Today’s post is an open letter to my son on the occasion of his first birthday. I had been diligently writing him letters from the moment we found out my wife was pregnant with him. Unfortunately, we had our house broken into and my old laptop with all those letters was among the things we had taken from us. I learned a painful lesson that night about backing up my work. Stuff can be replaced, but those thoughts and memories I had recorded cannot. That event was part of the inspiration for starting this blog and why I’ve decided to write a letter to him every year on his birthday.
It’s seems a little surreal to me that as I write this letter to you that a year has already passed since the first time we saw your little face. After the months of anticipation you finally arrived in our lives and things have never been the same.
I’m your biggest fan
All any father wants for their child is the best that life has to offer, and I am certainly no different. There are obviously a lot of life lessons I intend to teach you with respect for your mother being one of most important ones. I can’t even begin to explain the sacrifices she has made for you both before and after you were born.
Aside from the many life lessons that there are to share, it will also be part of my job to build up your confidence in yourself. There isn’t anything that you can’t do in this life if you put your mind to it. All you need is determination, confidence and the right strategy to get you where you want to be. While I may not always understand your dreams, or know the best way to get you there, I’ll always be your biggest fan rooting you on. Sometimes I’ll have to play the role of disciplinarian, but only to help steer you back on the right path.
We all have dreams – some big, some small. No matter how hard we try not all our dreams come true. Still that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make them a reality. You can never reach that for which you don’t achieve. My advice to you will always be to dream big.
As your father I hope to resist the temptation of dreaming for you because that isn’t fair to you. This is your life and I want you to live it for you, be the man you are destined to become by following the passions that drive you. And though you may not have the same dreams as me, I do hope that you can learn from the mistakes I have made.
It would also be irresponsible of me to expect you to fulfill the dreams that I failed to realize on my own. Let’s be honest, you aren’t going to inherit any athletic prowess from me, which means you probably aren’t going to play middle linebacker for the Patriots either.
Now your life begins
The day after you were born I received a text message from a good friend and her message was this: “Now your life begins.” Caught up in the moment of being a new father I thought it was a nice message, but I hadn’t really reflected upon what she meant until after the first few months of your life. Whether it is the experience that comes with time or an appreciation for the responsibilities of being a parent, I now realize how right she was.
It has taken me all of my nearly thirty five years on this earth to find my place in the world. When I was younger I had imagined a life much different than the one I have, and only now with the wisdom of experience, do I realize that what I had wanted wasn’t right for me. I failed myself by not following my passions then, but I am determined to not make the same mistake twice. All I can ask of you is that you be honest with yourself, understand your strengths and find happiness in the gifts you have been given.
No matter where your life takes you, what profession you choose or where you live remember this: Life isn’t about what you have, but who you have with you. I didn’t pay much attention to this when I was younger, which can be attributed to the arrogance and ignorance of youth. It wasn’t until I met your mother that I realized everything I thought I needed was not truly essential to my happiness.
I was fortunate in that my life began again with your birth. This past year has easily been the most exciting and rewarding of my life and I have you to thank for it.
And so it is with this renewed happiness that I wish you a happy first birthday little man. Your mother and I love you even more than we ever could have thought possible.