A Father’s Wisdom to the Children I May Never Have


I actually wrote the first draft of this over the course of several weeks before Mother’s Day, but so that my mom and every other mom could get the maximum enjoyment of their well-deserved day, I waited to post it until now.

With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, I shouldn’t have been surprised by how often I’ve been overcome by depression this week. I’ve actually found myself curled up and crying at least a dozen times a day, but rarely for more than a minute, which is a blessing. For some strange reason, it took until this evening before we realized why: Father’s Day is this Sunday. I’d like to offer fathers the same courtesy I did mothers a month ago, but this holiday is so hard on me that I just can’t put this off any longer.


If you read my post “What is a Poem?“, you may remember the most personal poem I have ever written:

longing
fatherhood
despair

That succinctly sums up one of the primary causes of my depression (the other is the inevitable result of finally realizing just how badly crippled I was by the crash).

So as usual, I’m struggling to stave off the depression that always arises with the approach of Mother’s or Father’s Day. My mom is certainly worth any effort to recognize her accomplishments after raising the four of us to be mostly-responsible adults, but the melancholy that always settles in at this time of year makes it hard to be happy – especially since Mother’s Day arrives two weeks after my birthday, reminding me that I’m yet another year older but we still don’t have any children.

Ironically, it’s not quite as bad as in previous years partly because I’m so busy designing games, but mainly because I have finally accepted the fact that we will never be parents, despite how desperately we both want to be. There is, of course, an obvious solution: find another wife. But when faced with the choice of her or our children that didn’t yet exist, my decision was never in doubt: I will always choose my imzadi, my amnchara.

Contrary to my usual shyness, I have always loved reading aloud to people, so I have looked forward to telling bedtime stories. Now I will instead be recording myself reading a selection of children’s books, and making them available on YouTube.

In 42 years of life I have learned a lot that I had planned to pass along to our kids – I even daydream about teaching Caroline Mae Wilcox (named after our mothers) and Robert Nathan Wilcox (named after three people) various things. Those daydreams are nearly always followed by a bout of depression, but are wonderful while they’re happening.

The memory loss from the traumatic brain injury I suffered in the crash nearly 21 years ago adds a sense of urgency to my desire to record my fatherly wisdom, so I am writing a series of letters to Caroline, Robert, and every other child, no matter their age. But those are posts for another day.

In running our game store for three years and the WNC Pokémon League for an additional 11 years we have had a hand in raising in dozens of other people’s kids, and will continue to for as long as we are able. That is a small compensation, but it’s enough most of the time. I’ve said several times over the years that we have raised a lot of kids for a couple with no children. One of them proved it when she surprised Lura with a Mother’s Day gift this year. She cried. I still have very mixed feelings about it. Maybe once Father’s Day has passed I’ll finally be able to sift through those feelings.

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