I wrote this original letter to my father to be printed in a 1995 issue of The Loafer on Father’s Day. I found it only appropriate to reprint this in honor of my father, Charles Gosnell.
Fathers and sons share a special bond – one that goes far beyond mere genetics. They’re Guys. Sure, one’s a Big Guy and one’s a Little Guy, but they’re still Guys. That means that right from the start, they can talk Guy Talk (‘’Whatdya think, boxers or briefs?’’ or “Women!”, usually accompanied by a rolling of the eyes and shrugging of the shoulders), and do Guy things (i.e. grow hair on their faces and pee standing up). Moreover, simply by virtue of being Guys they are privy to a whole mindset, an entire way of thinking that will, forever and always, be beyond the comprehension of any and all females, or Non-Guys.
From the time he is very young, Little Guys will look to their Father or Father-figure to learn the complicated art of being a Guy. Mom, being a Non-Guy, is pretty unessential in this necessary process … except, perhaps, as he grows, to test and judge his grasp of Guyness by her level of exasperation.
Fathers and sons. Big Guys and Little Guys. Sharing not only a genetic and emotional bond, but the infamous Guy Bond. The combination makes for a unique closeness that is rivaled by none.
WeeeellllL almost none.
Fathers and daughters.
Theirs, too, is a bond that goes beyond DNA … waaay beyond, albeit in an entirely different direction.
There is, perhaps, no greater trust than that found in the eyes of a little girl looking at her daddy. It’s not that she doesn’t trust Mom, it’s just, well, different with Dad. ln infancy, it’s probably based on nothing more than superficial things – usually, his voice is deeper and more authoritative, he’s bigger and has a more commanding presence; and yet because these qualities are tempered with that incredible gentleness that little girl-babies seem to bring out in their fathers, instead of being intimidating they tend to inspire a complete and total trust, mingled with more than a little awe.
And don’t think for a moment that Dad doesn’t sense that trust, especially as she leaves infancy and begins to grow. A pretty overwhelming responsibility, that – she doesn’t see the flaws that to him are blatantly obvious; she’s oblivious to any self-perceived imperfections in his character; she doesn’t care how much money he makes and even if she did know what a corporate ladder is, her concern over which rung Dad is on would be nonexistent. He is, simply, her Prince. His is the face her imagination places on the shoulders of every hero in every fairy tale she hears. He is her protector and, in her child’s mind, he would slay dragons for her, conquer kingdoms for her, and fight off every imaginable villain that dared venture unto her world.
And he would.
The feeling of warmth and security that his love inspires in her at that age will stay with her always. Later, even as her mind and emotions mature and her picture of Dad becomes tempered with reality, her heart will always hold on to the memory of that feeling. It is the memory against which all other men in her life will even, if not on a conscious level, be judged. Not that she will necessarily search for a man who is like her father. She will search for a man who inspires that same feeling in her heart.
An exact match doesn’t exist.
Fathers and Daughters. Theirs is a formidable bond that can withstand discourse and diversity, distance and disagreement, even forced separation. Other loves and other bonds, may come to be just as strong, just as powerful, just as wonderful….but, none will be the same. It is to be listed among life’s truest treasures.
Thank you for being my rock dad. Happy Father’s Day.
Your youngest (and favorite) daughter,