To My Future Daughter or Son

We took you to Seattle this weekend to meet up with some old friends and celebrate a union of two women we know. It was sunny if not warm, but you probably didn’t notice any of that. We’ve learned to appreciate what the late-day light looks like as it filters through a cumulus cloud and falls on gently moving water from the Pacific. We know to watch it when walking on old wood, or to hold onto a handrail as we lean over the sound and crane our necks to spy on a lone sea lion who has wandered near us and who makes us giggle as he snorts when he comes up for air.

I’m not sure about the world into which you’ll be born, and I apologize for that, little one. Probably a lot of parents worry about the dangers, misdeeds, and evils of people who may cross paths with their children. Maybe even all of them, at one point or another, but your father is also wary of generalizing. I’ll just hold myself in good company in saying that I do have fears about what you’ll face growing up on this planet, and even as I say that I know that you’ll be born in the richest, most resource-laden country that exists.

You’ll have a wealth of privileges and I hope that you’ll learn about what the consequences of them are for other people. For the United States of America didn’t suddenly blink into existence. It was built on the backs of many, many millions of people who are mostly now invisible—Chinese miners who weren’t allowed to live above ground, slaves brought over like cargo in wretched ships, split up from their families, Irish people who were indentured servants building the infrastructure for our burgeoning industrial revolution, Native tribes who were run off of their land after sharing with us invaluable knowledge about how to work the soil here, generations of tradespeople who were the backbone of our earlier economies, and family legacies of farmers who fed us into never-before-seen levels of nutrition and health.

Every country has a history, but countries, it seems, are becoming antiquated, as we talk to each other directly, residents of nations around the globe, watching what goes on beyond our own borders. When a man in Tunisia started a revolution there, it was talked about everywhere, little one, and soon there were uprisings in the streets far, far away from sea lions in Puget Sound, but seemingly so close to our hearts. We have just watched a broad swath of the Middle East turn away from militancy, tyranny, ignorance, and a stubborn power order, while other countries in the region continue to struggle.

The day after this wedding that your mother and I went to, in which two women, still nervous about showing affection for each other in front of their families, celebrated their union, the day after this came the news that a man who had hurt and killed many people had died, assassinated by our President and his military. This man was not beloved, except by a few men who protected him and perhaps others in his own family. You missed the trauma of September 11, 2001, my child, and for that I am somewhat grateful, because it was a terrible day that many of us will never forget. But I have to note that my heart feels no more full today, after Osama bin Laden’s death than it did yesterday. I don’t rejoice in his death so much as I continue to anguish in the loss of so many people who died from the events he helped set in motion.

I want you to know that liberty, our liberty, comes at a price. And if we are truly to respect our fellow human beings, to choose life, we need to stay honest about the consequences of our actions and our nation’s, and never, never hate another person so much that we would congratulate ourselves upon their death.

This world is a wonderful, terrible, joyous, grief-filled, surprising, predictable place. I am so lucky to have you come into my life soon, and I will give you everything I have and try to be the best person I can be so that you will always be proud of me. And I dearly hope that my first and last lesson to you will be to love. Love yourself, love the people around you, and love your world.

—Dad

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19 Comments on “To My Future Daughter or Son”

  1. Becky
    May 2, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Tears to my eyes – and what an amazing dad you will be. xoxo

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 11:11 am #

      Thank you so much! Every day I get more excited for the birth. And gosh I’ve got a lot of work to do around the house to get ready!

  2. Jen
    May 2, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Just beautiful. Thanks, Everett. I agree particularly with what you wrote about hoping that your child never hates another person enough to feel elated by his death. That’s a powerful wish, especially in times like these.

    (What’s the connection to the FB/Altoids ad though?) ;)

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      I don’t see any ads on my site, so I don’t know what you’re referring to, Jen. Are you seeing advertisements on the WordPress page?

      • Jen
        May 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

        Yes — on the WordPress page. It was an Altoids video about Facebook friends, but it seems to be gone now. I assumed you had put it there, but maybe they just throw random stuff on once you post. Ugh.

  3. Nicoline
    May 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Beautiful, Everett! What great parents you and Suzanne will make!

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Thank you, Nicoline! That’s especially nice to hear from a mum as great as yourself.

  4. Ami
    May 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Clearly already a perfect father…

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks, Ami! And again, that’s high praise from a parent who is herself so terrific. I’ve really enjoyed these four years with Mika. What a character!

  5. Cindy
    May 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Ev, I had to comment because this is beautiful. You are going to be an awesome dad. I completely agree with you. The world is a scary, messed up place sometimes, but all we can do is love our children and show them the potential for goodness. There is hope for us.

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

      I appreciate that, Cindy. We can only do our best. I bet your daughter gets a lot of good modeling from you and James!

  6. Shara
    May 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    After being surrounded all day by people who felt justified, excited, spiteful, angry, and being basically what I consider the “we’ll put a boot up your ass” americans- it does my soul good to read this. I believe you will be a good teacher to your soon to be pupil…and THAT event (a birth) is something to celebrate. Thanks ev!

    • evmaroon
      May 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      I aim to please. Glad I could be here for some non-craptastic reading time!

  7. Mom
    May 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Ev, I am proud to be your mother. I always knew that you would make a loving parent, as you were a most loving child. Your new little one is very blessed to have you and Susanne for parents.
    Hugs to both of you.

    • evmaroon
      May 8, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

      Well, I’m lucky to be your kid, Ma! Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks for everything. I can’t wait to sing to the little baby the way you sang to me. I only hope they have a love of Lawrence Welk…

  8. Kathy
    May 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    That was beautiful Ev.

    • evmaroon
      May 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks, Kathy! I’m glad you liked it, awesomely cool parent that you are…

  9. Sharon
    September 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    As I am awaiting the news of the arrival of your little muffin, I decided to peruse your blog. I am touched by your tenderness and love but not surprised. You and Susanne will be terrific parents, especially if you remember the trunk and the rubber mallet!

  10. Sharon
    September 7, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    p.s. Congrats on your new baby boychik!

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