To Dhyan: Year 5

Dear Dhyan,

As I write this post, it should be clear that I am now the father of two as it is the evening of Dec. 26th and this is getting done at the last minute.  Usually I’ve started writing these a couple weeks ahead of time as I always want to put some good thought into it and also because I’m just excited to talk about how amazing you are and how you make me feel.

Before your brother was born I was thinking to myself how I would be writing two of these, but wondering how they would be different?  Should I do a combined letter? Is there really something that I want you to know about me that I didn’t want your brother to know?  Now that your brother is here it seems so obvious the different ways both of you excite me.  I also started thinking at what point would I no longer feel the need to write these letters?  After all, if the goal is for you to know who I am at this point in your life, at what age have you figured me out?  And at what point should I just be telling you everything I’m thinking to your face instead of writing it in a letter you might read years later?  I imagine that time is not now, but I am at awe at how perceptive you are. You have a great ability to see things for what they are, but still enjoy it, love it, have a passion for it.   I love that at about you.  There are few things about me that are important enough to me that I would want you to have it, but that is one of them.  The ability to find wonder in the world we live in.  So who knows how many more letters there might be, but probably less than I think.

             You pretending to be a fern.

That being said, the truth is I really don’t understand why you are the way that you are.  I always thought that parenting would be like this constant verbal reinforcement of good values, and how to practice empathy, and that it would be a struggle that you would see come to fruition only years down the road.  And maybe it’s that too, but right now it just feels like you are just suddenly amazing and I don’t know why.  I can’t link it to something I’ve done or told you.  This year you’ve already taken the first step towards understanding charity and I couldn’t be more proud.  Understanding that there’s a way to help people and animals who are in peril is important.  But more than that you are beginning to see your own good fortune and that’s the first step in having gratitude for advantages in your own life.  But I don’t need to tell you these things it seems, somehow you will just figure it out.  I do worry about making sure you have good values, but you keep surprising me by seeming to have them without much effort.  My greatest wish for you and your brother is that you’ll be kind people.  Yeah, you may face challenges greater than I had to face, and people might argue that toughness is more important.  But I don’t feel toughness has to be sacrificed for kindness.  Both are possible, and in general I think people have the wrong idea about what toughness really is.  Kind or unkind there are tough people in this world, but also a lot of people pretending to be a lot tougher than they are.  I feel the reason they pretend is because there is just not enough kindness. So I feel I’m justified in making that my most important goal for you.  And you already are kid. You even make me reflect and look inward and how I can be a better person in this world.  I hope I can be a good guide, but I have no doubt that this will be a journey where we will both grow as humans…together.  I’m so excited for the journey you are going to take me on.

This year you became a brother.  I really didn’t have any doubts you would be a good one.  You are so sweet and loving to your brother.  The only thing I worried about is you getting impatient for your brother to be a playmate.  But you’ve been so patient and understanding both towards him, and towards us as we often have to take care of the baby over playing with you.  When Allie was new, when he’d cry you’d always cover your ears. You hated to hear him in distress.  You still do of course and you even get very flustered at times when you can’t make your brother feel better.  It’s hard for adults too honestly, we just have more psychological tools to fall back on.  But it actually makes me feel more at ease that Allie already has a brother who is so worried about him and loves him so much.  I know, within your ability, you will also do your best for Allie and that means a lot to both your mother and I.  Your brother already responds to you so much.  He’s going to look up to his brother, and I have no doubts you will take that responsibility seriously.

This is the part of the letter where I talk about the year, by the numbers.  Literally. You have shown a great interest in numbers this year.  As a person who loves math, I couldn’t be more excited.  And while your actual math has improved, I’ve more enjoyed your questions which aren’t really aimed at necessarily solving math, but just about numbers in general.  Like how big they are, how they are sequenced, or how they are written.  You sometimes just sit there and ask me to add numbers together.  You’ll be like “what’s 100 plus 17?”  and I’ll say “117”, and then you’ll say, “But then what is 1 million plus 17?”, “Then I’ll say one million and 17”.  You won’t even respond, it’s like you are just processing it all, looking for patterns.  The time I was the most impressed was after telling you very little about multiplication, you suddenly announced that 6 time 2 was 12.  I was stunned.  And for some reason you had decided to count two nobs sticking out of a light fixture 6 times, and just realized how multiplication works.  I have no idea how smart you are compared to other children, but I do feel confident in saying you are a smart boy.  The kind of smart that will serve you well whatever situation you find yourself in life.

It seems I have talked mostly about how amazing you are.  Honestly you are more amazing than I can let on.  I suppose that’s always going to be the case, since I don’t want to give you too big of a head, especially since I might just be heavily biased.  🙂  But I guess I should say a few words about where I’m at right now, since that was the point of these letters.  The truth is, if talking about you so much is any indication, I’d say that I am probably certifiably a dad right now, because talking and thinking about someone constantly is just what you do when you’re in love.  And I’m in love with my boys. 🙂  There are worries in life right now.  The politics in this country are still a shambles.  My job situation isn’t great right now, and I’m a bit worried about that.  Life might have some big changes in it at some point nearer in the future than I thought, but it’s still not that near.  Nevertheless there is sort of a different mindset you get in when things are less secure.  You and your brother are a big part of what keeps my strength up.  I also don’t want to lose precious moments with you, even when there are legitimate things to be stressed about.  Maybe even more so because there are legitimate things to stress about.  Love should always be a light in the darkness.

Before I go, I just wanted to say that it was awesome that we had our first road trip together.  It wasn’t planned that way, but Allie got sick and mommy had to stay home.  It was a great time and I’m going to enjoy having trips with my sons in the future. 🙂

Also, so you know, you are still a clown and can make me laugh like no other.  I will not be shocked in the least if you become a comedian.

All parents say how quickly the time flies with your children, and it would be easy to say that 5 years have flown by.  But truthfully I’m try not to bemoan the loss of the littler version of yourself because I’m just always so excited to see who you are becoming.  I accept the fact that you must grow and no force in the universe can change that.  Why waste time on wondering where the time went, when the present is to be enjoyed?  I plan on just enjoying the journey of being your dad. 🙂

16 thoughts on “To Dhyan: Year 5

  1. I love your written parental advice to your elder son. My daughters are 35 and 38, and I am so glad I forced their dad, for that is what it took, to write something to them in their baby books. As he was not at all an open kind of expressive guy, this took some work on his part. And since he is living his last days on this earth, and since he’s had little contact with any of us since our divorce decades ago, not our choice by any means and despite our efforts to remain connected, one of these days it will be all the girls have left of him to cherish.

    Now I am in no way condemning you to a similar fate, rather to reinforce that the written word lives on, far beyond adolescent rebellions and the change in singular adoration of parents when a partner becomes part of their lives. And their own kids, should they choose to have them.

    So right on, dad, and I hope you do the same for your younger son and any children that may follow. We never know how this small action can mean so much. Aloha, Swarn, and all good wishes and blessings in the coming year! 🥳🎉🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Bela. And I know what you mean by, words lasting. While I might not disappear like your father did, I still might disappear as accidents happen and the entirety of this blog, not just these letters might be the best way for my children to get to know me and so I’m glad that I decided to start a blog for that reason alone, although my reasons for having this blog are more than that.

      And yes there will be another letter coming for my youngest come the end of March. I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to say, but even though the personality hasn’t blossomed yet, I can still tell there is a difference and thus a different way that my youngest makes me feel. Of course that’s the way it should be, but for some reason I didn’t think it would. I guess it’s just one of those things you have to experience to know. 🙂

      Happy New Year Bela!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To clarify, my girls’ dad disappeared, much more heartbreaking than my own might have been, though for sure that had its own dynamic.

        I am happy to hear that you will continue writing for your boys, because you are correct, we never know what the future holes. The most we can do, at least in my opinion, is to let those we love know that I love endures, no matter what. I think that matters to them at any age.

        And yes kids are all so different! My mother had s seven of us, and said each one of us was entirely our own person. And I find that true, in retrospect, of my siblings and me.

        All the best in the new year, Swarn. It’s been great reading your blog this year, and I’m sure you have more goodies in store for all of us in 2019. Peace.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Swarn and Bela,

      I very much concur with both of you. Apart from words and photos, videos can also be valuable to the next generations.

      Whatever media we have chosen to leave our words and wisdoms for the future generations, and however wise our words and actions may have been, sometimes they are just not enough to persuade or touch them, because as individuals living their lives in different eras and circumstances, not to mention their own baggage as well as mental and genetic makeups, our words and examples simply do not have the resonance and potency for them to abide by.

      Human failings, foibles and follies will continue, even as we realize this in our later years of greater wisdom, and even as we are heading towards the Sixth Great Extinction that our children have to face even more dramatically than we have in our own lifetimes.

      Ending on a far more upbeat note, I would like to invite you to savour a special message contained in my festive post at

      Happy New Year to you and your family!

      May you realize all of your visions and achieve whatever goals you have set yourself in 2019!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Swarn,
    It takes a wondrous person to see the wonderfulness in others!! Especially children and find humbled amazement in each moment of our own clarity to see the incredible child has brilliant faculties of their own. And that you need not guide each step with words, rather Love them as you do.
    This letter to your sons, congrats on your new family addition, is filled with love. HOnestly it made me long for what was never there in my life. However, now I know what love truly sounds and feels like from a parent, through your words Swarn. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These posts always get me right in the heart, they’re so beautiful, the photos just add to that. What a gorgeous family you are in spirit and mind. “at what age have you figured me out?” No age, keep writing them, let him choose to read or not as he ages and eventually, when you have passed on he’ll have the most incredible insight into the man who was and will always be his father. If I were him (being the age I am now, as you know an old lady etc) I’d end up printing them into a book for myself and future Gill generations. So get your grammar right, m’kay? Hahahahaha. He looks a lot like Maggie, but has your cheeky smile.

    – Esme hugging them all upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Esme, and perhaps you’re right. I don’t it just would feel a little weird writing a letter while a 14 year old boy is in the other room when I could be just having a conversation. But yes there is still value to writing thoughts down perhaps even if you end up repeating them in person. And yes there is also value getting the grammar in check. But that’s also helping he get to know the real me. A person with barely enough time to write and even less time to edit! lol

      Yeah many people have remarked that Dhyan is a Swarn colored version of Maggie, and that our youngest is a Maggie colored version of Swarn. He has very fair skin, light hair and blue eyes, but his features are a lot like mine. But yes Dhyan definitely has my goofiness so the smile might be mine. lol


  4. Wow this is such a heartwarming piece. And I do realize I’m late to the party, but congratulations on the new baby! Your sons are absolutely beautiful. I’m sure they’ll grow to be amazing individuals due to your love and guidance.
    Again, beautiful piece, had absolutely missed your writing. And may everything work out in your favor, you deserve it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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