Tuesday, July 09, 2013
To my son on his 10th birthday.
Well, buddy, you did it. You reached the double digit milestone, though that may be nothing but natural selection and Darwinism as opposed to any sort of parenting you may have received. After all, you are a pretty tough kid.
You went through a lot as a baby. I know you don't really remember much of it as you were busy pooping your Pampers and crying a good portion of the day but it was bad news. You went through a lot of pain not too long after you were born. It was a tough time for the house and the people in it, but hey... we all survived one way or another and you did too.
You're not quite what I'd call a "young man" yet, but you're well on your way and while, from time to time, I may not have exactly set the best example for you to follow, I hope that I've done a good enough job on my part to steer you in the right direction and let you take the captain's wheel for your own eventually. You don't realize this too much yet, but life goes by very, very quickly. Your three month break from school over summer vacation... on that very first day, I'm sure it feels like it'll stretch on for miles for you. When you get to be your father's age, three months is gone in a blink of time.
So enjoy it, son... enjoy it while you can. Go running barefoot in the rain puddles. Blow bubbles in the moonlight and in the middle of winter. Play Magic and use your water pistols and pretend you're shooting aliens invading the neighborhood. Be a kid. Everyone grows up real damn fast nowadays. (Shhh... don't tell your mom I said a bad word in that last sentence).
The older we get, the more lessons we learn, and hope against hope you never, ever stop learning - no matter how old you get. You're never too old to learn.
I've been collecting - for quite some time now - some of the things I've learned in life. To be honest, some of those lessons keep on changing and getting sharper as I grow older, even now. But I've been writing them down... the serious, honest truths as I know them, for you and Chloe to read and maybe re-read, long after I'm gone.
But for now... a few highlights as you're on your way to starting your ascension into being a young man.
• Follow your heart.
If it's something you're passionate about... no matter if it's a girl or skateboarding or writing or playing Yugoslavian Backgammon... if it excites YOU... then do it. Don't ever feel bad about it... it's no one else's passion but YOURS... and if it makes you happy, then go after it. You're not responsible for anyone else's happiness but yours. That doesn't mean you get to be a jerk about things... but it does mean you shouldn't keep yourself from being happy just because someone else will be upset about it.
• Read books.
Doesn't matter what they're about. Read about ancient Egyptians or the world's most poisonous snakes. Read about how Harry Houdini got out of handcuffs or how people raise herds of Llamas... doesn't matter. Just keep reading. Keep learning. It's good for your head. It's good for your heart too.
• Know what it's like to catch rain water falling into a coffee cup outside... know what it tastes like. It will be one of those memories you have as a young boy that you remember for the rest of your life.
• Always bet on black. (I'll explain when you get older)
• Never, ever under appreciate the smell of fresh cut hay. I know you didn't grow up on a farm, but nevertheless, it's a smell you'll always remember. (If I have failed you as a father thus far in not allowing you to smell fresh cut hay, please let me know and I will fix this next cutting).
• Just because you don't know HOW to do something... doesn't mean you can't LEARN to do it.
Well, Sauce... those are a handful of highlights right now. I hope you had an amazing day today. I'm proud of you... for so many reasons. Some of them you know (like writing that short story in school that the teacher called "inappropriate for school" but I thought was really cool). I'm proud of you for teaching yourself how to rip stick so well. For playing Magic like you're some kind of world domination determined mad man.
I'm proud of you for a lot of reasons, son. But I look at you some days and I see the man you'll become. I'm proud of him already, even though I haven't met him yet. But I will.
I love you, Sauce. Happy Birthday.