BERRY: An open letter to my daughters

I got a new job last spring, which turned my three-minute commute into 30 minutes.
Jan 2, 2014

 

I didn't mind an extra half-hour's worth of driving each way when the air was warm, the roads were dry and it was daylight in the mornings — but now that the roads are icy, slushy or snowy, and the visibility is limited because of snow or drizzle, my half-hour commute can turn into a solid hour or more.

With my hands clenched firmly on my steering wheel, following behind the dim glow of tractor-trailer taillights ahead of me at 35 mph, I have plenty of time alone to think. I wonder what would happen if I were to die in a horrific crash, or if I were to get into a mild crash and freeze to death wandering down the side of the highway. I wonder if my family would truly know how I feel about them.

Upon arrival at home after an intense swerving carnival ride one evening, I brushed the snow from my shoulders, kicked off my shoes and told my wife, Amy, that I'm going to get a life insurance policy. I also said that I'm going to write down how I feel about my children and. if I die, they can read it and know how proud I am of them.

That evening, while shoveling snow off my driveway, I thought, "Why should I wait until I'm dead to express how I feel about my family?" That's when I came up with the idea for this column. Not only would I write down my feelings about my daughters and reveal it to them, I'd share it with my whole community.

Natalie (nickname "Nan") is 28 and I refer to her as my oldest daughter: Natalie, you are smart, perky and sensitive. You can liven up any conversation and not be either pretentious or ditzy. I appreciate how you always strive for fun. You can eek fun out of any situation, and you seldom seem to take life or yourself too seriously. I admire how you never dabble in anything. When you decide to do something, you jump in wholeheartedly. I think you made a great choice of a husband and I am proud of the job you are doing as a mother. Of all of my children, I vote you the most likely to take care of me when I'm old. I love you more than I can say; and if the truth be told, Natalie, you are my favorite.  

Hillary (no nickname) is 24, and I refer to her as my No. 2 daughter: Hillary, you are strong, determined and outspoken. I can always count on you to give me an honest, forthright opinion without worrying about my feelings. Sometimes I need that. Thanks. I admire your single-minded focus on your life's goal of becoming a physician's assistant. This has been a long program for you with an otherworldly amount of studying and sacrifice. You've watched your counterparts graduate from college, establish their careers and start families while you've continued to pursue your dream. I know how badly you want to start your career and family, so I applaud your ability to delay gratification and to push those things aside for the hope of a greater future. I approve of your life's choices and in the choice you've made in a boyfriend. Of all my children, I vote you the most likely to be a millionaire. I love you more than I can say; and if the truth be known, Hillary, you are my favorite.

Evien (nickname "Evbo") is 9, and I refer to her as my No. 3 daughter: Evien, you are passionate, creative and kind. I love to watch you with the animals at the petting zoo. You seem to have a special bond with the creatures of the Earth. I admire your writing ability, and the ability you have of developing a story and patiently seeing it through to completion. You can write stories, make up games and create movies on the computer just for fun. I love it when you get lost in an idea and can't stop talking about it until you are able to put it on paper. I am also impressed by your love of reading. You consume books as if they were food — something you cannot live without. I think you are a great student, and you are so much fun to play games with. Of all of my children, I vote you the most likely to be famous. I love you more than I can say; and if the truth be known, Evien, you are my favorite.

Maggie (nickname "Mags") is 7, and I refer to her as my youngest: Maggie, you are loving, spontaneous and fun. I can always count on you to greet me with a hug when I get home from work. There are no words to describe how special that makes me feel. I love it when you snuggle real close to me when we watch movies. There is a place deep in my heart set aside for you because we share a love of music. To hear you sing long passages from songs and to watch you dance without caring who sees fills me with joy. I admire how quickly you make friends and how much you enjoy people. You love me when I'm up, you love me when I'm down, you love me when I'm happy, and you love me when I'm crabby. Everyone should have a Maggie in their life. Of all my children, I vote you the most likely to never be lonely. I love you more than I can say; and if the truth be known, Maggie, you are my favorite.

That is my letter to my daughters in the fortunate event that I live. Certainly, each of my children have negative qualities, but I choose not to dwell on the things that they inherited from their mothers. 

I love my children equally and uniquely, and I hope they know it. My goal is to make each of my daughters feel like they are my favorite. 

— By Grant Berry, Tribune community columnist

Comments

Lanivan

This is the nicest thing I've read in quite a while. Grant - you seem like a wonderful father, and I'm sure your delightful, very pretty, smart, and individualistic daughters would each declare, separately - you are their favorite father!

Hope you and your family continue into 2014 with happiness, laughs, and love, and safe travels out there.

my2cents

It was a beautiful letter to his daughters UNTIL he slammed their mothers. Shame on him for publicly disgracing the women who GAVE him the gift of being called Dad!

Tri-cities realist

Oh my, lighten up already! If you were familiar with his columns, you would realize that Mr. Berry has a sense of humor, something you apparently lack.

watchingyou

Wow 2 cents, loosen up the rectal muscles and let one squeak out. You will feel much better and probably (hopefully) be a lot less retentive. It was a beautiful article. I pray that you find a little humor in life and someday figure out how to laugh at things. Now head to your restroom, sit down with a magazine, relax and just let it all out. It might take a while, it will be worth it.

Lanivan

Whoa watchingyou! I can only imagine the fun, not to mention relief, you had writing this. All better now??

watchingyou

No Lani, I am still irritated. I would hate to be so bitter and uptight that I could find no humor in life. It would be like a beached Catfish just making noise and sucking air while waiting to die. She/He should keep their 2cents, it's not worth it.

Lanivan

I agree. Laughter is truly the best medicine - My motto: We can be too serious, but never too silly. But don't succumb to the same malady as that which irritates you (and me)!

truthhurts

i get irritated with with people like you that want to give every piece of crap loser a hug, please feel free to keep comments to yourself as well.

watchingyou

And who was that directed towards? I think you need a hug. Lani, give truthhurts a hug. Maybe a group hug would be better. ((( )))

Lanivan

There you go again, watchingyou - funny as ever! Imagine me giving truthhurts a hug....oh,.... what the heck - we can never be too silly, right?

Here goes, truthibaby - (((( ))))

watchingyou

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

Lanivan

Uh-oh - it's been 2 1/2 hours and still no response from truthhurts. Maybe you CAN be too silly......;-D

watchingyou

He needed more than a magazine.

LessThanAmused

He comes in, makes a ridiculous comment and then he's gone again. That's his modus operandi. He's an anal retentive sniper. I smiled as I typed that too, if that make a difference.

watchingyou

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

LessThanAmused

Hopefully he's reading War & Peace and we'll have a bit more peace and quiet.
I used to get a chuckle out of him too, but after 2 or 3 rounds I discovered that he's a Vlad clone and only repeats the same talking points over and over and over and over........
I guess original thoughts are tough for those kind of folks. If they'd just been held back in 3rd grade things might have worked out differently.

watchingyou

I call bull, okay maybe slightly obscene, but you have let much worse than that stay on here. You are infringing on my rights! Actually I don't really care, I don't cry about these things.

watchingyou

I guess we can be too silly Lani.

my2cents

My mistake. I thought this was a forum for commenting on the articles written in the Tribune. Also, if watchingyou has a bowel fetish, I wish he would get some help or keep it to himself. His comments are disgusting and juvenile. The rest of you "regulars" jumped right on the bandwagon too, instead of defending one's right to post an opinion.I wish the Tribune would monitor this forum or get rid of it. Maybe you regulars could start your own "bashing forum" and leave this forum to those who want to use it for its intended purpose.

watchingyou

As I said, Lighten up. I don't have a bowel fetish, just thought that others had issues with there's and was offering up support. Disgusting and Juvenile, probably. I in fact won't disagree with you. I use this forum to speak my mind about both the articles and the comment's. I am sorry that I do it in a way that you disagree with. Obviously by your first comment, you and I do not see eye to eye and probably never will. In fact you won't see eye to eye with many of the regular's either.

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.