Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Letter to My Daughters About Their Father

Since my husband’s cancer diagnosis in 2010, my father's diagnosis in the spring of 2013 and the loss of my friend to cancer in the summer 2013, birthdays have become very significant.  

To celebrate my husband’s birthday this week, I want to take a moment to tell my daughters, both now and in the future, what their father means to our family.  To capture what life is like with him now and how he has been such a huge part of their lives so far.  I hope this letter will give a glimpse of how much I appreciate the wonderful father that my daughters so fortunately have and will help them remember what life was like when they were ages 9 and 7.

Happy Birthday Adam.  We are so very glad you were born.
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Dear Lore and Stori,

You know your father as “daddy”.  You know him as a fun, caring, creative, goofy, loving man.  He is all of those. 
He is much more.

Your father is a talented musician, he is a trusted friend, a great son, a good brother, a comedian, a teacher to so many students that love him.  He is a terrific partner and my best friend.    

My biggest fear when your father was diagnosed with *cancer at age 39 (and you were only 5 and 3) was that you wouldn't know who he was or remember him as young and fun and vital.  His fears were not seeing you grow up or being able to pick you up after surgery.  Our lives changed.  Our priorities changed.  You were still at the center of them. 

Happily, it has been four years.  He is okay. We are living with it.  You don't know that it's anything too serious because we make it part of our lives.  We treat him like we always have.  But we shifted. We see the world differently now. 

Your father first gave you life, he gave you baths, bottles, warm arms, songs, laughs, kisses, cuddles. 

He holds your small hands and savors your words.  He is your biggest fan.  He gives you courage, strength, and confidence.

He takes you to the park, for ice cream, and to the bookstore now. When you were smaller, he did all of those things too.

He drives you to school each morning.  You ask what time he will be home each night from work.  Even though, many nights, he isn’t here when you go to bed, he comes in and kisses you every night.  He asks all about your day and wants to know about your school work and activities.

When he can come home early, you still go running to greet him and I love that. 

He lets you stay up late.

He quizzes you about geography.

He makes adventure hunts for you and takes you geocaching.

He was the first to make you both really laugh.

He carried you and pushed your strollers.

He makes sure you know the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, America, and CSN.

He takes you to the doctor.

He loves reading with you.

He helps you with Rube Goldberg projects.

He is curious and questions the world, like you.

He is the reason you each have one dimple in your cheek.

He takes you swimming.

He dries your tears.

He makes sure you have lunchbox essentials.

He still makes me laugh more than anyone.

He worries about paying for your education.

He misses you when you are at school.

He misses you when you are with friends.

He gets scared sometimes.

He loves you.

He loves me.

He is one of the best people I have ever known and he is a huge reason why you both are amazing people. 

I hope that you find someone to treat you as well and love you as much as your father loves me.  It will be a high standard but you are worth it. 

I hope that you remember what a special relationship you have with him, each in your own way.

I hope that you always remember to laugh and not take yourselves so seriously, the way he has taught you.

I hope that you hear his voice and know his smile and remember his music in your ears, even when you are away from us.

I hope that you know you will always have a home and that you will always have a father that loved you first, before anyone else had your heart.

He sometimes talks of not having ‘things’; titles or impressive life stats.  He has invested in what matters most.  He has touched the lives of many with music and laughter.  He has deepened your life and mine.  He has much more that he will give.

Your father is special, kind, funny, talented, and smart.  Your father is a gift to you…and to me.  I am grateful to have him in my life.  But more importantly, I am grateful to have him in yours.

With so much love,
Mommy

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*My husband, Adam, has papillary thyroid cancer that was treated with surgery and radiation in 2010 with quite a difficult recovery.  The disease recurred in 2012.  He has since been going to the Mayo Clinic for an alternative treatment to surgery.  The treatment is called ethanol ablation and has been remarkably successful so far.  We are normal people living with disease, as so many do.  We are fortunate to have found this alternative.  If you know of someone with this disease and recurrence, we are happy to discuss our experiences in his effort to avoid further surgery (and complications) and radiation.

Respectfully,
Chris 

Thank you for reading my words.

More information regarding our journey with my husband's cancer: Grateful for Modern Medicine (and 3rd Opinions)

Latest Post: My Mother’s Day Wish | I Want to Be Alone

Read more? Here's another post: 

This Wonderful Thing Happened the Other Day (An Update to The Gratitude Project)



12 comments:

  1. He's a lucky man with a lucky family. Continued luck to all!

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  2. Beautifully written - what special message to share with your daughters.

    - Cynthia Baer

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  3. I was too slow getting to read this. Adam is truly a special guy - talented, funny, patient, caring, and much more. How blessed you are to have each other because you are all of that and more as well. It is your combined strength and devotion to each other that makes your family bloom so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    --Mary Virginia

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    1. Thank you Mary Virginia. That is very kind. We are truly blessed.
      With Love,
      Chris

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  4. I will read more about Adam's battle with cancer, but I wanted to mention a friend named Chris :) who is helping my uncle battle cancer: http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/

    I offer this information in case you are looking for other options. I will pray for you and Adam and your 2 girls. Y'all are leaving a legacy, and I pray that there will be graduations and weddings and grandbabies that both of you get to experience as parents and grands! ((((((hugs))))))

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    1. Oh gosh, I am so sorry your sweet comment got by me. Thank you for your sweet words and prayers. I will happily check out your friend's website and hope your uncle wins his battle quickly and completely!
      Thank you again! Chris

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  5. I met Nina Joy http://www.ninajoy.com/ about 2-3 years ago where she gave an inspirational talk in the UK before she was diagnosed with cancer. I then met her again when she gave another talk on how she wasn't going to let this beat her. I have been following her journey and its been fascinating. maybe there will be something there you can take that will help too. I loved your letter, I wrote one to my children recently when I was preparing our will. I hope they never actually need to read it while they are children though...I love your blog too discovered it today through a friend. :)

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    1. I will look at Nina Joy's website, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in sharing. We have been very lucky so far and will continue our diligence, especially for our children's sake.

      I try to write letters to my daughters once a year (typically on Mother’s Day weekend) and hope to be able to give them on one special occasion when they are adults. This was the first I have written about my husband. It was a wonderful process. My husband said it was the best gift possible. Telling the ones we love how we really feel is so important and often overlooked. Illnesses have a way of showing you what is most important in the world and that is it’s gift.

      Welcome to my blog. I hope you can visit again soon.
      Thank you –Chris K.

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  6. Wow... I send much love and prayers. I am humbled and inspired by your letter. Thank you for a reminder of raw, living truth where we are,... and to leave breadcrumbs of who we are to our children. For we are not promised tomorrow, and how deeply we want to leave with our children - who we are and what we think of them. Leaving a legacy. Nice. Very nice.
    Thank you,
    Sarah

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Sarah. Yes, it is so important and the best gift I could think to give my husband and children. It is often difficult to remember that the everydays are the important ones.
      My Best,
      Chris

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