A Note to My Son: Things that Matter

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As I get older, the things I thought I needed become less relevant.
The shine fades a little and the perceived usefulness is gone.

The achievements that I thought would stand like road markers
are small memories that make me smile at the roads I chose.

But the day you were born stands out in my mind like a crisp
and sunny morning. The kind that wakes you up and embraces you.

I did not think a moment in life could feel like that. That this pride
could somehow be eclipsed by greater moments and new memories.

Holding my newborn son in my hands washed away everything before it.
Fourteen years now I have known you. I’ve watched you grow into more than me.

My dreams are not your dreams, but your dreams are now mine.
I am proud of everything you are and everything you will become.

Even as you reach higher than me and go further than me, you are
another in a line of great men who walked all of this out before you. 

Great sons and great fathers stretching back across the continents, across the years, unlimited by boundaries, borders, ideologies, politics, culture or technology.

They forged something on which you can always lean against in times of trial,
a kind of moving castle, its ramparts the wisdom and honor of those passed on.

They’ll say the world is your oyster, but remember that an oyster makes pearls
from simple ingredients and years and years of hard work.

As you dive into life with all the abandon that only a 14-year-old can muster,
remember who you are and where you came from. Your past will bear you up.

Happy birthday, son. I love you. 


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