What Would You Say If You Could Say One Last Thing?

Rebooting an old thought experiment and wrestling with mortality

What Would You Say If You Could Say One Last Thing?

A few years ago, I offered up a challenge to some of my blogging friends:

What if you could only write one more post? What would you want to say?

The resulting posts—most of which are still available via links at the bottom of the article linked abovewere a mix of insight, inspiration, levity, and reflection. At the time, my daughter was only a few months old, and while my wife took the opportunity to pen a beautiful letter to her, my thoughts were more general. I hadn't found my footing as a parenthood writer then (still not sure I have now, frankly). But looking back, I see this as a missed opportunity.

So, I'm rebooting the last post challenge. If you're a blogger, what would you say if you could only write one more post? Write it up and drop a link in the comments below. If you aren't a blogger, feel free to just write your thoughts on legacy and last words in the comments directly.

As for me? This time I'm writing to my kid.


Hey monkey,

First and foremost, never ever forget that your mom and I love you more than you'll ever understand unless you choose to have kids of your own one day. Then maybe you'll get it. 

I'm so proud of how curious and brave you are. At four years old you've already had adventures and experiences that will last a lifetime, and while Mom gets a bunch of credit for putting you into positions to experience those things, you get full marks for diving in headfirstsometimes literally. (On that note, please be more careful about where you dive headfirst. Your neck won't always be so spongy.) Never lose that. Challenge yourself. Try new things. Don't worry about how silly you might seem to those around yousilly's always worked pretty well for me, anyway.

I also love how smart and beautiful you are, though it worries me that you also seem to know how smart and beautiful you are. Self awareness is good, but you'll need to work on empathy and humility in equal measure. You're four. You'll figure it out in time. But never forget that your gifts are only as good as your ability to share them. Take care of other people. Do nice things for other people. Be the sort of friend you want in your own life and you'll do fine. With awesome power comes awesome responsibility and all that (if you don't get the reference, just ask Auntie Meaghan, she'll explain it).

You're going to make mistakes in your life. If you don't, you're not trying hard enough. So dwell on them only for as long as it takes to extract the lesson, then move on. Be open to failure from time to time, it's far more interesting than only seeing success.

And given that your mom and dad spend a lot of time on Twitter, I'll wrap up with some tweet-sized bits of advice.

  • Read a lot.
  • Ask questions. A lot of questions.
  • Listen to a lot of music. Especially punk rock.
  • Learn how to change a tire.
  • Never let anyone make you feel unimportant.
  • Your body is yours. Nobody else gets to decide what you do to it. Except maybe Mom (she's got a good rule on tattoos).
  • Read up on Emily Graslie, Laura Jane Grace, and the countless other people out there who should be role models in your life, but that you might not otherwise hear about. 

Lastly, kiddo, take care of your mom. She's smarter than both of us combined and she's the most important person you'll ever have in your corner. 

Love always,

Your dad.

If you liked this, you might also like "The Most Important Conversations To Have With My Daughter" and "Dear 60-Year-Old Me."


Father's Day Advice: 5 Smells Every Man Loves

Forget the stomach, the way to a man's heart is through the nose

Father's Day Advice: 5 Smells Every Man Loves

Hello, ladies.

It's that time of year again. The time when the Powers That Be (greeting card companies, probably) decree that you must take a few minutes to honour the men who helped give you (or, if they're too young to do it themselves, your offspring) life. 

That's right, it's Father's Day. And while there's no shortage of practical guides to gift giving out there, they tend to miss one crucial ingredient. 

Olfactory delights.

That's right, ladies. If you want this Father's Day to be truly memorable, appeal to the manliest of senses—the sense of smellwith one of these can't-miss scents.


Ah yes, cedar. Is there a more perfect scent to connect man to a nature he likely spends little to no time in? The smell of cedar makes men harken back to a simpler time, when commuting meant hoisting your birch bark canoe above your head and portaging your way inland in search of pelts and fur. It reminds us of a voyageur past we didn't actually experience, yet still long to (re?)discover. And while a dab of cedar oil in your man's dresser drawers may seem like a subtle yet considerate touch, I recommend going all out and lining his drawers with full boughs. You can't have too much cedar.


"Hey wait, Boughner, are you just going to fill this list with types of wood?" Fear not, rhetorical voice I just made up. While that would (heh) probably serve the purposes of this list (after all, what man doesn't love wood?)(heh), this time I'm talking specifically about maple syrup. Maple syrup is the bacon of condiments. It literally makes everything better. Long considered only a pancake accoutrement, maple syrup has seen a renaissance of sorts recently, finding its way into everything from beer to . . . well, bacon. And probably more stuff, too. But I've got a maple porter sitting in my fridge, so I gotta wrap this post up quickly. But seriously, the only thing that rivals the taste of maple is the smell. So dab a little syrup behind your ears and watch your man become giddy with delight. Or at least develop a mad craving for pancakes.


Yea, I know, wood again. Or at least a wood byproduct. But I'm telling you, gentle reader, men love the smell of sawdust. Whether they're standing proudly over the latest woodworking creation or, more likely, standing in awe at the cutting station at the back of their local building supply store, wishing they too could fit a giant bandsaw in their single-car townhouse garage, sawdust reminds us of the time when we built things by hand to last a lifetime or two. We don't do it anymore, mind you, but it's nice to pretend. So, sprinkle a little sawdust around your abode. But not too much. It's highly combustible when packed tight and moderately carcinogenic if inhaled. 

Cut grass

Is there anything more delightfully suburban than the smell of freshly cut grass? And given that this is one activity we still actually do on a regular basis, it's something we men can connect to. Fresh cut grass smells like a job well done. It smells like taking care of our own. Sure, it smells like 30 year mortgages and the occasional patch of dog-pee-burned turf. But it's OUR 30 year mortgage and patch of dog-pee-burned turf, damn it. Note: this smells even better when we aren't actually the ones doing the mowing. Hint. Hint.


Pft, whatever, judge me all you want. Lilacs smell fucking good, man.

Did you love this post? You might also enjoy:

It should be noted, though, that you might hate them. I mean, there's no accounting for taste, right?