To Shane on his 23rd Birthday
That’s you circa 1993. Today you turned 23 and you’re now officially older than I was when you were born in 1990. Thankfully you haven’t made me a grandfather yet because I’m not psychologically prepared for that big ugly mortality check. But you know what? I think you’ll make a great dad one day when the time is right. Because, you see, your heart is genuinely in a good place. I think that’s a testament to your character because you had one tumultuous childhood. Yet somehow, you’ve grown up to become a young man that I’m really rather quite proud of. Even if you’re losing your hair like your crazy old dad. Why are you a fantastic young man? Because you work your ass off every single day to make money for yourself.
You have a remarkable work ethic. You’re a great guy because you have a sense of humor that can light up the room with laughter when you let it out. I’m proud of you because you’re the kind of man who thinks about what needs to be said before saying it rather than one who flaps his gums at every opportunity. (I was that guy at your age. Ask your mother.)
I’m proud of you for a thousand and ten reasons that would put most people to sleep, but mostly, I’m proud of you for your resiliency amid life’s ups and downs. I wish that your life won’t have ’em … but God knows, it’ll flatten you when you’re least expecting it so keep your guard up. Just be wise, son.
And dream big, huge, massive dreams. Okay? Do that for your dad. Those dreams of what might be will sustain you when things look bleak. You can accomplish so much and I hope that you aim for your heart’s desire. It took me twenty more years to figure that one out. Hell, I got four books published and I’m an idiot. You’re way smarter than me, so imagine what you can accomplish!!
One last thing, kiddo: your father loves you and always will. Got it?