I was looking through a drawer for a picture, and I came across this letter my father wrote me in October, 1987. It was during my senior year of high school, and I was about to go on senior retreat. It was a three-day spiritual retreat, and we spent time reflecting on God’s presence in our lives. Unbeknownst to the thirty girls going on this retreat, they asked our parents to write us letters. In the evening of the first day, after some reflection, they gave us the letters. Here is what my dad wrote:
One of your teachers called and asked me and mom to write you a letter to be given to you while you are on retreat. I’ll try– it’s hard for me to express my feelings for you, I’ll try if you excuse my gramer and spelling. Since it is not one of the things I do very well.
You have been a very important part of my life now for quite awhile. You smiled since the day you were born, and have brought a very special joy into my life. Cheryl, you have a lot going for you. You have a pretty good outlook on life. It’s hard, as you are finding out, but don’t give up EVER! You have to learn to let things bounce off you. When you learn that, you will let your temper stay on the back burner. Because Dear– You do have that D__k temper!
There are so many things I would like for you. But!! I do the best I can. Just as you are doing. I am proud of you and the way you handle yourself. I know you will be alright in your life and whatever you chose to do as a profession. Someday, you will write your book. All I can say to you is “Write your book!” You may be 50 or 60 when you write it, but I know it will be a winner. You have feelings– good ones, too– someday, take all your feelings and experience and put it on paper. One page at a time– one day at a time.
I have watched you through all the different stages of your life and you have done very good to excellent throughout. You have a knack of learning, taking hold, and doing what you have to. That I think, is very important.
I know you will do good at anything you decide to do with your life. Be it a mother, nun, business women, or whatever. “You can work with me anytime you want!” I love you very much and only want the best for you. I also have faith in you, and I will always be there if you need me.
Well How is retreat? Hope you get something good out of it. God is an important part of life. I try to keep him with me everyday. I try not to hurt anybody in anyway. I also try to keep away from people that upset me or try to hurt me or others in anyway. I hope you will do the same. We don’t need losers– we need to be around winners. Don’t you agree?
Someday you will meet this nice guy and get married. “Then I will lose my beautiful little girl.” Just make sure he loves you as much as you love him–That I found is very important. I can’t wait to meet him. I know I’ll like him. I hope he likes to work with wood.– if not– so what!
You are a good and beautiful person. Your mom and I are very proud of you. All we want is for you to have a happy life. May God bless you and watch over you forever.
Love you always, Dad
P.S. I wrote this Sunday– and here it is already Tuesday. Tomorrow you will go on your retreat. Mom is in no condition to write you a letter, too. I am sure she would and will when she is better. You have to forgive her, she is too weak to fight her problem. Give her a chance and I guess we will all have to be patient with her. Say some prayer for her. Love, Dad