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4 Emery at 10


Today is your 10th birthday! Last week, you told me that it was your last week as a 9-year-old. Thank you for the reminder.

Yesterday, we had a beach birthday party for you at Dickenson Bay. Everyone you invited showed up to celebrate. You swam, played football, ate more Pringles than you should have, and had your friends bury you in the sand. The weather was perfect, and you said, “It was the party of the year.”

I wrote in my journal ten things that I am grateful for about you this morning. The list included your intelligence, leadership skills, and range of interests. If you want to read the full list, let me know.

I am proud to call you my son.

The Hurricane Power Athletic club is hosting a 10K race this morning. I am competing and will not be here when you wake up. You were unhappy about my decision to participate because you wanted me to stay at home on your birthday.

I get it.

Six miles will take less than an hour to run. I will be back by about 9 AM after a stop at the store for your mother. We will have the rest of the day together. You know how much I train for these opportunities to challenge myself. Please understand that I don’t have any control over the race schedules.

I run today with your life as the inspiration for my performance. Emery, you're a remarkable kid on a journey to greatness. Your early health challenges cleared a path to your current and future accomplishments.

Son, I am not a perfect dad. I will make many mistakes in your life. Sometimes, I may not act as the most sensitive parent you need. I will get upset, yell, and demand more out of you when you've done your best. My advice will not always use the wisest words to offer you the necessary guidance. I will not be present for every victory that your talents, skills, and abilities create.

But, please understand that I love and accept you for you. I always will. I decided to love and support you for the entirety of your life ten years ago today- that’s something I can’t forget.

You’re going through a pre-puberty stage. Every week you tell me about the hair growing on your legs and other changes happening in your body. You’re also starting to like girls.

Yes, I see you at the pool talking to your special friend...

You just entered the kitchen where. I am writing this location today; you told me to use Word's "focus" feature to eliminate distractions. I expected to be gone before you made it out of bed. You're an early riser like your grandparents and me.

Let's get back to your birthday letter.

Don’t allow the changes in your body or the girls to distract you from your goals. Your life will continue to move towards a beautiful future when you turn your attention to what’s happening in front of you, treat others with respect, and do your best to improve every day.

I will stop here. It's your birthday, and I know you have gifts that you want to play with from yesterday's beach party.

I love you. Happy Birthday, Emery.




For more fatherhood-inspired essays and poems, grab my book, Dear Brother.


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