This letter is an assignment my then, 18-year-old son’s teacher had given parents when he was a Senior in High School. My husband, his father, passed away in June of that same year. My son is now 21 and a Junior in College. He handed me a sealed envelope one night and let me know it had to be returned the following morning. As typical teenager does, he had been given the envelope a week prior. I knew this was going to be emotional and I would have to dig deep. But this was the outcome. I know you will not get the meaning of some of the “family lingo stuff,” but you will get the gist of it.
(I apologize in advance for the length)
November 7, 2015
As you are going to begin reading Hamlet by William Shakespeare in your AP English class starting the 9th. In the play, the father offers advice to his son who is about to leave home for France. The father gave his son advice as he prepares to leave for the next part of his life’s journey. This is what your Dad and I have done your whole life. Prepare you for life as you got older and to continue to carry on in life.
Now you are older, and the time is almost upon us that you will be leaving home for college and taking that next step towards the rest of your life as an adult. Which is incredibly painful yet makes us so proud at the same time.
I believe we taught you many lessons over the last 18 years. One of which I have always told you, “You are only as good as your five closest friends so choose wisely.” In my own life I have done this. And for the most part I have chosen wisely. As you know many of my friendships are from 10-27 years long to date. I have also learned and would pass on to you, that relationships will not always stay the same. Some friends may change and go down different paths in life that are not a life you would choose for yourself. They may choose a destructive way of life. You may have to cut ties with those friends at some point. It is ok, you can always love them, it just has to be from afar.
You know exactly what your Dad would put in this letter to you. “Always remember the 3 C’s =College, Credit and Condoms.” Hahahaha!! Also, he would always teach you to respect women. Never get in a woman’s purse. Always walk a woman out to her car especially if it is dark outside. Be a gentleman. Open her car door. And he would say “succeed farther in life than your Mom or I have done. We want more for you than we had with more opportunities than we had growing up.”
Since you were 7 years old you have known the life you wanted. And you have always worked towards that ever since. Who does that at 7 years old??!! YOU, that’s who.
A great lesson would be to NEVER take anyone for granted. Especially your family and loved ones or you will so very painfully regret it when that person is gone. As you know this is an excruciating lesson I learned this summer. I will never make that mistake again. And I wouldn’t wish that feeling on you for anything else in this world.
Communicate more Jay. You have issues with this. Communication not only helps with your personal relationships, but also in business. Great communication skills are a valuable asset. One you should always have. And if you communicate well, then there is no room for misunderstanding.
My Jayboi, you are one of a kind. But remember not everyone is like you or have the same goals. Sometimes you tend to have expectations that can’t be met. People make mistakes. Mistakes are stepping stones to greatness as long as that person can pick themselves up keep trying and trying again without giving up. It’s when they give up or never try at all that separates them from you. So, have compassion. For example, your brother. He is a totally different child than you are. Still an amazingly talented and smart child, just in a different way than you. For a long time, you would get frustrated with Jordan because you thought he should be just like you. But he is his own person. He isn’t you. But that doesn’t make him any less than you. Yes, he needs more discipline. But unfortunately, it now falls on you to help me to teach him all the things Dad and I taught you. But don’t expect him to be the same. That is just an example of the top of my head. Treat anyone who is a good human being with the utmost respect. Smile more as you walk by people. It goes a long way. It can make someone’s day as well as your own as you see how good it can make someone feel.
Take the time to always pay your blessings forward, make someone’s day. Just as you did this season for JR, the little boy with special needs. That is the heart you have. Don’t let the world change it. Your heart Jay has the capacity to love and forgive easily. Never lose that. In your personal life and business life, you will go through frustrations, hurt or even anger. Don’t let it harden your heart. The hurt or pain just means you can feel. And it is so much better to feel than to just not care about anything.
The MOST IMPORTANT of all, is the sign in the kitchen Dad wrote out and taped on the wall.
Family is everything Jayboi. We have a very, very large family, but it is important to always keep those family traditions alive (also make new ones of your own) and make sure each one of your family members know just how much you love them. Family is there through the best of times and they are there in the worst of times. Our family is so very much about being there for one another. They are your roots. They are my roots. Ask them questions about life. Ask them where your ancestors are from. On Papa’s side, what part of Mexico etc.… There was not a lot that I even thought about asking or even wanting to know until I was in my 30’s that I wish I had sooner. Build your family with the best attributes our family has done.
If your Dad and I had one more important thing to say, it would be to always be there for your brother even though with the 5year age difference, he seems to just bug you now, but you will be closer in another year or two. He is the only brother and sibling you will ever have. And when I have gone home to be with Daddy, your brother and you will only have each other. Of course, you will eventually have your own families. But there is no one like your brother that will have the same memories.
My last bit of advice to you my grown baby boy, is that you ALWAYS live the best parts of your father. He was an extraordinary man. He gave to others when we had nothing. This family came above all else. He LIVED to make us happy always. He had a sense of humor that had everyone laughing till their stomachs hurt. He was a loyal friend, and the best father I have ever known in my life. And an amazing best friend. Take some time to have a bit of fun and unwind yourself a little. You have always been wound so tight with your focus, drive and determination, that you forget to laugh, joke, or have fun. Your Dad was the hardest worker, yet still acted like a dork around the house to keep us laughing. Be the kind of father he has shown you. Grammy use to say your Dad had the patience of Job. And he did.
We know you will do great things Jay David. There has never been a doubt in our minds or anyone else’s.
One last thing……… I think your Dad would sing the song he made up for you a little different now….
“Tadpole man, Tadpole man, you have now become a frog” ….
He is with you ALWAYS!!!! Never forget, if you have an issue, I know you have your faith, but talk to Dad. He will always guide you the right way as well,
We love you more than you could possible image Jayboi. And incredible proud of the man you have become and continue to be.
Love you so much!!!
Dad and Mom