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A letter to a Marine

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Cowpuncher

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About a year ago when my Marine son was being reassigned and his wife had been called up for the Iraqi war, it dawned on me that I had never told him some of my innermost thoughts, I wrote him a letter which follows:


Dear Don,

Right now you should be in Europe enjoying a well-earned respite with your family. I was thinking about a lot of you and realized that there are a lot of things that I had taken for granted assuming that you were already aware of them. It seemed to be appropriate to come right out and tell you rather than just assuming you knew.

First, I am extremely proud of you, as is your mother. You have developed into a fine person with good morals and character. Your chosen career is one of which you may be proud. You have progressed well and have the ability to continue to progress if you stay in the Marines for more than twenty years. You have the ability to handle awkward situations with aplomb and without antagonizing people. Most likely, that trait came from your mother’s side. Although I probably could have become an officer in the army, I doubt that I had the personality or temperament to have done very well.

Next, I need to tell you that your family is extraordinary. Judi is such a special fine person and you are surely lucky to have had the good fortune to meet at the right time of life. Brad, Kim and Angela are smart, pleasant, courteous, good-looking individuals that we admire more as they grow into maturity. I am sure the children cause concern from time to time, but who doesn’t while growing up. I will support them in any honest endeavor they wish to follow.

I hope that I have been a good father. I look back at the years with a few regrets – one is not spending enough time with the family when it seemed that work was more important. It wasn’t. I tried to avoid being an unpleasant parent, though I am not sure I always succeeded. I remember the unpleasant times I had as a kid and tried to avoid them. My father was from a different generation and world. I am sure he did his best to raise five kids into adults; however, it seemed like there was a lot of tension and more unpleasantness than needed. I don’t think I ever heard him say he was proud of me, but I am sure he was. It would have been nice to hear it.

We have tried not to interfere in you life and to let you do as you wanted. Only when I see what might be a significant problem (such as enlisting in the Army instead of becoming an officer) do I say anything. I hope that you agree that I have not been a busybody messing in a life not mine.

I grew up in a world right out of the depression of the 1930’s and while we never lacked for plenty to eat, we lived poor in other ways. I wanted to make sure you and Jen had things that other kids had. I never had a car until I was out of the military. I tried to make sure you had a nice home in nice neighborhood. We always had a nice, maybe not fancy, car. We picked places to live where the neighborhood was upper middle-class and you could grow up without feeling you were the underclass.

Partly through luck, we were able to see a good part of the world while working for an oil company. You have continued this and your children are worldly for their ages. Frankly, you are doing an excellent job of making them into adults.

We lived very frugally for many years – perhaps you don’t remember that since we started to become less frugal about the time you would have picked up on it. One of the reasons was that I wanted your mother and I to never be a burden on you or or your sister. Hopefully, we have achieved a level of financial security adequate to ensure this will be the case.

There are no guarantees in life. Your mother is not healthy and there are times that I think I may well not be around as long as I would like. So rather than checking out and leaving things unsaid, I am writing this letter to you now.

With love and respect,

Dad



You don't have to have a son in the Marines to tell your offspring what you really think. Everyone should do it before it is too late.
 

jigs

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not spending enough time with the family when it seemed that work was more important. It wasn’t


I find myself telling my kids this about every other month....but yet I still push off the activities, letting mom go while dad works. It just leaves me with a hollow feeling, yet I can not drop the work and go......
 

PPRM

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I wrote a similar letter to my grandmother once, it was one of the best things I have ever done....


It remindss me a bit of the story I read in one of the Chicken Soup stories. A tracher had the kids in her class write something about what hey admired about each of the other students in thier class. It was an eye-opener as a lot of the kids didn't realize that the others thought so well of them. Years later, at her funeral, those kids showed up, many of them had the letters from that day.

A lot of people need that one person at some point that believes in them ehough to turn thier lives around. I think to often we don't take the 30 seconds to let someone know how important they are or how much we appreciate them. Maybe we pattern ourselves after the leaders in this country too much. Hmmmm...lets take the time to let some folks know how we feel about them and make the infighting in the Capital become irrelevant,


Cowpuncher, I'm sure that letter is just one of many things you've done right

PPRM
 

PPRM

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Jigs,

Funny thing about work, it is always there tommorrow, family isn't.....


I do know what you are saying though. I think there comes a time when you figure out how to do the work different or at a different time of the day?????


PPRM
 

Shelly

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My better half is a workaholic, he doesn't really know how to just sit back and enjoy the moment. He has missed out on alot of the simpler pleasures in life. We don't have children, and maybe I'm expecting too much from him when I want to spend time doing something other than work with him. But like PPRM says, work will always be there tomorrow, I as his only family may not be. Well, I'm not his only family, the rest of his family is around, but I'm the one he chose to spend his life with. I just wish he'd realize there's more to life than work.
 

Chuckie

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i just want to say that, as a single parent since my kids were 4 and 1, respectively, that time spent at work, was a lot of wasted time. i mean, i did have to work, and i did work, but i spent WAY too much time at that, and not near enough making memories with my kids.

i've come to realize that 1) time always goes forward, never back. 2) that kids only grow up once and 3) that it's never too late to start. simple, but i never really thought about it while i was doing it. always thought "there's tomorrow, next week, month, year..."--but there really is no guarantee we have tomorrow. only today, right now.

ok-i'm done.
 

Jinglebob

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I wrote a very similar letter to our son while he was in Iraq. You just made me realize that I need to tell him the same things, now that he is home!

We are celebrating our Thanksgiving tomorrow and I think it would be a good time to tell all of my family how proud I am of them and who they are!

Thanks for a timely reminder! :)
 

Faster horses

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Cowpuncher, you were very wise to have written that letter. Better to have done it than have waited til too late and wished you had sent it for the rest of your life.


I think we all were too busy when we were young parents. We had a lot of responsibility then and money wasn't as plentiful as when we got older. Funny, isn't it? You can add on to the house AFTER the kids are gone and when you don't need the extra room anymore.

I guess the times we shared with our daughter was working times, not much playing times. But I don't think it hurt her too much. Things are different now. Dads take more of a one-on-one with their kids, which is good. For some reason, we always want the approval of our parents and it doesn't matter how old we are. I don't think we heard it from them, not so much as they DIDN'T approve as that they didn't know how to communicate well.

Anyway, don't ever pass up an opportunity to tell someone you love them and that they mean a lot to you.
 
A

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Awesome Cowpuncher. Thanks for sharing something personal like that with us. I bet that letter cemented the respect your son has for you. It takes a real man to get himself to put that down on paper, or say it. It's a lot tougher to do than to just never say it.

I hope I can learn something from this when I get "mature" someday. :wink:

Oh, and thanks for your, and his service to our country.
 

hometowngurl

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Hey, Shelly , my hubby also has been a workaholic in the past, but between the prayers and having a son around whom he adopted as his. We have managed to get him to appreciate more than work, especially if he wants to, eat or have his laundry done or the other important stuff. When my hubby does throw himself into his work, it is usually because there is something that he doesn't want to face and we as spouses have to help in any way we can. Trust in GOD to help you and have FAITH.
With God all things are possible.
:) :heart: :pretty:
 

nr

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We were with my brother-in-laws' for thanksgiving along with his 93 yr old father. My brother in law offered to say the blessing and it was:

"Dear God, thank you for this food and thank you for leaving Dad here on earth awhile longer for us to enjoy."

It reminded me that appreciating a person can be done anywhere at any time. Thank you for writing out your letter Cowpuncher.

( By the way, my father-in-law quipped that it made him feel like the dessert! )
 

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