My Inner World

by Byron on January 6, 2024

Decker and Gibson-

I don’t write much here anymore.  It’s for good reason.  I like to spend my available non-work time either either being with you guys or, lately, playing tennis.

Being a Dad is a lot of work!  And I often feel like I’m not actually doing enough work.  There so much to teach you guys about life.  How to be a kind person.  How to be a hard worker.  How to win and how to lose.  And we’re just getting started!!

I don’t love being with you guys every second.  Sometimes it’s really hard.  When you guys are in a shitty mood or too tired or don’t give a shit about what I have to say, it’s hard.

But sometimes is literal heaven on earth.  I mean, literally.  As in, there’s nothing better.  As in, being with you guys is why I’m here on earth.

Much of time, it ranges from pretty great to incredibly great.

When I get tired or annoyed, I try to remember that some years from now – and maybe even sooner – I will long for these moments of your youth.  Many moments are so great that I feel them gone right as they are happening.  It makes me hold a little tighter.  Love a little more.

Mostly I don’t write because we’re busy doing stuff.  We’ve been so many places just in the last year.  We’ve played so much tennis together.  And basketball.  And gone to games.  And hung out.  And wandered around Bethany Beach.  And gotten used to a new house.  And we have dinner together almost every night.  I do my best to be present.

I’m far from a perfect Dad.  I get angry and frustrated and short-tempered.  I want you to both be happy and achieve and, occasionally, I try to shove both down your throats.  And that’s not the way it works.  I could be a better husband to your mother, too.  She deserves so much.  She is a great woman who does her best with you guys day in and day out and there’s so much beauty in that consistency.

You guys are nine and eleven and doing a pretty awesome job.  Taking in and processing life, yourselves, and the world around you is hard.  It’s a lot.  You guys are doing great.  If you are anchored in our families values – kind, courageous, honest, respectful and grateful – you are unstoppable.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I know it’s too hard on some days.  Always remember that no matter how hard a given day is, there are easier days in the future.  Life gives a fair amount of suffering, but never only suffering.  There’s a yin yang to it.  Hunter and Garcia say it better than I could in the words of Built to Last.

I want to write here more.  I know so much about my Dad, but now that he’s gone, I wish I knew more.  I’d love to know what he thought and how he felt more, especially in real time.  How did my memories of him and our time together sync up with his inner world?  I’d love to know more.  That’s why I’d like to write here more – so you guys can know my inner world if you want to.  We’ll see if I can make it happen.



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To My Homesick Boy—

by Byron on July 6, 2023

You’ve been at sleepaway camp for a week and a half.  You’re still so homesick that the camp director let you call us.  You sobbed.  You haven’t been this deeply sad since falling as a toddler.  We usually fixed that with kisses and dessert.  This one is tougher.

We were so encouraging.  We tried to remind you of the fun things that were happening at camp.  We’ve seen the pictures where you look happy and engaged.  We asked about that.

You asked if we would make you go back next year. We said of course not, if you didn’t want to. We told you that you will be home super soon and it would go by in a blink.  We told you to focus on the fun stuff.

We told you that it’s natural to be homesick.  We told you that you can do hard things.  We said we missed you too, but didn’t dwell in that.

The Truth

But here’s the truth…

I fucking hate this.  I miss the shit out of you.  I miss the daily check-ins.  I miss the conversation.  I miss being near you.  I miss playing catch.  I miss you telling me who you think the best NBA players are … and I don’t even like the NBA. I miss the beach, and dinners, and the arcade. I miss the tuck-in.

I think about you and your brother constantly.  I hope you don’t think of me nearly as often.

A lot of parents look forward to summer camp.  They look forward to some time away from the grind that raising children can be.  I understand entirely, and absence makes for renewed energy and a fonder heart.  But that’s not me.  A few days away on business or at the spa with Mom is way more than enough for me.

I just want to be with you.

But I have to walk the line.  Because I can’t smother or live life for you.  I have to do whatever my part is in making sure that you can live this life without me, to the extent necessary depending on the situation. That’s the hardest reality of being a parent from where I sit.

I’m not in your conversations with you.  I’m not on stage with you. I’m not on the pitcher’s mound with you. It’s not my book report (and thank god it’s not). I’ve been to college; I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly for myself. I’m not going back again with you.

Roots and Wings

We’re supposed to give you roots and wings, they all say.

We’ve done our absolute best to have a loving home with good people around you, family and friends alike.  You go to a great school and have a lot of friends.  You have enough sports and activities to be busy and engaged.  You have enough down time and boredom to be creative and feel yourself out a bit.

But we fucked up … we’re moving while you’re at camp.  So your physical roots are being pulled while you’re getting an early, tough test of the wings.  Sorry about that.  If we could do it again, we’d time it out differently.

Through heavy sobs on the phone, you said that you’d never get to sleep in our house again or eat breakfast at that table again.  I don’t know whether you just miss us or you really are pining for the house.  I’m guessing mostly the former with a little of the latter.

We’re Not Birds

Birds get pushed out of the nest.  Some of the baby birds aren’t ready.  Some of them don’t fly.  Some of those birds die.  It’s one of a trillion tough realities of evolution and our world.

Don’t worry, we’re not birds.  We’ve got many more opportunities to push a little, while padding the landings less and less as we go.  This one was a heavy push and I know it feels like no padding.  We see you and we hear you.  Even though it doesn’t totally feel like it, you’re in good hands.

We listen to you sob.  I deal with my pain.  I listen to your pain and encourage you through it, downplaying my own for your benefit.

But if I’m honest, I hate the distance and I miss you tons!!  And I want to tell you.  But I won’t give you the whole truth, except here in this letter.

Hopefully we’re doing the right thing.



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