Richard Haddad, a resident of Westminster, Maryland, is the father of five children, Steven, Jason, Ashleigh, Jonathan and Erin. Recently retired from a career managing support services in the public and private sectors, he has written on the side – articles, essays, fiction and satire – since college. He also founded – and for five years edited and published – American Man, a magazine devoted to seriously exploring the male gender role and the male experience. Rich’s previous contributions to this blog, letters to his daughter Ashleigh and his son Jonathan written on the days they were born, appeared around Thanksgiving, 2011: http://letterstomykids.org/thanksgiving-guest-columnist-richard-haddad-l
Dear Steve, Jason, Ashleigh and Jon,
Of course, it was satisfying for me to “be there” for you as you were growing up – to talk a problem through with you or to encourage you when you were down; to cheer you on as you were playing baseball or soccer or lacrosse, or to be in the audience as you performed on stage; to meet with your teachers about your schoolwork or to help you with a homework assignment; etc. And you’ve each told me how important that kind of support was to you.
It was great watching you decide that one extracurricular activity or another was not the right one for you and move on to something else, and then to watch you succeed at something you loved – in sports, in the arts, etc. – and have your accomplishments honored.
It was great watching you bond as siblings and then stay very close as you became adults. And I was so happy over your love for your sister Erin and how you treated her. The cerebral palsy and severe mental retardation caused by the brain damage Erin suffered during birth limited our activities as a family and complicated so many other things about our family life. But instead of being resentful about any of this, you were all so accommodating and so protective of her.
P.S. – Please see part 5 tomorrow.