To my first-born child on the day that you become an official adult,
There are so many things that I would like to say to you, to ensure that you have heard, that you KNOW deep inside of you. So many topics that I find myself wondering, “Did I teach him that? Did we cover this? Will he know what to do, what is expected?”
I find that for most of these situations, you consistently rise to the occasion, and more often than not exceed what I had in mind.
Moving forward into your adult life, I would ask that you carry these thoughts with you:
- Be kind. You may not always be the best at what you attempt. Life will not always go the way that you would like, and others will most definitely hurt you at some point. Choose to be kind. You will like yourself much more and have fewer regrets in life.
- Always tip your server. Even if the service is less than perfect. Even if the food stinks. People have off days, and the service industry is hard, be forgiving.
- Forgive others. People will hurt you at times. Don’t make that hurt into a coat and wear it around. Process it, deal with it, take steps to not be hurt again, and let go of it. That pain will only hurt you and cloud your vision, it will not affect the other person at all.
- Follow your own path. You were made to walk this world as an individual, not as a cookie cutter. Set your own goals, make your own plans, follow your dreams.
- Travel often. Travel far. This world that God has made for us is amazing and breathtaking. Go see it. Find the places and views that calm your soul. Take pictures to remember, but more importantly, be present in the moment. I wish for you to have roots to know where you came from but embrace the ability to leave as you see fit.
- Be present. With friends, with family, at work, with nature, be present. Put the phone down, embrace the situation, make the memories.
- Call your grandparents. All of them. At this moment you have 4 biological and 2 bonus grandparents, all living and reasonably healthy. Please recognize what a gift this is, how rare it is. Call them, go to lunch, take a walk. You will never regret that time spent with them. They have literally decades of information to share with you. It may not seem relevant now, but you will long for it sooner than any of us would like to admit.
- Hold your siblings close. The relationships you have with them are unique and special. As their oldest brother, they love you more than you can know. Keep that relationship tight, no matter where life takes you. You will need it at some point, and it will be best if you do not have to rebuild it.
- Find your voice. Speak your truth, even if it makes others uncomfortable. That is where you will find the truest, most authentic version of yourself.
- Never stop playing. Adult life is about to hit you pretty hard, remember to play. Laugh, tell stories, be silly. That is where the memories are made. Remember to dance in the rain, make snow angels, lay in the grass and watch the clouds.
- Consent matters. Both your consent and that of your partner are equally important. Have the awkward conversations, and if you cannot, then walk away.
- You are LOVED. Above all, remember who you are, and where you come from. You are loved beyond measure by so many, me included. Whether you make millions and change the world, or live a quiet subdued life, your value does not increase or decrease based on such measures. Your value lies inside of you and was placed there by God. You are loved, treasured, and valued.
Eldest male child, watching you grow to this point has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Through you, I have learned so very much about myself and the world. From the days of Barney and the Big Comfy Couch to monthly late-night movie dates, and everything in between.
I have laughed at your antics and cried over your hurt. You are the most like me of all of my children, and I understand your struggles in a way that I can feel in my very cells. You have more strength inside of you than you know.
As you look back on your childhood, both pre and post divorce (as they seem to be 2 very distinct versions) please know that through it all, no matter what, you were loved.
From cookies after school to sharing custody, every moment with you was a blessing, and I would not change a single thing.
Happy Birthday, welcome to being an adult.