When you were young, I made you eat more of your food when you didn’t want to. I thought you were being too picky;

I wanted you to play more wildly on the playground. I thought you were being too cautious;

I told you to go outside and play with your friends more often. I thought you were being too introverted;

I wanted you to tear open your presents. I thought you were opening them to slowly;

I wanted you to stop rubbing your hands together so much. I thought you were being too fidgety;

I wanted you to speak up and speak louder. I thought you were being too quiet and too soft spoken, but I noticed;

Now you are almost 18 and I am blown away at who you’ve become.

Just when I thought you were going to be picky, it turns out you think thoroughly about your options and you make strong, calculated decisions.

When I thought you were going to be too cautious, it turns out you are known, even amongst adults, for how wise you are.

When I thought you were going to be too introverted, it turns out there are only a select few that you will let into your circle, and even in that group, you stand out because of your talents and gifts and you elevate your peers.

When I thought you were going to move too slowly, it turns out its in your nature to be stress free, not bound by every border, relaxed and happy, and never rushed or full of anxiety.

When I thought you were going to be too fidgety, it turns out it was me, making you self-conscious. But now, you have the confidence of a bull charging the red target, but the poise and grace of an eagle.

And when I thought you were going to be too quiet and too soft spoken, it turns out you are a man of peace, but one who is not to be messed with, one who will defend and go into battle for what’s right without hesitation. A man who is to be admired, a man’s man. One who speaks up when something needs to be said, and one who is respected and we pay attention when you are talking.

You are my first and only son, and I tried to raise you to the best of my abilities. You’ve become an amazing young man, and for anything that I have done wrong, I am sorry. I want you to know how proud I am of you, and that everything I have ever done or said over the past almost 18 years was 100% with the intent to show you how much I love you, how much I care about you, and to try to give you as many tools as I could, to prepare you for the days that are right before your eyes.

You blow me away by who you’ve become, and you make me proud.

Love dad

I'm a married man of 18 years. We have three kids, 2 girls and a boy, and I'm a 17-year active duty military service member. I've always been a critical thinker and a close listener to what people are saying. I love to read and watch videos for personal and professional development. There's a ton of information out there and it doesn't always synchronize, so I enjoy the conversations that can develop from it. This is why I decided to share my thoughts and open the conversations to the world online. We can all become better through these discussions because there's always a different perspective.

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