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A New Yorker finds love in Chicago- A Father to Son Must Read

A Father to Son Must Read
Jason Zufall

To my boy for when you're old enough to understand...

Hey Will...Big Daddy here...sorry to make you cringe again by calling myself that but let's face it, you should be used to my weirdness and I'm too old to change at this point. I wanted to write a promise to you. Now I know how smart you must be at this point (because your mother is brilliant and I was smart enough to marry her) but by no means is this a contract; meaning you can't sue me for shit if/when I have the inevitable slip-up. These are just some things that I want you to hold me accountable for going forward and remind me about as we go along...let's get started, shall we?

First some confessions; I always thought I'd have a son. I had actually been thinking about you since high school. I thought I'd have a boy and be one of those sexy single dads the ladies swoon over at the playground...especially when I tell them your birth mother abandoned the both of us and we're just blessed to have each know, some real player shit. We'd have the same exact interests including sports and we'd be disciples of the same teams. You'd be athletic, a jack of all trades and have a bad-ass name for a white boy like "Xavier"..."XZ" for initials? What? You'd be moonwalking into the Badass Hall of Fame...and oh yeah, you could moonwalk too.

I used to have these crazy visions to compensate for numerous reasons I'm not proud of. In high school I used to be a volunteer for the Special Olympics every year. It was always a great time and I had so much fun working and hanging with the athletes. However, every year I'd walk away sad. Sad there were children who couldn't fully function on their own. It made me pray, even at such an early age that I'd never have a child in such a condition. I'd see other children with other physical disabilities and add that to the prayer list. It continued into adulthood when I would watch the Make-A-Wish segments of SportsCenter and chills would go down my spine.

While I'm sure this could be considered a normal human reaction to such situations, they embarrassed me. You can't help how you feel but these thoughts made me feel terrible. What it really boiled down to was fear. I was fearful I couldn't rise to the occasion. If I had a child with such needs, would I be able to step up and do what needed to be done. I was scared that I was too selfish to be in such a situation.

The night you were born was a nerve-racking evening and there's nothing I could have done to mentally prepare for it. However, when the time came for you to join us only one thought was in my mind. Any fear and apprehension I had was replaced. My thoughts weren't on deformities or abnormalities... they were on a healthy, happy baby. You were handed to me and I didn't count fingers and toes; I didn't consider any mental challenges; shit, you could have came out a limbless, blue-furred mutant Yankee only focus was how much I loved you. The only way this could of been ruined is if you came out black, Latino, Asian or French...not because I'm prejudiced, just because your mother would have had a lot of explaining to do.

They say "love conquers all" and this was truly the first time I experienced it. As the days went by, I'd have to hold back anger any time a doctor pointed out any flaw. You know that fold on your right ear? No biggie, right? Well after a third doctor pointed it out as a "abnormality", I thought I'd commit a hate crime. You were perfect and how dare they say otherwise. I know an ear doesn't compare to some kid's plights but the point is I know I can handle it.

So bring it on. BRING THAT SHIT ON. There's nothing you can bring my way that will make me stop loving you. If you get sick or disabled at any point, I'll always be here telling you that. You couldn't get rid of me if you tried, so buckle up buddy.

A couple other things: I'm not going to force my sports allegiances on you. Hell, you might not even like sports. I'd still love you but that would be a clean shot to the nuts for me. Anyway, I promise not to stuff my teams down your throat. Just because I'm a Mets and Knicks fan doesn't mean you need to be. Besides, at the time I'm writing this, making your kid a fan of either of those teams might be considered child abuse. So you do you. We live in Chicago and if you're down for the local teams, I will respect that. Just don't be a band wagoner, you know what I mean? One of those jackasses that dry humps the current winning team until they suck? Of course I'd still love you but I'd like you less.

You're going to make mistakes. You're going to try things...things that may not be good for you. You'll be hung over. You'll smoke weed...which might not be a that big of a deal by the time you read this. Actually, this makes me grateful I won't have to make up excuses for what Snoop Dogg is rapping about. Anyway, I'll still love yo ass.

Speaking of music, let's not beat around the bush: I'm going to HATE whatever you listen to. Hate with like with a herpes-level burning passion. You're going to like music that is so bad, you'll see me having physical reactions to it. We will argue over control of the car radio. You'll counter that I'm an old fart that hasn't listen to anything new since 2003. This is absolutely true but there's a good reason for this: YOUR MUSIC SUCKS. Just know in spite of your deplorable musical choices, I still love you. Just don't like Justin Bieber. I'll still love you but you may find yourself "accidentally" left at the mall one day.

One day you'll be bringing home a significant other to meet us. This could go in a lot of fun directions. You'll experience heartbreak and your mother will want to cut the bitch that did that to you. Who knows if it'll even be a bitch that needs cutting? It may not seem like a big deal now but there was a time our country wasn't that enlightened. All we ask is that you're respectful in your dating life. Be the guy others want to take home to meet mom. And don't go on "The Bachelor". I mean, we'll love you if you do, but don't go on it.

Seeing how cool your mom and I both are, you're destined to be popular. As my hero Spider-Man says "with great power comes great responsibility". So use your powers for good. Be inclusive. Be respectful of others and have the courage to stick up for them. Consider the situation and if you were on the other side. Be a leader and don't follow the crowd. We won't tolerate bullying and you won't be raised that way. Oh yeah, we love you.

So if you haven't figured out the theme of this, all I can say is get a clue you dingbat. I love you more than life itself and you're going to hear it daily until my tongue falls out. Then I'll just learn to say it in sign language. You're the greatest accomplishment of my life and you've voided any past regrets. All I ask is that you be the best YOU possible and I'll always be proud..and always laugh at farts.

Peace Out Punk.



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