As the world of adults tailspins around you, you look up at me and you laugh. You do not know the pain that so many are feeling today; you only know the happiness of exploring your new world, the world we will one day hand to you. You cannot know the peace that your smile gives your mother and me.
When we found out you were coming to us, my greatest fear was that you would inherit a world where the failures of those who came before you completely obscure your vision of the things that make you happy. A changing climate was among the highest fears that I had at that time. What would the world look like, I wondered, if we don’t correct the course we are on? Would the beauty of the world that I long to show you be fleeting, retreating just over the horizon as you march forth to capture it?
That was then. And now, in a year that has seen so many hardships piled upon each other, I find myself again wondering about the world you will have one day. Surely, I hope, the great struggles our generation face today, will ultimately be resolved and there will be a more beautiful tomorrow for you. And yet, with everything that is happening today, I find my own vision obfuscated.
One day, I can only pray, you will live in a country where you can stand beside your brothers and sisters with different skin colors and different religions, unafraid of the forces that their parents are fighting so hard to overcome. One day, perhaps, we will be led by great men and women who find the people with the voices least heard today, and lift them up. You were born in a time where these things are not so certain.
What I know is that I will do everything I can to shelter you from the worst of it, but educate you on the truth behind it. If I am able, I will ensure that you will grow up to incorporate certain ideals that I feel all people should have today: respect for all of our neighbors, a rejection of hate in all forms, a calm temperament under enormous adversity, a knack for solving problems instead of escalating them, and most of all, the ability to reach the downtrodden and bring them back into the light of a new day.
With God willing, you shall have a childhood that I want you to, under no uncertain terms, also feel that all children should have.
The time in which you were born and into your first year was among the most challenging times this nation has ever faced. You won’t remember it, but we wore masks and had to stay inside to avoid a horrible disease. While you played with your toys, we washed our hands vigorously and sprayed our homemade masks with disinfectant. Outside, when the Sun brightened everything, people stood united in fear and bravery against the evil of brutality of men sworn to protect us. Leadership during this time was absent from the top of our government, but it thrived in the good people who risked everything by putting out their hand to help others.
I want you to know that you will face struggles of your own in your life. You will one day likely come to grips with the same fear that we had – should I bring another life into this world? What kind of world will my child inherit? When that time comes, Declan, know that even in the height of the troubles affecting the world, your mother and I never regretted for a moment our decision to have you.
You are our hope for the future. Your innocent smile, your laughter, and your sense of adventure are all qualities that others in your generation shall have. I know this because even as imperfect as my generation is, we all want that for you. One day, when your unique fears attack everything you hold dear, remember that your parents had you in a time when fear was everywhere around us.
And we never for one moment regretted our decision.