Linenger's Letters to his Son

April 26, 1997
"
I’d do anything for you"

Dear John:

Whenever people get a television camera stuck in their face unexpectedly, they invariably say “Hi Mom.” Why not half the time, “Hi Dad”? Or better yet: “Hi Mom, Hi Dad”?

I love the heck out of you, John. A father’s love for his son. Nothing really unique about it--I’d suspect that all fathers feel the same sort of love for their own children-- but that doesn’t take away from its depth, sincerity, or unbending nature. I’d do anything for you.

Yet, I’ve been away from you since January, haven’t I? I’m told that when you see my picture, you point and say: “Mommy.” You haven’t learned the word “Daddy” yet. That is my fault.

All of us fathers need to do better. We need to openly show our love to our children. We need to connect with them, spend time with them, guide them. Mothers are not substitutes for fathers; we should not sit back and think to ourselves, “she sure is doing a great job with the kids, I could never do it that good myself, I’ll just stay out of the way.” Our sons and daughters will forgive us if the shirt is put on backwards or one snap left undone; but will hardly remember us at all if we are not there holding them, caring for them.

I have a pretty good excuse this time for not being with you. But us fathers are pretty good at excuses--work, tired, football’s on TV, need to work on the computer, met with friends after work--you name it. Our priorities often are not ordered as they need to be.

So instead of saying, “I was in space,” let me instead just ask your forgiveness for times not spent together. And while I am at it, Mommy’s too.

Love and miss you both.

Dad.

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