You are only three years old but I already know exactly what I want for each and every day of your life.
To be happy you need to love yourself.
Despite the fact that the name Creed means a guiding principle, as a child, you follow by example. That is why I know for you to be happy, it is important that I am happy too.
Unfortunately, there was a time in my life that I struggled. I didn’t always like myself. I was depressed. I was losing weight. Constantly, I had negative thoughts. It is important that you know none of my pain was because of you.
Your mom and I tried to have a baby for three years before you came along. Unable to conceive naturally, we needed help from doctors, using a procedure known to adults as IVF. It was a stressful process. Your mom had to take shots regularly. I couldn’t always be by her side because of training or traveling for football. As you know, I play for the Cleveland Browns. When we found out about you, we were pumped that we were finally going to have the child we had been trying for for so long.
When you were born, I remember hearing your cry. It was the most amazing sound during the most incredible moment of my life. It’s so hard to describe the feeling of seeing you, my son, for the very first time. The second you were born, you changed my life in so many ways.
To be happy, you need to love yourself.
Both your mom and I didn’t grow up with two parents in the house. For you and for ourselves, we wanted a different foundation for our family. As amazing as your mom is, at times, marriage isn’t easy. I don’t think any marriage is without challenges. But with you at the center of our family, driving us to figure out how to make a two-parent household thrive, we have learned to communicate. I know your mom will always support me and she knows I will always support her. The way we see it, is if our relationship is not solid, we are not only hurting each other but we are hurting you.
Independent from your mom, when you came along I became more responsible. From how hard I worked to how I balanced my life, I have become more aware of each decision I make. That is because I don’t want you to grow up ever having to worry about basic needs. When I was a child, your grandmother worked two jobs to take care of our family. While she was making money, I made sure to help out with chores around the house, so I could ease her burden. I want better for you, as I want you to enjoy your childhood and leave the worrying to adults.
Also, Creed, you have introduced me to a more selfless version of myself. I get a burst of joy from day-to-day interactions with you. Whether it’s reading you a book, playing games or teaching you a new word, just to see you explore and learn makes my whole day better.
With that all said, as much as I would like you to be happy every day, I am aware that you will likely face tough times, which has made me want to be healthy and mentally strong for you. This way when you do face challenges you know it’s OK to talk about it and you know that your mom and I can and always will always be there to listen to you and support you.
If you are hurting, we will get through it together and if you are thriving, we will enjoy it together.
That’s what families do. That’s what we already do…
When I was going through a hard time, you were there to brighten my day with your carefree joy for life. And when I step on that football field, you jump and scream in excitement.
While right now you are jumping up and down rooting for me, I hope you know I am going to be cheering you on long after I am done running out of that tunnel.
You have given me clear goals and a healthy perspective, as my focus is making sure you are able to do and become anything that you want throughout your journey.
I realize now that your smile will always be my greatest win in life.
Therapy helped get me on track when I hit my low point but being a good father to you has made me really love myself.
So, while each and every day I do what I can to lead you to your happiness, Creed, despite only being three years old, you have already stayed true to your name, guiding me to mine.
I love you more than you know,
Dad (Chris Hubbard)
About the author:
Chris Hubbard is a starting offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns. Hubbard played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013-2017. He is also an advocate for mental health.
About the sponsor and the charity:
The National Alliance On Mental Illness is a United States-based advocacy group originally founded as a grassroots group by family members of people diagnosed with mental illness.
David Yoffee is donating $50 to NAMI in honor of the first 50 shares of Chris’ letter. The Unsealed will match the donation if we get 50 news subscribers and 50 new Facebook followers by 11/13/19.
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