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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Eight Year Old Gibson

by Byron on July 29, 2022


The other night, we had a sleepover in your room, just me and you.  I got the top bunk.  We had so much fun that we did it the next night too!  The second night we watched the second half of My Octopus Teacher – a truly beautiful piece of work about man and nature.

In the last six months you’ve been biting your nails.  Recently you got so frustrated that you couldn’t stop biting your nails and you were

Two nights ago we got on Simba cam at the Orioles game.  It was awesome.  Simba cam is where parents hold up their little ones – usually babies.  Not us … I was holding up my full on eight-year old!!  I was even flipping you upside down.  I recently saw on social media that one day parents will pick up their babies for the last time without even knowing it.  How heartbreaking.  Except … not yet for us!

As you bite your nails, while your active brain is processing all that you’re learning about the world and people, I think back to when you were really little at Bryn Mawr little school.  I think about simple the world was and how saying hi to everyone was your life.  You stood at the entrance to your classroom, which one year was at the entrance of the school, and greeted parents and kids.  You were the mayor of the little school.  It was adorable.

I hope you always remember that life actually can be that easy.  I know, as life layers so much on top, that it can feel like the world is just piling on.  But remember, as I am trying to remember, that you can just come back to being that guy who says hi to everyone.  That guy who is simply kind, unencumbered by all the world has layered on top.  You can.  You definitely can.  I know this because I know I can and will try, even if it is difficult and even if I fail.  I will be the better for trying.

I think you are wonderful.  I am so proud of you.




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