote this post is not the same person who wrote this, and is certainly not the same person who wrote this.
If you do choose to read on, I just want to make sure you remember one thing: I’ve tried to be a good father, and I love you all very much. You’ll have to decide if that’s all that really matters.