Dear Abigail and Olivia,
Maybe one day, you’ll both be lucky enough to have children, and you’ll understand the love, and joy, and pride of parenting.
Maybe you’ll also know what it’s like to be a hero in your children’s eyes. Right now, you think your dad can do anything – fix any problem – and that makes me want to do big, heroic things for you every day. It makes me a better person, and I hope you get to feel that way too.
But will you always think of me as a hero? My generation is doing so many awful things – poisoning your air and water, ignoring climate change, and leaving you to grow up in a dangerous, unpredictable world. Will you end up thinking of us as heroes or villains?
I’m ashamed to say that we…and I…might fail you. I don’t want to fail you – it makes me sick even thinking about it – but it’s hard to do big things, especially when each day presents a million little problems. It’s easier to concentrate on the stuff we know we can control. But that’s not good enough, is it?
How will you explain all of this to your children? What stories will you tell them about our generation? Will we be heroes or villains?
I promise you this: years from now, when you tell your children about their grandfather, you’ll be able to say that he fought every day for them to have a safer, cleaner, healthier world. I may not win every day…but I’ll try. I’ll try every day, I promise. And when I think about it, that’s obviously the best gift that I could ever give the two of you…because it’s all I’d ever want for my children.
I will love you always.