Family

To My Older Sister, I have often wondered how different my life would be if you weren’t part of it. I cannot imagine a single event of my life being the same. Every single childhood memory has you attached to it. Like the time that we camped inside and stayed up all night talking about nothing. I was 5, and you were 11. You made me say every swear word you knew and laughed hysterically when they would come out of my little innocent mouth. I am going to blame the truck driver mouth I have today on you for breaking me in when I was so young. Every time someone tells me that I swear a lot, I just say, “You should meet my sister.” I can’t write this letter without mentioning how much you teased me growing up (and sometimes now). It was your older sisterly duty to bully me, and my oh my...
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Dear big Sis, You were the first person to ever stick their tongue out at me, and give me my very first pinch. Ah, the memories. To be fair, I probably deserved it. Let's be honest, when we were little I was a pain in your butt. Being the younger child, I always got my way. I was a tattle-tale and I would hit you first and then go cry to Mom and Dad when you reciprocated. I practically breathed down your neck at all hours of the day, always wanting you to share your Barbies with me, or whatever other toy the older kids were playing with that week. I took all of the attention and could be a brat, and that's the truth. So, really, I don't blame you for locking me in our hotel room at Disney World when I was a toddler. Looking back on it, I probably would have done the same thing...
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To My Older Sister, If only there were an easy way to say thank you, I love you, stay away from me and I hate you all at once. Over the years, our relationship has made me feel all these emotions and several others including, but not limited to: rage, annoyance, guilt and empathy. When we were younger, you asserted your dominance over me in every way possible. You cut my doll’s hair, promising me it would grow back (surprise, it doesn’t). In every game we played, you were the superior role and I was forced to play some kind of subordinate role. One day I was the maid, and the next day I was your pet dog. I even fell for your stupid little tricks that got me to do all of your chores for you, like when you said “I’ll time you” to get me to clean your room or fetch you a snack from the...
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I often get the question asked to me, “How do you do it?”. People wonder how I juggle so many things on top of motherhood, they question how I will go to graduate school with three children, and begin a career. They question my energy and balance. Well, I will let you all in on my secret. One word, John. I do not always have it all together. I lack drive at times just like everyone else. I question myself as a mother, just as every mother does. My secret weapon in my arsenal however, is the father of my children. A man, who is more than the typical definition of a “father”. A man who gives more than any man I have ever known, to his family. A man, who takes on equal, if not more parenting than myself at times. He is a man who would give anything for his children, yet the most...
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Dear Father, What do you think? Last night I came back home to a medley of frowns and questions: What do you think? “Why are you late? It’s going to be 10 pm.” “Do you realize it’s dark outside? You know Delhi’s not safe.” What do you think? This morning, I woke up to your Daughter’s Day wishes and the following justification: What do you think? “It is not that we do not trust you; it’s just that we cannot trust the society.” What do you think? I understand your concern. I have been understanding since I was a young girl, you see. Selecting my friends carefully, not going out for late night parties and all the other ideologies which a girl is fed with since childhood — I tried sticking to all of these. But you know what, father, all this hasn’t really helped. The...
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Hey there, As I am writing, I really hope that you will read this. To be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve written you. Two years ago, I searched for the perfect card and took two weeks to write you a note. Then ... I never sent it. You see, I’ve searched the registries since I was 18, I’ve written a letter to my birth mother (who wasn’t open to reading it), and even did the DNA test on ancestry.com. So by writing to you, I feel like this is my last chance to figure out where I came from (although the DNA test did say I was French/German and found a possible 3rd and 4th cousin who never responded.) More importantly, I want you to know how much I look up to you and how much I want to thank you. Thank you for putting me first. Because of you, my life is awesome. You need to...
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Dear Father of a Teenage Daughter, You love your kids and would do anything for them. That should be enough, right? Wrong! You don’t fucking know what you are up against! A teenage girl’s psyche is random and bitchy. They can’t help it, so you need to help yourself. If you won’t listen to your wife, listen to me. I was raised by a single father, so I have had some world-class training in being a bitchy teenage daughter. I was good at it. Some of my most committed roles were in my teens. Award-winning stuff. Oh, if only there had been smartphones to film it all. You need to know that without some serious support, you are fucked. I can’t sugar-coat it. You need a slap across the face on this one. Your daughter is closer to being a woman than you will care to admit, and there are...
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Dear Dad, I am writing about what it means to be a man. You are, for me, the best example of a man I respect. You have led our family and community in so many ways during the past 60 plus years. As I have learned from you, I want Good Men Project readers to learn from me. What have you done that has made you a man worthy of such respect and admiration? You Made Visions Real You were instrumental as President of the school board in building a second high school in our hometown — the only suburban district to have a second high school. It wasn’t a popular choice for many in the community, including me. I had lifelong friends headed to the other high school and remember upon hearing the news when I was in grade school, crying on your bed. It was a tough call but your foresight...
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Dear Pa, I know you care deeply about many issues, especially social justice. You’re tired of wars, you’re ashamed of the attempts to destroy social programs in this country, you hate seeing the unions that helped you as a worker provide for our family get dismantled by wealthy CEOs whose only goal is to make themselves and their cronies more wealthy. These are noble things to believe in, and values that you’ve instilled in your children. But you probably don’t often consider how you select and digest (and frequently, share on Facebook) the stories that you’ll accept as true. This is called cognitive bias – sorry, that’s a terrible article for a layman, but I’d be happy to discuss next time I’m home. Anyway, the bottom line is that the beliefs you already hold prime you to accept...
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Dear Brandon, On the afternoon of Eliza’s birthday, as I visited you and your girls in the delivery room, you made a request. You said, “Remind us in six weeks how excited we are right now.” I’m writing this for December 1t, when Eliza will be six weeks old. I suspect that the six-week mark won’t be as trying for you and Olivia as it was with Clive. Way back then, you were brand new parents, blindsided by exhaustion and adjustment. But I’d be happy to remind you of what I observed on October 20; just a little dose of that happiness will make up for sleep loss. Eliza’s tiny head, topped with dark, feather-like hair, fit in your hand. You cradled her carefully as she stuck out her strawberry-red tongue and made hungry noises. Her face was completely round: chubby cheeks and...
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