A Moving Open Letter To My 9-Year-Old Son 8 Years Before He Does His HSC Exams
Have you ever read a Moving Open Letter to a child on the Internet?
I love them so much. Especially the moving ones. Oh, how they make me cry. I just sob and sob for days after I've been moved by a moving piece.
It is without a doubt the absolute best way to communicate with your offspring. Whether you want to assure your son that he will always be your tiny little baby, or that you wish you weren't such a busy parent, or that he needs to remember the importance of family on the eve of his wedding, a Moving Open Letter (MOL) is the only way to go.
So as the school year prepares to wrap up and legions of Year 12's have begun to face the stress of their final exams (the HSCs in NSW), it seems only natural -- and perhaps necessary -- to write a Moving Open Letter to my own son.
Now, my oldest son is nine, so he isn’t quite ready for his HSC exams.
But he will be one day!
(If I don’t send him to boarding school in Sweden, which remains a very real and imminent possibility.)
And I don't think he'd be able to get through the difficult ordeal with a Moving Open Letter from me. The letter will have more impact if he waits the full eight years to read it, so don’t tell him about it, for God’s sake.
I’m putting that in quotes because calling you “mate” implies a sense of equality even though I’ve made it extremely clear that I have all the power in this relationship. As I’ve been explaining to you since you were two years old, I’m your father and I’m in charge. Me.
I am also starting with “mate” because sometimes I forget your actual name. That’s my fault. I’ll take the “L” on that one. But that shouldn’t make my overall message any less moving and inspiring.
So get ready, because you’re about to enter the most important time of your life -- the HSC exams.
Indeed, if you’re not in Sweden, these exams will shape everything that comes after them. But don't stress out too much! It's not the end of the world if things don't work out exactly as you plan for them to. What's important is that you work hard, but also leave some time for having fun.
I assume you’ve been working hard to prepare, spending hours toiling away in your room, which I hope we’ve converted into a gym by the time you read this. I've been wanting to have a gym in my home for a long time and it feels like this would be the right time.
Plus, I just love the idea of you trying to study in that gym, with all the weights banging and horrible techno covers of 70s power ballads blaring over the speakers. That requires real focus.
I want you to be proud of what you’ve achieved up to this point. You’ve learned to play the violin with your face, you’ve become a semi-pro jai alai player (?!) and you’ve won several eating competitions. Good work! I’m so proud of you.
And as stressful as this exam time may be, I am positive you will pass with flying colours. I am also positive that things will only get worse from here, stress-wise, so please enjoy this particular level of stress.
I mean, if you think this is stressful, wait until we tell you that you won’t be going to uni. That is going to be very stressful for you. I do not want to see the look on your face when we tell you we blew all your education money on converting your room into a gym. We also bought a wine fridge.
But even if you don’t go to uni and you don’t like my wine fridge, please understand that you’re wrong about the wine fridge. It’s great. But also this isn’t the end of the world.
You will go on to have a great career, no matter what you do. Well, you should probably take some kind of course. A cheap one. Something practical having to do with computers, I’d imagine. I don’t know.
The point is that you’ll work all of this out on your own. Me? I will be drinking wine. You see, whether we like it or not, this is where we're all headed: drinking wine in a converted bedroom gym. A lot of people don't know this, but sometimes the best way to juice a workout is with a bold red. Something peppery.
Wait, where was I? Oh! Your last days of school. Yes that’s important. I understand there are certain rituals that go along with graduating high school. Well, I would prefer if you did not participate in any of them. I didn’t buy $34,000 worth of gym equipment and wine to watch you create important, cherishable memories with people who may or may not be your friends in five years.
Just take a look around you. How many of these people would you talk to if you didn’t see them every day? Four? Three? Try zero.
I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that I hate your friends. There I said it. I don’t care if your mother hears me. It’s the truth. The way they walk around, thinking they’re so smart... Do they have a wine fridge?! Do they even know what a power tower dip bar is?!
Anyway I’m really happy for you. You've achieved so much and I've bought so much wine. I'll never forget some of that wine.