Katiedid Langrock: A Letter to My Newborn Son

Photo courtesy of Joan Kocur

Sweet Baby,

I promise always to be your biggest cheerleader, even during that weird phase when you’re into wearing a cape and playing the electric cello.

I promise I won’t pretend to understand current fashion trends when you’re in school. Be it turtlenecks made of banana peels or a resurgence of parachute pants and monocles, you’re free to dress as you choose, as long as it doesn’t represent the Bloods, the Crips or any of the 50 shades of gray.

I hope you will have enough self-worth never to be an easy victim and enough character never to be a bully. Only comfort in your own skin will bring you real joy in life. Well, that and chocolate-covered bacon.

I promise never to act as if my love were something you must earn. There will be days when I won’t like you very much, my sweet, but my love for you is constant. It’s a right, not a privilege. It’s yours with my every breath until my last breath and beyond.

I hope you take yourself seriously but never take life too seriously. Approach life with a sense of humor, and have sense enough to know when to use it and when to shut your mouth. Only Joe Biden can laugh in a guy’s face for an hour and not get decked.

Be warned: I sing off key and loudly, stick my foot in my mouth, always raise my hand when a magician asks for a volunteer, walk into walls and tell absurd stories to strangers who didn’t ask to hear them. But though I’m likely to embarrass you often, I promise never to shame you.

I promise to apologize when I’ve erred, because it is important you know that there is great strength and grace in saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it.

I hope you go through a rebellious phase, when you stake your independence and claim your own voice, even if that means a tongue ring and a misspelled gangsta pseudonym, such as Kla$$ Klown. And I am putting this in writing so you can shove it in my face when I deny ever permitting such insolence.

I promise never to chaperone your school dances.

I hope you always will come to me with the big issues. But I pray those big issues look less like an episode of “16 and Pregnant” and more like an episode of “What Not to Wear.”

I promise never to lie to you. However, I reserve the right to stretch the truth, omit information, be hyperbolic and change names to protect the guilty.

I hope you are always up for learning. Please, please, my child, we have enough morons in this world.

I hope you always run down hills with outstretched arms, wish on dandelions, play with slugs, jump in puddles and climb trees far too high.

I hope life hands you a few big falls, but none so serious that it can’t be remedied with a little humility or a couple of months in a neon cast signed by all your friends.

I wish for you passion and the guts to pursue it. Though I reserve the right to retract this statement if your passion leads you to a life of selling drugs, porn or jumping out of planes in nothing but a squirrel suit. Them folks be crazy.

I hope you are a brat — not in the spoiled way but in the “I’ve got my own mind and I’m not afraid to speak it” way. Brats can change the world.

And most of all, I hope your never feel small when you stand beside the ocean — or the mountains or the desert, for that matter. I hope you feel huge. There is nothing insignificant about you, little one. You have but one life, and this earth is yours to swim and climb and trek. It is yours to explore and to protect. Stop for the sunsets, and count the stars; and when the world opens up to show you her magnificence, feel huge because you got to see it. And because you were here, breathing her air, this world never will be the same again. You have impacted the planets, my love. That’s how special you are, my big boy. That’s how grand.

My heart is yours,


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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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