Thursday, November 10, 2011
A Letter to My Future Child, From A 16-Year Old Me
Dear Future Child,
Daughter, son, adopted, autistic, down-syndrome, gay, straight, republican, democrat, academically challenged or academically gifted - I love you.
I know what its like to be you. I've been there.
I know it sounds cliche, but that's why I'm writing this at this age. At this current time of writing, I'm 16 years old.
You see, every parent's number one defense or support in any argument with their child these days seems to be that they were once their child's age. However, through some odd adolescent reasoning, we don't believe them, or care to consider it as truth.
So I decided it would be a good idea to write you a letter a possible decade before you are even born, and more than that until you're my current age, of course. This way you can believe that I was truly once a child. This way, you can trust me with the conviction of knowing that I was there. Right where you stand reading this post at whatever age you do.
I've been there, done that.
I have been bullied, loved, hated, hurt, put on a pedestal, recognized, pushed, shoved, misinterpreted, underestimated, overestimated, rejected, dumped, had to dump, had to reject, had to say yes, peer pressured, been lied to, had to lie, threatened, helped, had to help, made mistakes - I have had many experiences- and still will have more in the future.
I don't want you think you are alone. I don't want you to think that I'll be of no help, because truly, your parents are the only people in the world that will be able to help you when times are tough. If you don't trust us, who will you go to?
And I'm not saying that my experiences will stop as a parent either. I will give you the wrong advice. I will still make mistakes. In many cases, you will teach me.
My point is, in prospect, I see myself telling you what every parent tells their kid - that I have been "there". And unfortunately, I see you reacting similarly to the way I did when I was a bit younger - with disbelief. Both of my parents have used this as a support, and I rejected it. I kept things to myself, and in turn made more mistakes than I needed to in the first place. The problem is, my parents never had any proof that they knew what was going on in my life, and that they had similar experiences. So I never believed them until I was too late to take advantage of their advice.
So my solution is this. One day, I will most likely explain to you that I have had similar experiences to those you are going through, maybe you'll believe me - maybe you won't.
I am still a child, and I'm telling you - moreover, proving to you that I am that friend you are looking for, that best friend you need, that parent you wish you had.
Because you see, this isn't only a letter to my future child (you), this is a letter to my future self.
You can trust me. Because I promise you, I promise the Aadil of the future, that I will be the best parent I can be, and love you for who you are.
Because my future child, life is wonderful, but not easy. There are consequences for our actions. At some point, you will test my sanity and patience, but my determination to aid you in being the best you can be, will not stop.
At this moment in time, I think of what it will be like to to see your eyes meet mine. I sometimes brainstorm what I will name you; I think of the features you will have that I have or had too. But most importantly, I have visions of how your life will bring my life a sense of purpose.
And that I hope my life will bring your life trust and sincerity.
And now, as I sit here and think of what it will be to someday share this letter of hopes and dreams with you, I think of what hopes and dreams you will have. I wonder what journeys I will be fortunate enough to be a part of. I wonder what choices you will make, what mistakes you will make, what accomplishments you will make, what you will want to be. And all of these thoughts, they encourage me to keep learning from my own parents. These thoughts remind me of what I mean to my parents, and what my parents mean to me. I want you to know that I will not interfere in your choices, but help you make the right ones. Your happiness will be my happiness, and your trouble will be my trouble as well. I want you to know, and never doubt for even a second, how very much you were loved and thought about way before you were born. I want you to understand how much I wanted you, prayed for you, thought about how I would parent you. I want you to know that even at the age of 16, I knew that you would be the most important thing that would happen in my life. I want you to know that I think about how to make sure that you and I will have the best possible life together, enjoy each other, help each other, and learn from each other.
And lastly, I want you to know that every little preparation I am making, and will continue to make to be the best possible father I can be to you, is worth it. Because I love you.
See you in the future, and I guess I'll see myself in the future too,