Dear Brayden


(Today my oldest son starts his first day of band. Below is the letter I will slip in his trombone case.)

Dear Brayden,

Your mother writes you a note in your lunchbox every day telling you how much she loves you, so it only seems fitting that I do the same in your “band box."

You cannot know how happy I am to see you so excited about band. The journey that begins today will teach you things, take you places, and provide experiences that you cannot possibly imagine.  At your young age, you cannot understand this, but the trajectory of your life will forever be changed because of this decision.
You left the house today full of energy and excitement with your backpack and trombone. Yes, getting out of the car proved to require a little more coordination than in days past, but you navigated it well, with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step; however, I know that days such as these are numbered.

I suspect that in the months and years to come you and I will battle over band. I am sure that at some point you will ask, beg, and even demand to quit. I know that my insistence that you stay will be met with fierce resistance and sometimes tears of anger. I reluctantly accept that as a part of these discussions you will say some things to me that you will regret later. It’s okay, I know you will not mean it. Don’t blame your mother, this is my fight.

Just so you know, I will stand firm and not yield. I will wear your joy and your anger as badges of honor. I will not back down because unlike other parental choices I have had to make, in this I know I am right. There are few certainties in parenting and I believe this is one of them. You will one day thank me for this.

I do this because I love you and want what is best for you. And, when you do the same with your children, I will save this letter to put in your child’s instrument case on his first day of band. This will be our father/son tradition.
You're my buddy and I love you, no matter what forever!


p.s.  Just so we are clear: NO, you may not switch to saxophone. Trust me, when you get to high school, the trombones are way more fun!