A fellow in the UK, Nick Crews, recently made some headlines by writing an email berating his adult children. You can read about it here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9686219/I-am-bitterly-bitterly-disappointed-retired-naval-officers-email-to-children-in-full.html
It occurred to me that he and I are of a similar age, we both have adult children, and I would also like to publish a letter to my children. I’ll use Nick Crews’ message as my model.
With this week’s crops of phone calls and emails with optimistic plans for the holidays, I feel it is time for me to squawk a little.
It is obvious that both of you are only dimly aware of the pleasure you bring to my life. I see the courageous efforts you make to develop relationships at the same time that you enhance your careers.
I sometimes hear about the struggles in other families, and I am glad that you give me interesting and positive stories to tell. I don’t ask for praise or envy—I have learned to downplay my pride. Having done my best—occasionally misguidedly—to provide for my children, I naturally hoped that you would become interesting and creative, and you have.
Fulfilling careers based on your educations might have made you more wealthy, but your musical talents bring you and your loved ones much more than money. They bring joy. Neither of you has a pension plan, but you work hard, you have developed networks of talented friends, and you learn something new every day.
I have watched you both develop creatively and intellectually. Your musical works are your “babies” and, like good parents, you are giving them lots of attention while they are young. You never needed my advice in any of this, but I’m glad you sometimes involve me anyway.
You have made many decisions in your lives without consulting your parents, and that is as it should be. I trust you to make the best decisions possible at any time, given the circumstances, and you have done that. They haven’t always been great choices, but you have always made the best of them.
If either or both of you manages to make money in the music industry, I will be both surprised and delighted. Given that this is a long shot, though, it is encouraging to know that you put in extra hours at various part-time paid and unpaid jobs to make ends meet, while at the same time maintaining and advancing your skills.
I hope that you will continue to involve me in your lives and allow me to share in your future happiness. If you think I have seen you through rose-coloured glasses, by all means try to dissuade me. You’ll have to come up with some good reasons to change my mind, though. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.
I am very, very proud