Letter to my Son

You were born today.

The night before, your mother went to bed, saying “I think we might have a baby before sunrise.” So I stayed with her, and sure enough, 8 hours later, a son was born.
You were a giant when you were born, looking weeks old already. Over 4 kilos that your mother had to birth, without anesthetics or the luxury of a hospital. The midwife only arrived 5 hours in and for a little while, it appeared that I would have to deliver you, myself.
I’ve had a few long nights, but none came close to this one.

While I am writing, you are vast asleep in your mother’s arms. After 12 seconds flat you no longer cared and closed your eyes, only crying when we had the nerve to wake you up, so you could be weighed, washed, and otherwise bothered.
Babies look around, but you looked right at me as if you recognized me from a long time ago. And I certainly recognized you.

I would love to say I have no regrets, but in sharp contrast with my earlier 30 years, I really do. I always swore that, if I were to be a father, I would be a good one. But when the news of you came, I knew that things were not going to be so simple.

I know you will notice and wonder, at some point. It will be hard to explain things to you without apologizing profusely, which will accomplish nothing. Just know that the distance between you and I will hurt for every day that I live. I do not love you less for it- nothing will accomplish that.
You will probably learn to talk without me. I won’t be there to see your first steps. I will try and teach you Dutch and I myself am learning Czech, but likely you will grow up speaking a language that I barely understand.
It might be hard for me, a stranger, to explain that I am your father.

But I am, and you are my son. And you should know that I think about you every day, no matter how far away I might seem. I will try and bridge that distance regularly, so that I can help you grow, and support your mother. She will need the support, trying to raise the both of us.

There are so many things you will learn in my absence, and much that I can never teach you because no one explained them to me, either. But there are plenty of things that I learned over time, and if I can help it, will guide you in your decisions as you age.

I hope to teach you that a person’s integrity is their everything. If they break their word, it quickly becomes worthless.
I hope to bring you up aware and tolerant of those with a different view, of different gender, sexual orientation, or race, to the point where they won’t have to ask their fathers why they are being treated differently.
And in return, I hope you’ll feel accepted, and free to express yourself as strongly as you feel. The society you grow up in might not be as tolerant as it could be, but I pray that you will experience your home as a safe haven.

I hope that you’ll understand, that happiness, your own or that of others, is worth living for. May you find it in your work, in your love, in your breaking of the rules, in the challenge that the world has in stall for you.

Who ever you might turn out to be, I will support you. That is my challenge, and my promise. I will share my world with you as much as possible, so that you can see that it is bigger than what the both of us could ever perceive. And it will know your name, like it knows that of Isaac Newton, Amadeus Mozart, Albert Einstein. We’ll stand firm, you and me, through hardships and tests, and I’ll show you, and we’ll show them, what strength unbridled love can accomplish.

You, Kryštof. You, my son. I await the day that you will be teaching me. When the pendulum returns that started today, when I held you in my arms for the first time.

Welcome.

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