Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Family Business

When I was a young boy, I admired everything about my dad. I wanted to grow up to be just like him. Since he was a lawyer, that was the field to which I was inevitably drawn. And when I finished law school, after a year's clerkship, my dream of entering the family business was fulfilled. Sadly,  my dad passed away shortly after we began working together.

Neither of my children ever expressed a desire to continue this legacy. My daughter is a speech therapist and appears to be thriving in her work. My son, a student of public policy.  Not that this was a bad thing, it was just one less connection, or maybe a small reflection on how they perceived me and what I was.

That has all changed. For last evening, my son announced that he was now entering the family business. No, not that one. The other one, getting published in the letters section of the New York Times.

Over the past half decade, my son, my entire family, and a community of friends, acquaintances and even total strangers, have been apprised of my unending attempts to see my words in the Times. Remarkably, there have been many successes which has only spurred continued efforts by me and increasing alienation of those around me.

And the one at the center of my self created maelstrom has been my son. Appointed as my personal editor, he has been forever witness to my relentless pursuit of fame, if only in my own head, and fortune, from a writing career destined never to move into first gear.

But rather than be repelled, he has been endlessly patient and understanding, encouraging and compassionate. And through this process, one other thing has happened. He has clearly learned how to spot those writings of mine which are likely to find a welcome home in the letters section of the Times.

Beyond having a far keener and perceptive mind than I, he is a far better writer. As such, whenever we have been in discussion on a topic of import in the news and his analysis seemed clear and correct, I have implored him to "write a letter to the editor."

He has refrained, maybe because he saw me taking all the air out of the room with my incessant pursuit, or maybe because he just did not feel the compulsion, as I did.

Last night, as I opened my cell phone to read my e-mails, this note appeared:
"With dad as my mentor, I wrote this yesterday and thought it felt letter-worthy, so I sent it in. Dad has trained me well."

Underneath, was a note from the NY Times advising that:
"We are considering your letter for publication in the next few days, either in the printed paper and the Web site, or on the Web only. Below is an edited version of your letter."

My heart swelled with pride. I let out several "woo- hoos" or something like that in the middle of a room filled with a family mourning the loss of a loved one. Maybe this was not the best time to tell those assembled of my son's accomplishment and of the great joy I was experiencing.

The note from my son meant more to me than he could ever fully understand. It brought me back to the days of my youth when I looked upon my dad with a sense of awe and enormous pride. I understand that I am far less a being than he was, far less a role model to be emulated. But my son has found in my undertaking, in me, something positive, something worthwhile and has, with his considerable talents, finally decided to join the family business.

Here is his letter as it appeared in the New York Times.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Lovely and touching story by you and excellent thought-piece by Richie. A veritable double hitter!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! I love it! Congratulations - so very cool! That's one impressive family business.


Anonymous said...

How fabulous this is!! A great letter and a fantastic family business!!
Congrats to the Nussbaum Writer Group!


Anonymous said...

Wow! That's great! Congrats to Richie and his proud dad.


Anonymous said...

WOW so nice!!


Anonymous said...

This was great and proud of Richie as he's always been the smartest of the bunch!


Anonymous said...

I thought you were going to say since Richie is working at a law firm that he was going to go to Law School! Well this sounds much better and more fun! Like father like son! Congrats!


Anonymous said...

His proud Aunt Pammy saw it first thing in the morning and spread the word via Facebook.com. Richie has gone in to the family business....