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Following is a letter my stepson wrote and left at our front door to find when we got back home from Florida. It is a letter to my son, who just turned 11, from his dad. This was T.J.'s first birthday without his dad. My stepson called me and asked me before he did this, if I thought it was okay to do and I said yes (my stepson is 25 and lives over 2 hours away, so it filled my heart to know he drove and did this for T.J.). Here is the letter to T.J. from his Daddy:
Happy Birthday T.J.!
I know that you had an amazing birthday with your mom, meme and pepe. I wish I could have been there to enjoy with you, at least in person. I know that this has been a hard year for everyone, but it does get better in time as you have probably found out. For some it takes more time than others. I know that you are strong for your mom, and you have been the whole time. But I also hope you know that you don't always have to be the strong one. Everyone tells us that as men we can't show emotion, or we can't cry. But it's ok to do it when you are sad, or sometimes even when you are happy.
And this is not the time to think of the sad times, but the happy ones. It's your birthday. I know it's not right now, but I didn't want to give this to you and have it lingering on your mind while you were celebrating.
Think about all the good birthdays and times that you've had when we were all together. Think about the summer that we went to Disney World and we rode through that lame "it's a Small World After All" ride. Think of the time you jumped from that bed, to the other bed, and back to that bed, and then you throwed up. Think about the time we went tubing in Helen on your birthday, and I bought that disgusting beef jerky, then I threw up in the parking lot of the church, and then you threw up behind me. It was a daddy throw up pile and a kiddy throw up pile. Think of the multiple times we had to get Kitty Yum Yum (stupid cat) out from the trees when she got stuck. Think of the time we had to shave Kitty Yum Yum's butt! The list can go on and on from movies to thai food, to Fat Buddies (I couldn't leave a note without talking about food!), to the carnival, to the 4th of July fireworks, to you singing at church on Christmas Eve, to opening presents Christmas morning, to Easter, to trips to Florida, to trips to see Michael, to fishing and bonfires.
Just think about all the good times we had together and don't be sad for me. You may not be able to see me, but I am always around. Every time you think of me, I know it. Every time you think of me, I am right by your side. I've cried when you and your mom have been upset, and I've been happy, laughing right by your side when you are having a good time.
Keep living and have a good time, and continue to make me proud.
Happy Birthday. I love you.
I read it over T.J.'s shoulder as he read it and I cried through the whole thing. T.J. immediately said he knew his daddy could not have left it and wanted to know who did. I just simply said I did not know. T.J. liked the letter, but still believes someone else left it. I will keep the letter for him and put it with his scrapbook he made of his Daddy.
My stepson, Michael, is an amazing kid (well, he's a man, he's 25) and I love him dearly. I just wanted to share this with all of you, it really touched me.