Dear Tage, Tagey, Tager Tot, Buddy, Dude, Best Buddy…
I just wanted to write to share with you what an impact you have made on me. From the instant Molly told me, on July 3rd that she might be pregnant, my life started to change for the better. I remember exactly where I was. We were lying in bed on vacation in Boca Raton, Florida. Apparently, your mother and I decided that it was a good idea to go and hang out with the old people down there. As you got older, you would come to find out that we really do love hanging out with old people, and they are some of the most wise and tender people alive with so much wisdom. We just picked the wrong place to do it this week. We decided to change our flights and come home a couple of days early. This allowed us to be at home on mommy’s birthday on the 6th when she took the pregnancy test to confirm. That was her BEST birthday present.
We spent the next 2 months getting your room put together and to get most of everything we needed taken care of because you would have learned that I like to be efficient, organized and get the hard things done first.
I want you to know not only the enormous impact you have had on my life, but how much I wanted to get to know you and for you to get to know your daddy. I have been working on getting my PHD in you. I have studied you from the day you were born and even though you were with us just less than 8 months, I got to know you pretty well. I have wanted to be a father that wouldtake interest in you, to play with you, to truly get to know you. There have been two men who have stepped in and shown me exactly that; what it is like to be truly loved, to make me better, to show me how to live well and with good character, to play and watch games and sports, to do better in business and to love well (not only your mommy, but you and others as well). One of them is actually up there in heaven with you and I would guess that he has already found you. His name is Uncle Calvin. If not, look for him! He will show you the best time! And the other is Greg, who you already know as Gee. You might go ahead and get a road bike and start cycling, as he will want to do this with you once he gets there.
I wanted sooo much to be able to do all this with you and to be the best father I could be to you, that I was probably going to smother you with love. But I was going to be totally okay with it.
My favorite thing to sing to you was “We’ll always be best buddies,” and I believe that we would have been, even though I would have encouraged you to have good friends of your own and be a good friend to others. But you would have had NO doubt that I have and always will love you so much. So much that it hurts to know that we won’t have all those experiences that I was longing for with you. We determined after much deliberation that your mommy would have her dreams come true and stay home from work to be with you. And I needed to go to work and work hard to show you how to be a good responsible husband and father. But when I got home and on weekends, I was all about you.
If you were still here, you would one day come to know that every Saturday morning, while mommy slept in from caring for you during the week, you and I went to breakfast together. Most of the time, we went to Brunchies and the wait staff looked forward to seeing you because you have always been so beautiful and peaceful sleeping in my arms. Even though they knew it was coming, they will be sad this Saturday when you aren’t with me. And on Michigan game days, we would watch the games together. Michigan has always been my favorite team, and I was looking forward to sharing these experiences with you.
Well, just so you know, these memories will always have a special place in my heart and I will continue to do these the best I can while thinking of you.
There isn’t a sport that I don’t love playing or watching. And I imagined teaching you how to play all these well by working hard and playing honestly. The major question I was working through in my mind was whether to be like me and play them all, or to focus on one and become great at that. What happened to the days where all around athletes were a valuable commodity?
Your mother would agree that I would have taught you about finances, because it is a valuable lesson that needs to be learned at an early age. I was working hard so that by your 3rd birthday, we would be out of debt so I could be prepared to help you financially in any way that I could. And you would have probably started learning about finances around your 3rd birthday also. No, really.
And though I truly would have been great with you choosing your own direction in life, I would have been secretly hoping that I would build a business that I could groom you to run one day. But no matter what you would have chosen, I was going to teach you how to work smart and hard, be a man of solid and humble character, and help people along the way.
You would have come to know that I have always been and will always be an entrepreneur. Even though I love my job, which I believe is rare these days, I still like to dabble in other opportunities for fun and would have taught you the values of having a job to make a living and a business to make a fortune, the parable of the sower, the value of hard work and the power of giving. And to show you that the best cure for selfishness is to give. If you are selfish in your money, it’s a powerful thing to learn to give of your money. If you are selfish in your time, the best gift you can give yourself is to learn to give others your time. You would be surprised to find that giving is the best way to receive.
I would have humbly taught you that the area I am weakest in is that I have the tendency to choose my career over spending time building solid friendships. But knowing that I am going to continue to push myself to be a better person and to teach youfrom afar, I am going to make this a high priority as well so I can show you how to love others well and allow others to love you too. This way, you can make all kinds of friends in heaven. And I will be excited for you to show me around and I can’t wait to meet all your friends and get to know them.
If you have been watching me from heaven, you already know how much I think about you and have continued to be a father to you in the last couple of days. Just because you aren’t here, doesn’t mean that I am going to stop thinking about you or raising you up in the ways you should go.
On Monday night, we attempted to walk through the mall and watch a movie. Of course, the movie made me think all about you. So when we were walking out and walked past a kids clothing store with the sound of the Christmas music resounding throughout the mall, I started thinking about playing with you out in the snow and totally lost it. Just so you know, this will never change from a selfish perspective. I will continue to have thoughts of what all we could have done together. But I have learned through this process that God trusted your mommy and me with you. And that now it’s our turn to trust God with you.
And most importantly, I was going to make sure I did the best I could to raise you a Godly man. A man of strength, character, a man after God’s own heart. But now you will know this better than me. So please keep an eye on your old man and help me to learn the lessons you are learning from above so I can be the best daddy you could ever have.
I learned so much about myself and have grown so much since you were born. And then once we found out you were sick, my learning went in overdrive. Not only in accelerating my PHD in you, but also about life values. I quickly learned a totally different perspective about life in that last month and a half. All of a sudden, silly things that I have held onto and allowed to bother me, seemed to disappear, and I have a new perspective on what matters to me.
Tage, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life was to take you off of life support. Once it became certain that life on this side of heaven wasn’t going to be possible without machines, we had to make the best decision for you. Selfishly, I wanted to keep you around as long as we could. But I hope you know that I have always made the decisions that were best for you. I need you to know this and trust me in this. And for this, your mommy and I will always hurt and be saddened and long to come see, smell, touch and hold you. But we trust that you have an awesome life ahead of you. An eternal life that is way more fulfilling than here. And we long to come see you again. And we will. Trust me!
I will love you forever. We’ll always be best buddies!