The Opposite of Father’s Day

Dear Oot,

As I write this, you are with your mother on a trip to Colorado.

I’m guessing you’re having a pretty good time. You have plenty of opportunities to explore and see new things. You’re surrounded by people that love you, or who at least think you’re cute. You have cousins to play with, and Gramma Maggie is there too.

Most importantly, your mom is there. Moms makes everything better. Nothing can be really bad if your mom is around.

I, on the other hand, am not doing so great.

You’ve been away for six days as of this morning. It’s the longest I’ve ever spent away from you, and it’s starting to get to me.

Well, let’s not beat around the bush, here. I’m kind of a wreck.

The first day wasn’t bad. I was busy getting stuff done. Nobody bothered me. I caught up on my e-mail. Got some writing done, and enjoyed having the house all to myself.

The second day wasn’t so bad either. I finally got around to racking off the mead we made together a couple months back.

You don’t know it’s mead. You call it our “potion.” We had such a good time putting it together. I asked you to pour the water in, and you were so careful. You didn’t spill hardly at all, and when you did, you said you were sorry and helped to wipe it up.

It was the first time I’d tried to do a project with you, and I was amazed. I knew it was going to be fun. But I expected the whole process to take longer than usual, because let’s be honest here, you’re unskilled labor. But much to my surprise, it actually went more quickly because you were a genuine help.

When you come home, I think it might be okay if you try a little bit of the potion. Just a little.

The third day I missed you, but it wasn’t so bad. I went in and lay on your bed and read a book for a while. It helped a little. Later on I got to listen to my Harry Dresden audiobooks while I cleaned up the house and organized my books.

When I was cleaning up, I found an old broken cardboard box. Anyone else would think that it was trash. But I’ve been saving it for more than a year. It’s the box you used to play with all the time. You would crawl into it, hide in it, wear it like a hat….

It’s absolutely destroyed now. It’s been torn up and chewed. Taped and re-taped.

I put it in the closet, where it will be safe. I can’t throw something like that away.

On the fourth day, I take out the compost. That means I have to walk by your toys in the backyard. Back past the garden is the tree I chopped up while you watched. You thought it was so cool.

It’s so much fun to do things around you. I’m like a superhero, and I don’t even have to try. I can reach things on tall shelves. I can stand on my head. I can open doors. You think I’m so cool.

Once, you were watching me dry off after I’d taken a shower. When I flipped the towel over my head to dry my back, you looked up at me in amazement and said, “Fancy!”

It was pure admiration.

You know what? I’ve had crowds of people show up to listen to me talk. I’ve had 400-500 people at a time clapping or cheering or laughing at my jokes.

And I won’t lie to you, it’s nice.

But it’s nowhere near as cool as having you look up at me, genuinely impressed at me flipping a towel over my head, and saying, “Fancy!”

You see me do these things, and you think that I’m awesome. And so I *am* awesome.

But you’re gone now, and I’m not awesome. I’m a pathetic bastard who can’t stop crying while taking out the compost.

On the fifth day I leave the house for a bit. That helps a little. Like most writers, I have the ability to be perfectly happy spending long amounts of time by myself. But five days without leaving the house or speaking to another human is pushing it even for me.

So I go for a walk. I shop a little. I sign a book at the local bookstore. I chat with the people that run my favorite local internet cafe, the Tech Lounge. The folks that run the place have a little baby girl, only about 4 months old. She’s cute as a button, and has a baby mohawk where her hair sticks up.

I just want to hold her. It’s like I’m a junkie. I can’t get what I really want. I can’t be with you. But being able to hold a cute baby would help a little bit.

But I can’t ask. It’s too weird.

Instead I come home and try to talk to you on the phone. Unfortunately, the cell reception up in the mountains is shit. I can hear your voice, but I couldn’t understand what you were trying to tell me. It was like an exercise in tangible loneliness.

Today is the sixth day. If I were to explain to you how much I missed you, it would sound like a lie.

So I’m writing you a letter. I write you letters all the time.

Sometimes they’re just little stories, things I want to remember so I can share them with you later. Sometimes they’re things I’d like to tell you, but you’re too little to understand right now.

I wrote you a letter before you were born. It was the first night I found out Sarah was pregnant, before we knew if you were a boy or a girl. I try to write you at least a couple every month.

You see, by the time you’re old enough to have a really good adult conversation, the person I am right now is going to be gone. I’ll be so much older, and our relationship will have changed so much. There will have been arguments and slammed doors. You’ll be irritated because I won’t stop giving you advice, and I’ll be irritated because you never listen to me.

But see, right now, our relationship is perfect. I’ve got nothing but love for you, my little man.

So I want to take the opportunity to tell you this: if things get shitty in the future it won’t matter in the long run. If you roll your eyes at me and I shout at you, if we end up screaming terrible things at each other….

None of that matters. You’re my boy. You are my favorite thing in the world. You are the one and only thing that always makes me happy. You are going to grow up and break my heart and do things that disappoint me. And it’s okay.

None of the other stuff matters because deep down, underneath it all, I love you like anything. That will never go away.

So why am I putting this letter online? A couple reasons.

First, because there is always the chance that something might happen to me. A plane could crash. I could have a stroke. Some fan might give me the love knife.

Simply said, shit happens. And if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, you’ll be able to find this and read it someday and know the truth of it.

Similarly, the letters I’ve written you are in a folder titled “Letters to the Future” on my computer. If you dig around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find them.

Secondly, I’m doing this to embarrass the hell out of you when you’re in high school. Because that sort of thing is good for you. It builds character.

Love,

your dad.

P.S. For those of you who aren’t my son, tune in on Friday for news about the photo contest.

This entry was posted in Oot. By Pat102 Responses

102 Comments

  1. Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    Very nice. I have a 3 year old little guy and he’s a blast too. Waiting for his reaction to your books. In the meantime his rendition of The Little One’s Bed Time will suffice.

  2. kimblyann
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    That was so sweet and heart-touching, I cried a bit. I hope Oot appreciates what a rad daddy he has when he’s old enough. I hope his friends envy him a bit and want to hang at your house all the time just to hang because they like his dad so much.

  3. Jon
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    Great letter Pat. I’m not a parent yet, but your letter expresses what I hope I will feel for my child. It’s an odd compliment, but you’ve communicated your pain really well.

  4. Kiel
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    Wow, what an amazing dad. Mr. Rothfuss, as I so lovingly call you, you are a true inspiration and my hero. Keep being you man. You’re too awesome not to be you.. Please, keep chugging along without Oot, we all love you.

  5. montsamu
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Hang in there. The cell reception at my in-laws place is crap, too, and it makes those weekend absences lonelier. Dang, man, I want to send you a hug. There. I sent you a hug.

  6. Constance
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    Damn you and you eloquence. I’m trying not to cry here at work and failing miserably. Such a beautiful expression of pure love.

  7. Faqtiskt
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Best blog on the web.

  8. Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this letter online

    I’m going to be a father in the near future (late November or December) and I’ve been pretty nervous about the whole thing. This letter has proven to me that despite all the difficult experiences (even before birth), the terror of the unknown and the overwhelming responsibility, the experience is worth the ordeal.

    I’m also going to copy your letter idea because it’s smart.

    Thanks,
    AJ

    • DaniVA
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

      Hi,

      I am AJ’s fiancé and I also need to thank you for posting this letter.
      Even though I have worked with kids for a long time I have never experienced a love so huge and this little one hasn’t even been born yet. It is a scary thing to think about, but I felt the baby move for the first time the other day and I was overwhelmed with love. I know parenthood is not easy, but reading your letter it is obvious that is worth every fight and sleepless night.
      Sometimes I wish I could save the person I am now and take that person out when my baby is old enough for us to understand each other. I can’t write as well as you, but hopefully the love will come through when my little one reads my letters.
      Thank you also for helping AJ and I connect even more. This letter helped us more than anything we have heard to be excited about being parents.

      Thanks,
      Danielle

      P.S. I had a good cry while reading your letter :)

  9. linkangel2
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

    I hope I can be at least half the father you are. If I am, then I am sure my own child will be raised well too. Best of luck to you and I hope you can learn to cope with being away from someone you love so much even if it’s just for a little while.

  10. Thanoseid
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    What a great post. Mine are 10 and 6 and are at the stage when they often drive me nuts, but the house always seems to quiet if they go on vacation without me

  11. Mandy Swenson
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    Keep his sense of forgiveness and acceptance in mind, as well. When I’m feeling tested, I ask myself how my kids would handle it. Then I grab a juice box, my big box of crayons and a Spongebob flooring book. The world is alright for a little while longer.

    You’re a lucky guy to have Oot.

  12. Mandy Swenson
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    *coloring … mobile typing sucks

  13. hann1980
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Being a father changes your nature fundamentally. There are so many things I no long perceive from the perspective of “Do I like this?”, but rather “Will my daughter like this?” or “How old will she be before she can appreciate this?” All the things I used to view as cliche or overdone are new again as I experience her experiencing them for the first time.

    A snail on the sidewalk can be interesting for at least 10 minutes. Walks around our neighborhood are the best part of the day. Dogs are REALLY interesting, but also kind of scary. Strangers are judged, not by how their respond to me, but how they respond to my daughter.

    However, I am also always worried about her. I cannot even listen to stories in the news about toddlers having bad things happen to them. Even if they end up ok in the end. Someone tried to tell me a horrible story about a little kid and a lawn mower the other day, and I freaked out on them. Not in a “haha, that is terrible, but a little interesting” way, but with a deeply panicked and primal need to force them to shut the hell up.

    Being a father is the most wonderful torture in the world.

    • Corpserun
      Posted August 19, 2012 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

      This made me cry more than Pat’s sentiments. What you have said here is so plain and real, and I can relate to it word for word from my own experiences as a mother to a really awesome son. I can’t even quote something from your comment that stands out, because it all stands out. It is like concentrated parent in word form. I made an account just to say thanks for sharing your feelings as a dad.

  14. millvallison
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    dead on. I’m in tears. my little men, now 19 & 17, tower over me. Oh my yes, there’s disappointment, terrible choices, some raised voices, unanswered calls, ignored advice, unfortunate ink, sleepless nights. But you never forget how their chubby little selves felt in your lap, or the smell of their sleepy neck, or the sound of their feet running in the hall. You love them even when they blast black metal and get arrested at an Occupy rally. They do break your heart. They kinda have to. And you love them anyway.

    great news about the photo contest, BTW.

  15. MoxieMoo
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    Love it! I have a 3-year-old boy and you are spot on.

  16. NAMDORG
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    I cried a little.

  17. L.Spangler
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    God damnit, Pat. You made me cry. You always make me cry. You remind me of everything that is beautiful and right in the world. You are a beautiful human being. Someday, I hope to meet you and give you a hug.

    Things have been rocky at times for the last fews years between my dad and I, and your post reminds me that I know my dad loves me even though we might disagree and have arguments. I really needed that reminder because it gets me down sometimes. Thank you, Pat.

    And thank you for sharing Oot with us, as well as the post about your mom some time ago. You are generous to share such precious things with the world.

  18. Aerron
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this, Pat. My boys are older and this really reminded me of when they stayed home all day with Mom. There’s nothing better than seeing short little arms rushing to the doorway accompanied by shouts of, “DADDY!!”

  19. scubadivider
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    “It was like an exercise in tangible loneliness.”

    That is going to rattle around in my head for a long time.

    Thanks for stuff like that. And for posts like this one.

  20. IvoryDoom
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    How recent are those pictures of Oot? I have no idea how old he is – but for some reason I’m always impressed by how well he can interact and what a wide ranged vocabulary he has.

    I actually laughed out loud at that “fancy” part. Just thinking about it again – I cant keep a straight face. LOL – that’s quite possibly the cutest thing ever…

    Hope Sarah and Oot have a safe trip heard it’s pretty nuts in CO right now. :(

    And this blog really brought back a lot of memories with my own Dad. He has always done projects with us like that, and was pretty much seething with joy when we were old enough to discuss the symantics of Marvel Comics LOL.

    • Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

      He’s older now. Version 2.5. But I couldn’t find newer pictures of him on the spur of the moment.

      • IvoryDoom
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

        Well he is super adorable, and has great articulation.

        Love seeing the photos of your family, thanks for sharing with us. Hope Oot and Sarah get home soon and fill up your life again!

        I’m sure Sarah will be stoked all the chores are done – LOL!

  21. Kat
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Teary. Thanks, boss.

  22. christie
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    I have an 8 year old son. Everyday I am still floored by the absolute endless love that I have for him. We play a game where I ask , “How much does Mommy love you?” with the correct response being “To the moon and stars and the whole universe and back for infinity for all infinity”, and yet that still seems to understate it. Thank you for putting that love into words. I don’t think children can understand the amount they are loved until they are parents themselves. I don’t know how it will be to let him drive or move out someday. Hang in there.

  23. Phaz
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    I love these Oot posts. Always make me smile.

    On a side note, you have Family of some sort in Colorado and have never been out here for a signing!? :(

  24. nmnjr
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    This is beautiful.

  25. rookedwithElodin
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

    Hurray for future blackmail!
    Also, very touching.
    Blackmail!

  26. Ojodelgato
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    My son is 17, a high school senior with a drivers license, and every bit as tall as I am. If he was gone six days I’d miss the hell out of him too.

    Hang in there.

  27. joedetroit
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    You, sir, are a Great Dad. Not ‘Father’, because that implies a degree of remoteness…

    You’re a Dad.

  28. Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    I cried. Oot has an awesome dad.

  29. Mark G. Schroeder
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    This happens to me every time my wife and son go to see my in-laws in California. I end up pining away and people at work constantly ask me what’s wrong.

    Men like to think we’re strong. But we’re just spongy little nothings when our families aren’t near us.

    I didn’t blob until you started talking about something happening that takes you away from your boy. It happened to my Dad when I was a kid, and I tell my son every couple of weeks to never forget I love him, that I’m proud to be his Dad, and that if something takes me away from him he needs to know I didn’t want to go. That I fought to stay.

    I’m going to have to stop reading this blog for a while, I think. These cuts are too deep…

  30. Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing! If I have kids some day I’d like to write letters to them like this. Maybe it would help me overcome my dislike of writing 1st person perspective.

  31. Marina
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    I love this. I’ve been trying to write letters to my girl since she was born 7 and a half months ago, and I lack eloquence, and it makes me sad.
    You don’t lack eloquence, obviously, but this reads so naturally, that I might take courage from it.
    I look forward to so many things with my girl- these include Madelaine L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, Patrick Rothfuss, and other adventures.
    Thank you for sharing this with the internets. I’m sure it will be appropriately embarrassing, but it was also uplifting and inspiring.
    When does Oot get back?

  32. Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Damn it Pat, tears in my eyes…

    I understand it though, I’m just over half-way through with my time apart from my 3 year old. Only 12 days to go…

    Think I will write a letter to him though. That’s a good idea.

  33. damon
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    You can stand on your head?!

  34. Ronjo I
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    Just finished an argument with my 17 year old. With him in the lead we put together a couple of bee hives. They are doing well, I think. The hives are 20 miles south of us where the orchards still grow, my Mothers place.
    We were going to go every Wed to check the bees only his social and work life have intruded, hence the argument. Me lecturing about timetables, him angry that there are constraints on his freedom. Being a ‘good dad’ blows some times.
    In the end you are right none of that matters. I love him deeply. I am so proud of him I have to concentrate to keep from bursting. Plus maybe we will get some honey for our own mead. Part of the hope when we put the hives up. I think the bees can last for one more day without our vigilance.

  35. Bokonon
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    I don’t know if it’s just the timing or the general lack of sleep, but this hit me harder than anything I’ve read in a long, long time. A little less than nine months ago, my wife gave birth to our son, and the experience of the last most-of-a-year has been nothing short of life-changing. And yesterday, I found out my dad had a second (luckily small) heart attack, a little less than ten years after his first. So as I read over your letter I couldn’t help but read it, in a sense, as two different men.

    First, I read as the bright-eyed loving father looking forward to all the joys and heartaches of getting to watch my son grow up as I grow old. Already, though he can’t even talk in more than jabbers, I can tell by the glimmer in his eyes and the way he laughs joyfully when he sees me that he thinks I’m a pretty cool guy. And even after such a short time I find that I really do love him more than anything else in this world, and I know, like you and your son, that nothing will ever change that, no matter how tough life gets in the interim.

    Then I realized that I wasn’t just the father. I was also the son, looking back as an adult at all the long years of memories I have of my dad. But now, with his worsening health, I am reminded every day that eventually (hopefully a long time from now) those memories will be all I have left of the man who was for me that “coolest guy in the world.” The man who carried me on his shoulders, who took me camping, who taught me how to shave and instilled in me a love of music.

    In facing my fears of his mortality I am forced to face my own, and realize that I myself will someday not be there for my little boy. I only hope that by then he will have years of memories of me (and his grandpa) to look back on and reflect like I do today.

    So now I’m sitting here weeping quietly here at work (luckily in an isolated cubicle), all because of another man’s letter to his vacationing son. I read your blog every week since I first found it, but today I really needed to hear what you had to say. It finally let me put voice to hopes and fears that I’ve been keeping locked up too long. So thank you, Pat. Thank you for helping me put everything in perspective.

  36. Aetter
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    You bad man, Pat, you made me cry. In a really nice way.

  37. Naomi
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    Awwwwwwww

  38. Morf
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    Mr Rothfuss: I’ve been following your blog for a while now – since before Oot was born. I came here because I love the books, and I love the way you write. But the best things you write, the things I love the most, are the posts about Oot. It may help that I have a little girl of almost the same age, and I’m going through a lot of the same “new dad” processes at the same time, but the way you write about your own life hits me in the emotions every time.

    The way you describe things – your relationship with him, the way he understands and interacts with the world, your hopes and dreams and mental state when dealing with your family, the way you feel about your parents – these things are fabulous. Your posts about Gaiman’s party and Oot’s reactions there, and about your mother’s day experiences, these things have stuck with me. Everything with the tag “Oot” in your blog is well worth reading, and taking to heart.

    Seeing this come directly after your post about GRRM and the whole “write the book, dammit!” sentiment that we’ve all felt, even when we understand that good things take time, makes me think “I don’t care about the book, when I get to read things like this – *this* is awesome”. (That said, I’m looking forward to reading more books by you, and GRRM, and Lynch, and more when they’re ready!)

    Thankyou for sharing your world with us. And good on you for thinking ahead about ways to embarrass Oot when he’s in school! These things are important!

  39. Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to lie and say it gets better, but it doesn’t. It gets worse, and then horrible. I’ve got a 2 year old and a soon-to-be 7 month old baby that I’ve only seen for one weekend in the last five months as I’ve relocated for a new job, and it’s by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.

  40. jnicole@hotmail.com
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    You are truly a beautiful man.

  41. Lauralyn
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Way to make everyone’s heart fill up! It was very pleasant to read this though now I am snotty and all. It just makes me think of my relationship with my father and how much fun we have always had with each other!!! I’ve told him I hate him and that he knows nothing about being a girl(when I was 15…) but we always always loved each other to death and were (and still are) always best of friends! We’d go grocery shopping together and I’d call him an asshole (jokingly) and he’d call me a stupid bitch (jokingly) while all the other folks were staring wide eyed and completely judging while the whole time he would be crop dusting down the isle. But do not worry so much about changing. change is beautiful, not to mention inevitable. You can never lose compassion.

  42. Allie
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    You write the most beautiful things.

    Things between my mother and I are incredibly strained, but reading your post made me remember how it felt when I was a little kid, and I thought she was amazing, and perfect, and that she would always keep me safe. I started crying while reading this letter – I’m crying right now as I’m typing. I wish I had some way to connect to the woman my mother was back then, a letter I could read that could take me back to that person from my childhood who loved me completely. Your son is very lucky; you seem like a wonderful father.

    • Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

      (Allie, can you write your mom a letter right now?)

      • Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

        Seconded.

        If things are strained, it will be hard. But odds are, the longer you wait, the harder it will be….

        • Beej
          Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

          Thirded. From a man who waited until his mom was on her deathbed to have that conversation with her. Write the letter now.

  43. Sinitron
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Thanks for the letter, it was a nice reminder of what I want. The Wife and I have been trying to have a child for over a year now, no kinds of treatments have worked so far and we’re looking at IVF now. If you’re not aware it’s a hefty chunk of money to do something like that… so I’ve been dragging my feet. I just want to say thank you very much for the letter, it reminded me that I want the opportunity to write my own letter to my child some day and to do that it looks like IVF is the last practical option for a biological child of ours. Thank you for the recharge to my desire to make that happen.

    Thank You,
    Austin Haynes

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

      Dont lose hope Austin. Even if you guys never conceive, their are so many children out in the world that would be blessed to have parents as loving as you and your wife sound. One of my best friends parents ending up adopting after they found out they couldnt have anymore children. (It was horribly difficult for them to ever even concieve my friend) They have found it to be extremely rewarding and no one ever treats their adopted daughter any different – family is family, sometimes you do get to choose them. :)
      Best of luck to you both though. Another of my friends did IVF and ended up having a couple babies instead of one, and she struggled to get pregnant for years. So it was huge blessing to her. You never know what the future might hold, so dont let the present get you down.

      • IvoryDoom
        Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

        Sheesh – this comment section needs an edit button -

        I forgot to say, you guys could also always try a surrogate. My cousin was a surrogate for a woman who couldnt have her own and she actually enjoyed the experience. This lady got to pick out her babies genetics – it was pretty interesting actually. Crazy what science can do – my cousin was basically a human incubater. LOL

        She got to be such good friends with the lady too – that now their kids hang out!

  44. Richierich
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:52 AM | Permalink

    I just gotta say, I know exactly how you feel. I feel that loneliness all the time…by wife and I separated over 2 years ago and while I see the kids every second weekend, it’s not enough…I miss them dreadfully when I take them home. My oldest boy has highfunctioning Autism but is the brightest, cutest, sharpest kid you’ve ever met! My youngest is Neurotypical and is the sweetest kid. He ALWAYS wants hugs, cuddles and soaks up the love. he loves nothing more, at the age of 3 to help bake bread, weed the garden, do the laundry and anything else he can do to help. I’d dearly love to be their primary caregiver…the knowledge that I am missing out on so much is heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing, Pat!

  45. Jiyuu
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    Reading this, I understand what ‘Love’ is.

  46. Hecuba
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:23 AM | Permalink

    I cried a bit, too. I don’t have a dad and never did, though I do have an amazing mum, and Oot-related posts always make me a bit jealous. In a good way. Oot is a very lucky kid! :-)

  47. Thousandmilewish
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    Aw. I think you’re a good dad. I dont want to have kids when I grow up and I know nothing about being a parent, but you made it sound better than I imagined.
    My dad barely knows me. When I see old photographs of me and dad when I was little, I cant help but wonder what he thought and felt. if he cared about me even a little and if he cares today or not..
    I think what you’re doing is cool. I hope Oot will be happy when he reads your letters. I would have been happy to read something like that.

    Have you read The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder?

    • sesenta y cuatro
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:18 AM | Permalink

      It’s like nothing I ever did before.

      Sometimes you think the World is cruel. Sometimes you think people stinks. Sometimes you’d like things to be done in a different manner…

      And all of a sudden there comes a small person who needs you and is happy just by having you nearby. Yours is the task to teach him, to guide him, to protect him…

      A son/a daughter is a chance to do all the Good that you’d have liked done upon you.

  48. sesenta y cuatro
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if Arliden wrote songs for his son to discover its meaning as he grew old…

    Nice letter, Pat. I wish you will have your son back at home soon. I’m also wondering what type of calamities a certain red-haired guy must be going through while Oot’s away. I’m sure he’s missing Oot, too.

    BTW: As a reader I envisage a third reason for posting this online: You’d like to let your readers know how much you care for them. In fact you have chosen to stay at home writing, you have chosen no Oot for some time… and somehow you need them to be aware of it. Was it also in the back of your mind when you posted about the Write like Wind song? I guess it was in a shier way.

    Thanks for sharing,

  49. Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    Patrick. Go back to the shop and ask to hold the mohawk-baby. It’s okay.

    She’ll feel like a feather and you’ll stand there wondering if Oot was ever that teeny, and you’ll be nervous about holding a little one again and you’ll worry about things like head support and notice that she doesn’t hang on like Oot can, but in a few minutes, and for a few minutes, you’ll feel better, and her parents will watch you carefully but with pride. :)

  50. Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    As I read this, I began to well up. I know precisely how you feel (or at least approximately how you feel, it’s a bit concieted to think that I could now preciesely how anyone feels about anything)!

    My little girl is 13 months old, and she totally delights me every day, spending time with her and my wife is my greatest pleasure. But I am going away. To a different country. For nine whole days. This is going to be hard, I can tell.

    With the greatest sympathy for your suffering (I would hug you if you weren’t geographically distant, and if it wouldn’t be a bit wierd from a total stranger).

  51. Farrell
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    Dear Oot,

    We know. But he’s a daddy and they just get that way sometimes. The good ones do, anyway. If this is your first reading of this letter, that squirmy feeling of vague embarrassment will pass shortly, promise. If this not your first reading, yes…I absolutely agree that the pollen is terrible this year. I’ve been having the worst time with watery eyes, too.

    He’s serious about the blackmail. However, if one were to remind him of this letter at a time when he’s feeling particularly sentimental…at a graduation of some sort, perhaps…it’s possible one might be able to finesse some cash out of such a situation.

    Hope you’re well, tell the future I said something clever.

    -Farrell

  52. Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Pat, that was so sweet. I should not read stuff like this while I am pregnant and at work. I’m an emotional hot mess right now. We just found out yesterday we are having a boy, and reading the way you talk about Oot makes me even more excited to be a parent.

  53. cbmurphy7
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Wow, Pat, that letter wrecked me.

    Hits me in the same spot where “Father & Son” by Cat Steven.

    Different in tone and content they may be, both are filled with the presence of the love that is there.

  54. Sokol
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Keep up the writing to Oot, Pat, because they grow up too damn fast. My daughters are 7 and 9. The other day we were at Barnes & Noble, and I saw that Laura Numeroff had a new book out, “If You Give a Dog a Doughnut.” I so wanted to buy it and cuddle up on the couch with the girls and read it to them, but they both want chapter books, and have moved past the picture books. So I quietly read the book in the store remembering the nights when they fit easily into one arm, while the other held a book.

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

      That is so sweet!

      When my brother and I progressed past picture books, my mother started reading us chapter books aloud every night before bed we’d get 2 chapters, maybe 3 if they were short. It was fun and I still remember those times with a smile. Sometimes after she left, my brother and I would lay awake in our bunkbeds talking about what we thought might happen tomorrow. LOL.

      Probably more than half the reason I still love reading and speculating about the future of novels as an adult.

  55. Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

    Words really fail to say just how deeply this letter touched me, Pat. I have two girls and have many of the same feelings when I am parted from them. Your letter is inspirational and moving. Just… wow.

  56. Howland
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    One of the great mysteries about have having a baby is the thought of having another baby. It seems a complete impossibility that you will have the love for a second child that you have for the first. Or that you will be able to maintain 100% of your love for the first while loving the second, but it totally works.

    I’m not saying….I’m just saying….

  57. troyn123
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    “You see, by the time you’re old enough to have a really good adult conversation, the person I am right now is going to be gone.”

    That is a rather interesting realization… I think I’ve felt it before, while reading my old papers and writing and such, but I’ve never really put it into words like that before. Makes me want to start writing letters, as we’re going to have a kid next year! Thanks for sharing.

    P.S.: This is awesome: “Secondly, I’m doing this to embarrass the hell out of you when you’re in high school.”

  58. JasonB
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    My son is the same age as Oot, and I always love it when you write about him. <a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-14G_x_ZzeJQ/T-Htyo_OLNI/AAAAAAAAhcQ/mOvXt6dyCvM/s640/2012-06-19_19-34-25_929.jpg"We have a lot of fun, too. I travel 6 months out of the year for my job, so I feel your pain.

  59. Posted June 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    Oot –

    Your father is the man, simply put. A man who can grow a beard like that and put his heart into a love letter for his son now and the future is chart-topping in my book. Be proud.

    Pat, thanks for sharing.

    LP

  60. agibson
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    Fantastic!

    A terrific letter about the love of a father for his toddler son. Spot on. Brought tears to my eyes and a frog to my throat. Made me think of my business trips, and made me consider taking the afternoon off to go hang out with my five-year-old and my three-year old.

  61. franbelda
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Three hours before my daughter was born my dad died. That was seven months ago. The man who taught me (among many things) to love books and stories. Who as a teenager took me out for coffee and to my favorite book shop to pick “any book I wanted” was gone forever. I loved your letter, even though it is full of personal anecdotes it is, as with any great writing, universal. My dad had a rough childhood growing up in post civil war Spain, so he wasn’t very vocal about his love buy I swear I heard his voice in your letter and bawled out like a baby. It is a weird coincidence that I read this today, on what would have been my dad’s birthday. Happy Birthday Dad. Thank you, Pat.

  62. Posted June 28, 2012 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Our boy’s were born within a month of each other, so it has been neat to see you dealing with things that I go through a short time later. This one made me want to leave work and pick up my boy from Daycare right now.

    Love of a child has no equal.

    • plut8
      Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

      This is a little off topic.

      Is your username based on the TV show The Good Wife?

  63. RhewChuryll
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    To Mr. Pat,

    Every now and then I pop on by your blog, to see the world through your eyes. Reading your latest entry to Oot, was the coolest thing and was needed at the right moment. My lil Brendan is driving me nuts, climbing everything he can get his hands and feet on. Wanting every ball in every store we go to and throwing a hissy fit when I don’t get him one. As I gave my son back to his mom for nite nite, he looks back at me (he’s 16 months old) with a big ol cheesy grin and sparkling eyes and my heart goes with him everything time he goes to bed.

    I just happened to read your entry and thinking my memories of my son, driving me nuts, will probably be the best of memories.

    Thanks for sharing Pat, you are truly an awesome dude!!

    Jason

  64. Crowmanhunter
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    You know Pat, there’s something known as Future Email which lets you write a letter and have it set to be sent by your email at a designated date.

    Truly, the marvels of modern technology . . .

  65. Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I hope that some day I’m half the father you are.

    That is it,
    Eric

  66. AuttieB
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    This made me miss my own boys so much I’m taking them berry picking during my lunch hour. Hope you get hugs from Oot soon.

  67. NinjaGhost
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    Fancy Pat,
    Kids are pretty great. Also, I may never forgive you for the imagery your story invoked. Fancy, indeed.

  68. Gavin
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Pat when you teach him how to read how long will you wait before letting him read you’re books?

  69. mgwa
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful! I had no idea how much I could love someone until my son was born. My absolute favorite quote, because it expresses my feelings better than I could, is “To have a child is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.” ~ Elizabeth Stone

    Thank you for being so eloquent.

  70. maine character
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    Such letters to my friends and family is something I’ve always meant to do, and started once, but never finished.

    Then I read this and think, this guy’s got his shit together.

    And I remember my friend who, last month, had her father go off the road and hit a pole.

    And I remember Radar seeing Hawkeye sitting up late at a desk, and Radar saying, “There’s no paperwork that can’t wait till tomorrow.” And Hawkeye, who’d just been to the front, and is writing to his father, saying, “I used to think that, too.”

  71. Jerry
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat I just wanted to say little Oot is one of the luckiest kids in the world. He has a Dad. I haven’t seen or heard from my father (I use this term loosely) since I was 6 and I’m 17 now. I used to hate him so much I can’t put it into words. I thought he didn’t love me and I also thought I was worthless. Reading your letter however I know Oot will never know that feeling and that you will always be there for him. What you and your child have is so amazing and so precious that it is impossible to put into words and even though you hate it when he comes back with Sarah you will be beyond ecstatic to hold him again and he will forever be cherished by his fancy daddy :)

    • Jerry
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

      I meant hate the fact he is gone not hate your relationship… Need to freshen up on my grammar/punctuation but hey it’s summer and I’m 17 I have the right :P

  72. gawain07
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Beautifully and eloquently written, and my eyes are a bit damp even as I type this.

    My daughter leaves for college in less than 3 months, and I’m going to be a complete wreck with her gone. At this point, I’m holding it together because I want her to be successful and independent. I want her to remember her past, but not cling to it. Perhaps I should do the same, but 18 wonderful years of memories has a hard grasp on my heart right now.

    Having children is the greatest gift, and one that will break your heart in all the best ways possible. Cherish the time you have and rack up the memories. It flies by faster than you think it ever will

  73. cantrell11
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    As a father of a four year old boy, I feel your pain. I was sent away for work for a week and I felt like sobbing every night because I didn’t get to read my boy his stories and put him to bed. I can’t write like you, but I have been keeping a journal for him since his birth. Kudos to you and all the other father’s who love their children the way that they should and are not afriad to say it.

  74. JoBird
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Great post, thank you for sharing.

  75. Tazin
    Posted July 2, 2012 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    You magnificent bastard, you.

  76. Posted July 2, 2012 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    Every day that passes I love more your stories, this blog and your philosophy… plus your love for Oot :) If you ever want to open a contest for receiving latinamerican assistants let me know, I’ll borrow the money from Devi to go from Chile to Wisconsin and play that role for a period :)
    Having discovered your book by coincidence, and being already in love with it makes me want to develop my own left projects and give it a try for a change. Congratulations on creating a human hero, I’ll keep reading, both the book and the blog, and of course commenting the posts. I hope next fathers’ day you get to spend the day with that sweet Oot, who clearly is adorable… Congratulations my last discovered author!! you really have a talent on attracting an important group of readers! (not that you haven’t noticed already)

  77. Harb1ng3r
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    Wow, after reading this, for the first time in my life I wish I had a father…

  78. makaveli80
    Posted July 23, 2012 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    I am totally stealing this. Brilliant idea. Your Oot blog posts are among my favorites.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)