Editor’s note: In honor of Father’s Day this is an open letter to my newborn granddaughter.
Dear Charlie Grace,
Welcome to our world. Some folks may ask why I am writing a letter to a three-week-old little girl.
You can’t read or talk yet. But in a few years, your mom and dad can read this letter to you. And later on you will be able to read it yourself.
I want to share with you all the possibilities available in the great outdoors. Sure, you may not be able to get outside much right now. But I’m sure you will as you grow older. The outdoors is a big place. It can be scary sometimes, even for a crusty old G-Daddy. But, there is more beauty and wonders outside than we can ever discover.
The outdoors is not something you learn about in a day, month or even a year. It takes a lifetime to uncover all of the wonders and adventures the outdoors offers. And then sometimes in that lifetime, we’ve only just begun to realize what the outdoors really is.
Your mom and dad will teach you many things about life and this world. There will be many firsts for you in the next few months and years. I may not always be there for some of the firsts. But I hope to be there for the seconds, the thirds and the hundredths.
Right now your little hand barely wraps around my finger. I know later it will be your hand holding mine as we walk in the yard, through the woods or around the lake. Your hands are small, but they already hold my heart. You’ll better understand this when you’re older.
Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl. You will have dreams of what you want to do in your life. God has a plan for you and all you have to do is listen closely. Don’t be afraid to reach out and follow your dreams.
You may want to be a dancer, a singer, or an artist like your mom. There are many things out there you can do. I can already see the confidence in your smile. There is a glow of ambition in your eyes. You may find something in the outdoors that sparks your interest. Whatever you do, do it with your heart. With passion.
Fishing, hunting or camping could become one of your desires. Or, you may care nothing about these and that will be OK. There is much more in the outdoors. But, I’m pretty sure you will enjoy watching wildlife. The birds, squirrels, deer and other creatures will have you asking questions. Your brother, Downing, calls every bird he sees a duck. But he’s not even 2-years-old.
I can imagine us fishing on the creek bank. You will probably think worms are icky and fish are slimy. Maybe we can share a sunrise in a hunting blind or a sunset along the river. You’ll ask questions like, “Why the sky is blue,” and, “Where does the sun go at night?”
As you grow up there will be cut hands, scraped knees and broken hearts. Smiles, laughter and tears will come into your life. There will be sunny days and rainy days. But, hopefully, there will be more sun, smiles and laughs to help you forget the sad times.
As a little girl you’ll think that G-Daddy knows everything. You may come to me with a question or for some advice. And someday you will learn there are things your G-Daddy can’t fix and doesn’t have an easy answer. But, that won’t stop you from asking me again.
The outdoors is a big place and at times you can feel you are the only one around. You can dance like no one is watching. You can sing when no one is listening. Because when you are outdoors, the trees will stand and applaud. The valleys will echo your voice.
In the outdoors you can feel the soft breeze brush against your cheek. The odor of pines and the musty smell of an old swamp. You can see the fiery colors of autumn’s blaze. And taste the freshness of a spring rain.
Charlie Grace, when I see you sleeping, I see peace. A quietness at rest. We whisper as to not awaken you and your dreams. Many folks throughout their life search for that peace. That quietness only a child can portray. Some find it. Others do not. My hope is you will always have peace in your heart and life.
When you are older and are searching for that peace, step outdoors. Get outside away from the stresses of life. Breathe in the fresh air. Listen to the birds and their songs of peace and contentment. Take along a friend and show them the outdoors.
Remember that is not the what in life, but the who. The who, who loves you and the who, who you love. For in the end, love always wins.
Hugs and kisses.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com.