I love you. I have loved you since before you were born and I will love you until our respective lives end. You have been a constant source of joy, happiness and wonderment since the beginning. I have loved you in every stage of your life and have enjoyed watching you learn and grow into the amazing person you are now.
On my 18th birthday I woke up in bootcamp being screamed at by my Company Commander. Yours will not be like that. Thank God. No, yours will be “normal”. Which makes me happy.
I can not begin to list all of the accomplishments you’ve achieved that make me proud of you. You are more mature than I was at your age, and, most likely, more mature than I am at my age. You have a dream that you are following with more passion than I’ve ever had for anything. You’ve made more of a mark in your life with your peers than I ever have or even realized until now.
When I was a younger man, much less wiser, much less mature and a lot less responsible; I thought I’d be dead by the time I turned thirty. You were born when I was thirty-two. The reason for me initially not dying when I was thirty was your mother. We were three years steeped in trying to have you. We, I didn’t know there were still two more years of daily shots, weekly trips to Virginia Beach and endless phone calls to the insurance company to cover the incomprehensible expense of fertility treatments.
Your mother went through hell. I just punched a needle in her a couple times a day, then moved on in a macho-type of manner. She suffered, I just donated.
The day Dr. Robin confirmed you’d been conceived is a blur in my memory. I remember your mothers and my excitement on the trip out to the beach. I remember the big smiles on everyones face. I remember the hugs and I remember the weight of worry and stress on my shoulders when that amazing news was delivered.
The stress of “not fucking up”.
It is no secret that my childhood and my teen years were less than perfect. I didn’t have a stable home life. I didn’t know how to communicate. I didn’t even know if I’d be eating my next meal in the same place as my last. I didn’t know if I’d have a bed to sleep in or if I’d have to find a friends couch to sleep on or if I’d sleep in the rail yard.
I know that you’ve never had that issue.
Your mother and I in some cases I, have tried to build safeguards in your life to prevent that. And, the fact that we’ve never had to call upon those safeguards is a testament to your family. Both of us, your mother and me have learned from the success’s and failures of our past and put those lessons to use in the raising of you.
And you’ve done us both proud.
Despite all the things in this life that can and will go wrong, somehow our magic number of three, our family, have succeeded where so many others have failed. Your mothers good heart and my childish outlook have somehow miraculously found their way into you. And you have used those traits to handle just about every stressful, happy and mundane event in your life. It is truly an amazing thing to watch.
With this event, your turning eighteen, you are now legally an adult. You are your own person and there is no decision you make that your mother and I can not stop you from making. Whether those decisions are personal, public, legal or illegal, you are now wholly responsible for your actions.
That scares the hell out of me.
Not because I am afraid of losing you, no, it is because I am afraid I will never be able to protect you. Protect you from heatbreak, pain, assholes and all the bad things in this world. You see, as a parent, as your dad, I have always wanted what is best for you. I’ve wanted you to stay safe and happy. You turning eighteen sort of holds me back from that in a lot of tangible ways. However; I will always be there for you in every intangible way possible.
I have so many fond memories of your life so far. How as an infant I would bundle you up in a stroller and push you around Old Town. As a toddler when you and I would make pancakes. Every first day of school. Rollerblading down High Street. Watching you crawl around the train layout and play with all the houses and people. Watching you skate in the museum when no one else was allowed to. The excitement and anticipation of you going on your first sleep-over. Your first summer in Michigan without your mother or I. Your first heartbreak. Your first script idea and even your first film.
These are just some of the memories I have of you that are playing on a constant loop in my brain. These memories make me happy. Happy because you were took everything in stride and learned from each moment. You somehow managed to avoid most drama of childhood and adolescents and by doing so have become a beacon of trust and maturity to any adult that happens to be in your vicinity. That is a rare quality and you should be proud of yourself.
Well, this is getting long and I feel as if I have been rambling on and on so I am going to try and wrap this up…
Goose, you are my only offspring. My progeny. And while I know having a child is a huge gamble in peoples lives, I don’t think I could have asked for a better person to bring into this world. You are amazing. You may not know it but you have changed the life of every person you’ve ever met for the better and it is my belief that you will continue to do so as you move forward in this world. You have a unique talent of making people comfortable around you and you are genuinely interested in anyone who cares to spend time with you. Most people of this world can’t say that.
There is not much left for me to say just that I will always be here for you and I know you have an amazing future ahead of you.
I love you Goose, I always will.