With friends like these, 4


December 15, 2008 by 8junebugs

Dear Miss LJ:
You’re not technically among us yet, but I don’t really think it will take you long to learn that your dad is pretty special. Seriously. He has an effect on people — they love him fiercely, and I don’t know if they ever really know why.

I’ve had some time to think about it, though, LJ. Your dad and I were roommates in college and that was quite a while ago. Because he’s pretty awesome and I have a history of falling in love with awesome men who live just down the hall, everyone seemed to think it was only a matter of time until we were romantically involved.

Now, your dad is, by all accounts, a very loving person and a pretty great partner. And he’s very handsome. To each other, though, I think we became That Friend at just the right time, and we bypassed all the mushy stuff.

Thank god for that, too, because I really like your mom —  she is very smart and very cool, and she looks at your dad the way people who marry my friends had damn well better look at them in order for me to approve.

And only the two of them could make you, so I think we can all agree it turned out for the best.

So, back to your dad. You’re going to learn a lot from him — including, I have no doubt, how to throw a spiral pass that can pick a squirrel off a branch from 30 yards — but let me tell you what I hope trickles down through those genes:

  1. Care and compassion. Your dad’s pretty aware that most people get themselves into jams, rather than “find” themselves in them, but he doesn’t much care. I’ve been stuck in some boneheaded places over the years, and he’s just hugged me, flipped on the Simpsons, and shared a pizza.
  2. Fun. I don’t know what society and the economy will be like when you grow up, LJ, but I hope y0u’re able to find the fun in card games and bleacher seats. Neither of us had any money to speak of, but I remember that summer as one of the most fun of my life. I learned a lot from your dad about having a good time…and a LOT about the Orioles.
  3. Courage in your convictions. For such an easygoing guy, your dad’s got some pretty strong political views, and he’s more committed to personal freedom than a tall white guy of my generation is required to be. I’ve seen him argue patiently and politely with people I would have hit with my shoe and he never, ever calls into question the other person’s intelligence or the honor of his or her mother. It’s inspiring.
  4. Curiosity and openness to trying new stuff. I don’t think your dad is afraid to try anything, LJ — at least, I’ve never seen evidence of it. What’s more, I don’t think he’s afraid to fail. If I have a sunny, positive outlook, it’s due in no small part to his influence, his “What’s the worst that can happen?” approach, his lack of fear.
  5. Hugging and general affection. I think you can get this from both of your parents, LJ. They’re both awesome huggers, and there isn’t much in this world as valuable as a good hug from a great friend.

While we’re on the subject of what you might get from either side, can I just offer my best wishes for your dancing skills? I really hope you get your mom’s rhythm, chica. Your dad and I learned salsa together, and bachata, and I’m willing to bet your mama’s the dancer in the family.

I can’t wait to meet you, little girl. One thing that stood out about your dad from early on was that he had a way with kids and was clearly going to be a great father. You’re going to have a hard time bringing boys home to meet him someday, but only because he’s set the bar really, really high.

And? He’s going to dig a moat so they can’t get in.



2 thoughts on “With friends like these, 4

  1. Becky Jukkala says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks so much for the first open letter to my new granddaughter L-J and the great tribute to her wonderful parents. This brought tears to my eyes, as my son does possess every quality you talked about and her mother is ABSOLUTLEY wonderful! I will save and treasure this letter for always! We can’t wait to meet you precious baby L-J!!!

    Thank you,
    Grandma J

  2. 8junebugs says:

    My pleasure, Ms. Grandma J. Crossing my fingers for an uneventful birth and a joyful new year for all of them…

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