Dear [Ryan Jr./Ryneesha],
I will love you. I will never lie to you — other than telling you Santa is real until your mother sees fit to inform you otherwise (if she hasn’t yet, then ignore that because Santa is real). Okay, maybe I’ll lie to you sometimes.
I’ll be there for you when you need me and probably even when you don’t. I’ll never call you “stupid” or “a disappointment” or “a failure.” If you try your hardest at everything you do, then that’s good enough for me. I will appreciate you. I will discipline you when necessary. I will raise you to have beliefs and stick to those beliefs. I will encourage you to have an open mind. I will teach you everything I know, and hopefully I’ll learn some things from you as well.
I will love you regardless of what color your eyes are, what color your hair is, and how well you play sports. I will love you even if you are “special” or “different.” The truth is: you will be special and different regardless of what you’re like. I will love you whether you like boys, girls, or boys and girls. I will support you in everything you do, even if I may not agree with it (ie. if you want to get one of those haircuts where your jersey number is shaved into your head or if you want to be a DJ). Of course, you will not get your way all the time, and I will do my best to explain why that is.
I will never use the phrase “because I said so” to justify my reasoning. If something doesn’t make sense to you, I will make sure we talk it out. You will always be able to talk to me, whether you are happy, sad, angry, confused, frustrated, nervous, or excited.
I will try not to get involved in every aspect of your life, and I will respect your privacy. That being said, I will know… things. I will know when you’re “sneaking” drinks or coming home intoxicated. I will know when you turn our basement into a sex dungeon. I will know when something is wrong, and I will make sure I show enough interest for you to tell me about it when you’re ready. You won’t have to hide anything from me, but keep in mind that I don’t want to know everything.
I have a confession for you: I won’t know what I’m doing. None of us do. My parents didn’t, and I’m sure their parents didn’t have a clue. But they turned out fine and so did I, I guess.
I will do everything in my power to ensure that you grow up with the love, support, education, and understanding you deserve.
P.S. If you’re a girl, sorry for naming you “Ryneesha.” I guess I dropped the ball on that one. I suggested the name as a joke and your mother was pretty out of it, so it just sort of happened. Whatever. You don’t even exist yet.
[Note to self: Leave the baby-naming to somebody else.]