Goodbye, Children

Henson and Kermit.jpgYesterday was Jim Henson’s birthday, and I believe him to be one of the most innovative storytellers of the 20th Century along with Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles, so please forgive me for a moment as I talk about something he wrote.  There’s a part of me that has always felt drawn to fatherhood (and this was long before the 6 years of trying to have a baby and failing, this goes waaay back to when I was a teenager).  Most of the stories I have written address the idea of fatherhood in one way or another.   I’m not quite sure if the appeal is the idea of guiding and teaching someone from the moment they breathe air for the first time…that idea of total mentorship…or the simple act of loving someone that deeply.  Honestly, both notions are pretty attractive.

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Jim Henson died at the way-too-young age of 53.  He knew it was coming.  So did his family.  And he wrote this note to his children before he went:

First of all, don’t feel bad that I’m gone. While I will miss spending time with each of you, I’m sure it will be an interesting time for me and I look forward to seeing all of you when you come over. To each of you I send my love. If on this side of life I’m able to watch over and help you out, know that I will. If I can’t, I’m sure I can at least be waiting for you when you come over. This all may sound silly to you guys, but what the hell, I’m gone—and who can argue with me?

Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling. May each of yours be that—having each of you as a child of mine has certainly been one of the good things in my life. Know that I’ve always loved each of you with an eternal, bottomless love. A love that has nothing to do with each other, for I feel my love for each of you is total and all-encompassing. Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.

Those last two sentences are the thing that resonates like a tuning-fork…Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It’s a good life, enjoy it.

That’s a piece of advice we all could use a bit more of.

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