Letter to my daughters and the Houston I love…

jeremy-parzen-wifeDear Georgia P and Lila Jane,

Tonight I leave for the umpteenth trip abroad this year for work. The last for 2016, thank goodness!

The two of you couldn’t have given me a better going-away present.

Yesterday, on the way back from the Houston Museum of Natural Science and lunch at the bagel place, we talked about how I was going away on a trip and I told you how much I was going to miss you.

“I’m going to miss you guys so much,” I said.

“I’m going to miss you, too, daddy!” Georgia, you told me.

“I’m going to miss you, too!” Lila Jane, you chimed in.

“I love you guys,” I answered.

“I love you, too!”

“I love you, too!”

Then I said: “I’m going to be so sad without you.”

“You can’t be sad on your trip, daddy!” Georgia, you confidently counseled me. “You need to be happy on your trip.”

You both could tell that I was tearing up a little in the driver’s seat of our minivan.

If there’s anything I hope that your mother and I can give you, it’s empathy… empathy for each other and everyone in our family, empathy for everyone we meet, every day… empathy for humankind and the world we live in…

Some day I’ll look back on this weekend and think about how you two came with your mother and me on Saturday morning to vote for Hilary Clinton, who will most likely be the first woman president of our country.

And I’ll also remember that this was the weekend that Anthony Bourdain aired his “Parts Unknown” episode devoted to Houston.

In it, he celebrates our city’s rich diversity of peoples and food cultures (check out Alison Cook’s review of the episode, which I believe you can access for a limited time). A number of the places he visits are right up the road from us on Hillcroft and we’ve been to a bunch of them together.

In a week, this tumultuous, roller-coaster ride of an election season will finally come to a close and we will have a new president. As Bourdain implies in his not-too-subtle riff on our nation’s mood, diversity and empathy are two things that can only make the world a brighter place.

The sun is shining today on all of us and I will miss you dearly when I’m gone. Your empathy, your hearts, your sweet sweet smiles are the greatest going-away gift I could ever receive. I love you…


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