Dear Son… 003: Rain happens

Bearing the weight

Boy: Papa, it’s raining.

Dear Son;

As I write this, you sleep in your room. You’re almost three. I’ve written you twice before. I should write you more.

I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.

There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.

The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.

If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:

  1. Papa probably made up most of it; and,
  2. I talk about bearing things, quite a bit.

I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.

She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.

I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.

The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.

I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.

You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.

The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.

And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.

We’ve lost so much, you and I.

There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.

I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.

Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.

It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.

Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.

The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.

But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.

And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.



Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.

Dear Son… 001
Dear Son… 002: Wait and wish
Dear Son… 003: Rain happens
Dear Son… 004: Understanding is gold
Dear Son… 005: Language is telepathy

Location: home with the boy
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I love you oh so well

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Dear Son… 001

Beautiful and terrible things

Me and the kid

Dear Son;

As I write this, you are almost seven months old. I feel guilty that your Grandma McCarthy has been taking the most care of you because I need to focus on your mama.

But you’re always laughing, so I assume that you’re generally happy and oblivious to the terrible things around us. That’s actually why I’m writing you.

A fellow New Yorker – of which you are a proud member – named Frederick Buechner once said, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

(I will quote things to you a lot because I think other people say things far more eloquently than your pop can; you’ll have to learn to deal).

What Buechner said is true, with this caveat: The terrible and beautiful are often intertwined.

By all metrics, your mother should have died on December 10th, when you were just a month old. I say this terrible thing as plainly as I can.

But equally plainly, I tell you: Your mother came back an hour from death – crippled and half-blind – because she couldn’t bear being away from us. From you.

She came back with a titanium mesh where her skull once was. So when I tell you that she is made of titanium, I mean that both figuratively and literally.

She fights every day to see you and hopes to hold you again, like she did when you were born. She wants to see you sit, stand, walk, and run.

She wants to see you become you.

You know, on December 10th, you hadn’t yet learned how to laugh or smile? I think she came back to experience that.

Kid, that is love like I’ve never seen before. If that’s not beautiful, I dunno what is.

This letter is late, sorry. I’d meant to write it months ago but life got in the way. You’ll find that the life’s terrible things get in the way of your plans and dreams.

It’s the nature of the world to whittle you down to nothingness. One day it will win. We accept that in our family. But we fight the world every step of the way because we will not go quietly.

We struggle and scuffle until we’re breathless and weak. Life demands struggle.

Our family motto is a pictograph of a blade in a heart – we survive things that would kill other people. We survive.15207350313_c43e87a6b6_c

Know that the terrible things will come. But so will the beautiful things. They go hand-in-hand.

Your mother is the most beautiful thing that has come into my life and she came with this terrible thing. Neither of us knew. I would not change a thing, except maybe bring her to the hospital the day we met to get rid of this damn cancer. And buy more shares of Facebook. (Always invest your money – that’s another letter for another time).

I will love your mother until the day I die. You as well.

In any case, son: Here is the world. The price you pay to be here is to endure the terrible. So we pay our fare and we take our seat, come what may.

Don’t be afraid. Because you are our son and there is titanium in your blood.



Dear Son… 001
Dear Son… 002: Wait and wish
Dear Son… 003: Rain happens
Dear Son… 004: Understanding is gold
Dear Son… 005: Language is telepathy


Location: home, after almost a month in the hospital again
Mood: tired
Music: it was then that I knew only a full house gonna make it through

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An Open Letter to Christine Quinn Regarding Chick-fil-A

New York City from Hoboken

Dear Speaker Quinn;

First of all, congratulations on your recent nuptials! Having just been married myself, I was told that my life would be the same but completely different afterward. I find that to be true.

However, I write this letter to discuss something less pleasant – which is this whole Chick-fil-A matter. Frankly, I don’t like where it’s going politically.

Specifically, you recently sent a letter to the NYU President, which you wrote on government stationary and opened with the words: “I write as the Speaker of the NYC Council.” In that letter you asked the President to break a legal agreement NYU signed with a corporation who’s view you term “repugnant.”

This comes on the heels of similar letters by the mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco that have threatened to treat Chick-fil-A differently than any other person and organization for no other reason than that you find them “repugnant.”

While I too find them repugnant, as a citizen – and a minority – I also find this all even more unsettling.

A while back, I wrote about this judge 100 years ago named Stephen Johnson Field that hated the Chinese. Absolutely hated them. While sitting on the bench, he was called to judge the constitutionality of the Pigtail Ordinance. Without getting into the specifics of the law, suffice it to say that it was meant to make life hell for a group of people he personally despised.

In other words, he found us repugnant.

I’ve always found this odd because we’re a lovely people but that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, everyone expected him to uphold the law precisely because they knew his personal opinion. He did not. Instead, he struck down the law as unconstitutional.

His reason was simple: As much as he hated the Chinese, he respected the letter of the law more.

His office trumped his personal opinions.

A more recent example is the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. You stood with Mayor Bloomberg when he said that cancellation of the mosque would be a “sad day.” I assume because, in that instance, the party singled out you felt personal sympathy with AND it was on the right side of the law.

Here, you don’t feel personal sympathy with Chick-fil-A yet, like the mosque, it is on the right side of the law.

In both examples, the law is clear: An organization cannot be discriminated against because of its beliefs.

Speaker Quinn, integrity means that one is the same person in public as one is in private. It requires consistency.

It demands that if you defend the constitution for a white person you must defend the constitution for a Chinese person.

The judge in the Pigtail Ordinance, while racist, had integrity. 100 years later, that means something.

I humbly submit that you’re letting your personal feelings interfere with your respect for the law. It’s easy to defend the defenseless and sympathetic; it’s harder to defend those that you personally find repugnant.

  • The law allows a mosque to rent a space without concern that the government does not like its opinions.
  • The law allows a corporation to rent a space without concern that the government does not like its  opinions.

As a life-long New Yorker, I admit had conflicted feelings about having a mosque so close to where 9/11 happened. But in the end, the law is the law. And in the end, I supported it being there.

I would not want someone saying that I cannot live someplace because I am a Christian, or Chinese-American, or terribly clumsy.

I support citizens boycotting Chick-fil-A. I support citizens marching. I support citizens ripping them to shreds online.

But I draw the line at government telling us that its opinions supersede the law.

It’s dangerous when government officials use their positions of power to further their own personal agendas. To think otherwise sets a dangerous precedent.

History has shown, time-and-time again, that a world ruled by someone’s personal opinion is not a safe place for Chinese, gay, black, Jewish, Muslim, disabled people to live.

Imagine a world where Michele Bachmann’s personal opinion ruled it.

We put up with opinions that are different than ours – even repugnant to us – because it’s what we do. The word is “tolerance.”

One doesn’t tolerate things, people, and opinions one finds lovely. One tolerates things, people, and opinions one finds repugnant. It’s what we do.


Logan Lo

Location: in front of my first cuppa joe for the day
Mood: curious
Music: if everybody looked the same we’d get tired of looking at each other