Friday, November 5, 2010

Letter To my Son....

The good folks at Deneki Outdoors recently gave me the opportunity to write a guest column for them.  With the impending birth of our first son,  I felt the urge to write a letter to him.  I hope you enjoy

This letter to him was originally published on the Deneki site this morning.

Letter to My Son

I get to meet my new best friend in a week,

My first born;

My first born son.

Half of the emotion is the excitement of anticipation, the other half is a deer in headlights I am scared as hell but here we go feeling. Either way about it, he’s coming to join us like it or not.

I have lived a life so far with an extremely strong connection to the outdoor world. With an understanding mother and a father who lives to hunt and fish, my path in the outdoors was spoken for at very early age. Thank goodness I have a very, very understanding and patient wife.

The transference of being fish crazy wasn’t a hard sell for me at any point in my life. My father and I have been joined at the hip for as long as I can remember. From quietly waiting for a trout to take the bait as a toddler to today waiting for the elusive yank of a steelhead, fishing is deeply ingrained within my life. Taking up a fly rod a decade ago was a galvanizing event in my life and I haven’t looked back
So it’s this impending change that has me thinking about what I am excited to share with my son, in a fishy, outdoorsy sense. The rest of this is written directly to him and I hope someday when he reads this, all these wishes have come true, or he aspires to make them happen. I hope you enjoy.

Photo: Josh Mills

You’re about to join us, and it’s time to cast the net to the future to harness a bright future for you, whatever path you take. First and foremost, I wish for your health and happiness but I would be lying if I didn’t have a few other things I am excited to share with you as you grow up and progress from birth to manhood.

I hope you find the wonderment in fish themselves. They are transference of the natural world back to you
I can’t wait to put you in this onesie that your mom found for you. I can’t tell you how excited I was when she showed it to me.

Coolest wife ever?  Photo: Josh Mills

I hope you wake me up early on Saturday mornings and ask, “Daddy, can we go fishing.” I hope to never say no.

I hope pictures of you grinning ear to ear line our fridge and I will never stop taking those silly, goofy pictures
I hope you get to see the twinkle in the eye of Grandpa when he swings up and lands a big steelhead. It’s a special sight.

I hope you see the look of love in Grandma’s eye when you tell her fishing stories. She will be your best listener and cheerleader.

I hope the wonderment of a night under the stars on a river gravel bar is as fun as it was for me when I was your age. Shooting stars are an amazing thing.

I hope you find the fun in even a poor day’s fishing because after all, you were fishing.

I hope that you get to know the joy of a wet dog in a drift boat.

Taylor takes it in.  Photo: Josh Mills

I hope you look forward to a weekend trip with as much excitement as I do.

Riverbank sunrises are a special thing.

Check your pockets on your fishing trips because I hope you get one of your mom’s love notes in them.

I hope you find that wild cutthroat are wild gift worth protecting and that carp are pretty too.

I hope that spey casting will be right up there in coolness as baseball and football. I will help you with both. The ability to throw a nasty curve and a drop spey lasers both take practice.

When a steelhead takes your fly, I hope it feels like a lightening bolt.

Listen to the stories of older fisherman, including your father. Take what they say as 50% truth.

I hope that a fly tying vice will be your artistic canvas.

Letter to My Son

I hope you think that a new self bailing raft is cooler than a Ford Mustang or the newest iPhone.

For spring break, I hope you want to go to Bristol Bay instead of Cancun.

I hope one day you find the love of your life. Bonus points if she can double haul.

Most of all, and my biggest hope of all, is that I can share this all with you. My relationship with your Grandfather is rock solid because of all the time we spent together growing up, most of it either staring down a river or lining up the dogs to chase pheasants. You can’t buy quality time like that.

Fields and streams can be unbelievable teachers and can give you some of the greatest joys of your life. They can bring you relationships with the best people in the world. They can be the foundation of a honest and respectful life.

Respect them, cherish them, and protect them.

And one other thing…Always listen to your mother!

 Dads' Note---
Carson Mills was born Wednesday night, happy and healthy and huuuuuge.  


  1. This is a beautiful post to your son. It is full of truth, hope and love. I can see that you have already learned how to be a father. We teach what we are taught, and most of us who share in the great outdoors were taught much more than just fishing & hunting. Congratulations again on your new baby boy!

  2. Josh, congratulations on the birth of your son, our twins are to join us any day. The letter to your son was wonderful and hopefully all your wishes come true!

  3. Pretty cool Millsy. You are going to be a great dad, and I am sure Carson will have lots of great memories of fishing trips with you and Old Man River.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Loved this, very much. I am excited for your son to have such opportunities waiting for him in the future. Your post, wishes and thoughts have all the important ingredients for a childhood full of adventure, learning and lifetime memories.
    And we look forward to reading all about it here....

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  6. It's amazing how you can love someone so much, even though you just met, isn't it? Proof that love at first sight is real ...Congrats.