Monday, May 29, 2017

(Letter written back in January of 2014)

Dear Girls,

   Since coming to Connecticut, I expected a period of adjustment, perhaps some trips and falls as we carved a home out of this New England coast.
   Shame on me for underestimating you both. You haven't merely adapted to your new surroundings, you are thriving, surpassing my every expectation, and I couldn't feel prouder as a father.
   It's in the way your new friends look at you. It's in the high marks you've attained throughout your first school year in your new school. It's inspiring, so much so that here I am, alone in a classroom at Porter and Chester Institute determined to become an example, and perhaps an inspiration, to you both.
   I do feel like a hypocrite for only now, at 39, realizing what education really means in our lives.
   In life, we get one chance to get up every day during three seasons, learn to get ready in a way to present ourselves the best way possible. We end up at a desk, biting more than a few pencils along the way, and when I was your age, I didn't realize what a privilege and how powerful a tool education really is.
   Yes, we push the reading, we push the math, we push good study habits, but now I know better than ever, why I'm pushing this on you.
   I've been lost for so long and curse my arrogance, I opted to take on a job and bring you forth to fulfill a role. In doing so, I've submitted you both to the consequences of my shortcomings and poor decisions.
   I might have drowned in a sea of guilt were  it not for the fact that the light finally came on, and with Mommy's support, I went back to the desk, to the pencil biting, only with a new appreciation of what lies on the other side of hard work, sacrifice, and the never ending drive to improve every taught skill.
   I have a chance to change our lives. I have a chance to be someone, someone you can proudly regard as a father, a husband, a provider, a man.
   Girls, it's not always easy to be in school. Sometimes, our minds just don't coincide with the demands of the subjects to study, but I beg you, don't do what I did and reject the idea of a college education for the poorly conceived ideal of a degree in the school of life, a title bestowed from the institute of hard knocks.
   Try to always keep in mind that each book you read, each math challenge you solve, each date you have to remember, are the foundation whereupon you will build your futures.
   Never settle for a dank basement where regret is the only lighting filtering through dirty windows. Raise your walls and fill them with large windows so light can touch you at every turn. Reach beyond the simplicity of existence, and draw strength and determination from the passage of time.
   Learn to love to study, to learn, to know, because on the other side of all these years of hard work ahead of you is the promise of a brighter future where you, my dear girls, will earn the right to be regarded as Somebody.
   Whatever your lives will be, whatever you will do in your lives, starts now.
   Perhaps my belated enlightenment is unnecessary, considering your ages and the voracious appetite you have for learning. Perhaps my musings are born of my own self-recriminations, but if you take anything away from this, let it be that education is your armor, your shield and your best weapon to thrive in this ever changing world where challenges become more daunting.
   Education is a bridge to happiness. It's the most solid stepping stone into a life where YOU are in charge of your own destiny, never subjected to the whims of greedy, unscrupulous minds who seek profit at the expense of others.
   Heed the words from a man who's grateful to have one more chance at being Somebody.


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