The salad spinner on our bottom shelf in the kitchen is one of your favorite possessions. Your mother and I purposefully leave it accessible. You don’t particularly care for salad, or any leafy green for that matter, but you giggle so much when that spinner goes around. We just played with it for 20 minutes on the kitchen floor and you laughed every time we pushed it down and the bowl shook. We used our hands, then our foreheads, to send the inner plastic bowl spinning and you almost fell over laughing at Daddah using his head to bop the bowl. You love things in motion and you also love the sight of your father pretending to get hurt, so this game made for many giggles. After an afternoon of fun, it is time to transition.
I just put you down for your afternoon nap and as I write this I’m thinking about our friendship. We’ve become incredibly close over these last 13 months. When you wake up you call out for “Daddah.” When you see me walking in front of you down South Street in Philadelphia, you exclaim “Daddah!” and reach out for a hug, a tickle, or just to let me know you are there. Just today, when we finished our picnic lunch in Schuylkill river park, you stood up, said “Daddah” and gave me a hug. I treasure everyday we spend together. You need me and I need you. I love you Felix.
When you read this, the days of salad spinners and nap times will most likely have come to an end. You may be making your own lunches, preparing someone else’s, and taking care of your own family. Honestly, you probably won’t remember those days as fondly as they have shaped us both as father and son, but I will forever cherish those days when our environment allowed us to enjoy our life together as we wished.
You made me a father and perhaps without even recognizing it, you have provided me with unspeakable amounts of joy. I look forward to our many, many, more daily giggles and I look forward to a future where you can giggle with your own child(ren)/grandchild(ren).
I type this letter now as I grapple with the idea that your past, your present, and much of your future will be shaped by a phenomenon that resonates deeply with me and many others. So deeply in fact that I am currently collaborating with another father who cares very deeply about our future and how we leave it under your care.
Climate change and its outcomes are a global issue, but the factors contributing to it can be addressed, at least in a small part, locally. I’m working on a start-up that looks at how fathers can be, and in fact are, a critical stakeholder in regards to climate. This population represents a large part of how climate is viewed, communicated, and ultimately, preserved for the children of today.
I want you to know that your mother and I are doing more than just simply composting, using renewable energy, and shopping with reusable bags. These are all great environmental strategies, but there is something more that we can do. Something that, in my opinion, will have a far greater reach than these actions.
All dads, just as your mother and I are doing, can cultivate a sustainability ethic in you and allow you to harness and reinforce that passion as you live your life. I’m not sure if the start-up Ben and I are working on, climatedads.org, will be around when you read this. Just know, it’s one of the many actionable steps I took to prepare a better climate and world for you, for your life, for everyone.
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m working smart for you. Many of us are. Many of us know what we do now has the power to set in motion solutions that benefit you. As one push of a button can set a spinner in motion, so too can the actions of one in creating a world that allows you to thrive, to giggle, to love.
To a joyful life filled with opportunities, compassion, and giggles.