A Father’s Day letter from a dad to his son


Dear Son,

I hope you’ll read this letter on the day you become a father yourself, even if I’m not there in person to pass on my fatherly wisdom. (Or if you decide not to become a father, that’s totally okay — you can read this for a hoot someday when you’re an adult.)

First off: Based on what preschool-you has told me of your plans for the future, I would like to offer you and your wife Princess Imogen congratulations on the birth of your children, Luke, Leia, Batman, Mario, Luigi, Poopy Butt and baby Baby Yoda. I couldn’t be prouder to be grandfather to these seven firefighter-paleontologist-monster truck drivers.

Why did I write this Father’s Day letter to you? Because I want you to know that I was listening to you even when you were a young child. I saw who you were, and I recognized you as your own person. I took your hopes seriously, understood your aspirations and thoughts, and took your words to heart, like a good father should.

That’s Fatherly Wisdom Tip No. 1, by the way.

Here’s my further advice to you as a first-time father:

2. Don’t lie to your children

There’s no more sacred bond than between a parent and a child, especially when your child is still seeing the world through your eyes. That trust is the foundation on which they’ll build not just their future estimation of the world, but of themselves. 

3. But Santa Claus isn’t really a lie, because …

Oh, hey, look over there! Shiny new presents!

4. Bedtime is a rolling concept

Your parenting day isn’t over when the bedtime story’s done — the tuck-in’s the easy part. Don’t be surprised to get one to 12 surprise visits over the next few hours for such breaking news as “There’s a weird shadow in the corner,” “There’s too many covers,” “There’s not enough covers,” “Are my pajamas blue or green — I have to know right now,” and the perennial favorite: “I gotta tell you something! Um …”

Speaking of which …

5. They’re not really thirsty

They can wait till morning. They won’t die of dehydration waiting a few hours for breakfast.

6. Your wardrobe will change dramatically

You will start wearing cargo shorts. You will be mocked mercilessly for wearing cargo shorts. But you’ll continue to wear cargo shorts and not care. Why? Because you and your kids will end up filling every one of those pockets every time you go out.

7. Learn this phrase

“I’m sure you did an amazing job of setting the table/putting on your clothes/brushing your teeth/wiping yourself/cleaning up the paints/etc. You’re a big kid now, of course! I’m just double-checking that I didn’t forget anything.

8. Go either LEGO or Playmobil, not both

Pick one for the kids and stick with it. If you go Playmobil, you won’t have to step on sharp blocks barefoot in the middle of the night. You also won’t lose little specialized LEGO pieces when you need them only to find them months later in every possible crevice of your home. But you’d better have a ton of space to put all the giant Playmobil sets.

If you go LEGO, the kids will come up with some amazingly creative, uh … art, but you’re going to need to wear protective slippers around the house even in the summer. You’re also going to somehow end up spending $68 to buy one IUD-shaped piece that’s been fiendishly designed so it’s the most crucial component of Limited Edition Set No. 103120857.

If you don’t heed my advice and get both, welcome to living in a house-sized toy closet with the Danish version of punji sticks everywhere.

9. Beware once your boys realize they can pee standing up.

They’re going to want to pee on everything. Everything.

10. Memorize these answers. You will be quizzed on them nonstop for the next 5-10 years.

“Darth Vader would beat Kylo Ren in any situation.”

“Spider-Man and Batman wouldn’t fight, because they’re both good guys.”

“T. Rex would beat Spinosaurus on land, but Spinosaurus would beat T. Rex in and near the water.”

“Star Trek spaceships could probably beat Star Wars spaceships, but Star Wars is just more fun.”

“If you can build a home with a lava waterfall that doesn’t immediately fry everyone inside it, then, yes, you can have your next birthday party in it.”

“If Spider-Man or Batman had to fight because one of them drank a mind-control potion, then the one who is being mind-controlled would lose, because he’d be too distracted by his inner conflict.”

“You cannot watch ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ even if you wear grown-up shoes.”

“Disney World wouldn’t fit in our backyard because the castle would take up all the space and then there wouldn’t be anywhere for the characters to go potty. Yes, even if Pluto pees standing up.”

And for pretty much everything else: “Let’s just focus on finishing this, and then we can think about doing that when you’re ready.”

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