April 20, 2012
Dude (get it, bro?),
So, upon seeing your face on Tuesday, I can't tell who you look like, but I do know that you're not a wooly mammoth (unless tusks develop out of the womb). As your mother has kindly mentioned on here, you're not going to have a 5/8/2012 birthday. May Day it is! I learned that you will share (provided you don't arrive early) a birthday with Tim McGraw and Dann Florek (Captain Kragen from SVU). Isn't that kind of lame? I mean, May 1 seems like a pretty cool birthday and the second-best famous person born on your birthday is a C-minus list actor on a watered down drama.
Since learning that slice of information mid-day yesterday, I've come to decide that you definitely have great things in store for you!
The years that lead up to making a baby, you'll always wonder... 'What will they look like?', 'Will they have my personality?', 'Will they laugh at my jokes?', 'What will they be when they grow up?', 'Will he pee on me?', 'Will they lie to me in seventeen years when I find 850 extra miles on the odometer one weekend?'.
Where I'm getting is, you never think negatively about your future when it comes to kids. It's true! Yes, there have been times in my life that I've speculated about my own demise, this happens once you become an adult... you go from all the hopes and dreams of your childhood and reality sets in. Then you hope you don't become some destitute nomad wandering the streets in a seedy neighborhood in West Philadelphia, panhandling and eating cold dinners at the rear of a two-star Italian restaurant. (Not that I ever saw myself doing that... you know, in general).
The memories of my childhood through teen years are still vivid in my mind. Not a day goes by that I'm not in awe of how quickly time has passed. I remember your great-grandparents when they were your grandparents age. I remember your grandparents when they were new to the game, much like Mom & I. Just yesterday, I recalled the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and the Branch Davidian incident, being seventeen and nineteen years ago, respectively, and I can still tell you exactly what I was doing on both of those serene spring days. Those years are lifetimes for some people!
Around the time of those incidents, I spent countless hours honing my jump shot in the driveway after school. I envisioned myself as a 6'8" swingman one day, earning a scholarship to UNC (the Buckeyes weren't too good in those days), and ultimately arriving in the NBA, sporting the #44 for my beloved Boston Celtics (who were also a joke at the time). Yes, at one time, my dreams saw me reach the pinnacle. The lottery jackpot for a storied basketball franchise. I could ramble off my stats and awards (Rookie of the Year, Finals MVP, 3-point shooting champ at the All-Star game, Humanitarian awards, etc.).
I held on to this dream much longer than I should have. In my eighth grade recognition ceremony, I subtly mentioned that I would be an FBI agent (along with nine other students at BLMS), just so I didn't appear to be a dreamer in front of hundreds of parents and peers. (I never seriously considered a career in the FBI).
Around the time I reached high school, I came to terms that the odds of the storied basketball recruit would go by the wayside, but still held out hope that I could become a walk-on at a mid-level school... maybe a BG, OU, or heck, Ball State?! I learned through these formative years that I was much better at golf, and POOF!, I was now morphing the dream into being a PGA professional.
Sparing you the details of that dream, let's just say, the first time you and I hit the links, you'll see why I never cut it as a serious contender on the Tour. I have come to learn on my nearly 1/3 of a century on this earth, that these hopes, these dreams, as silly and far-out as they seem... they're what keep us going.
You're now my hope and my dream. I don't know what that entails. I would love to see you excel at everything you do. It would be so cool to fly in your own plane. Or walk through a state-of-the-art building you designed. Or watch your first big league at-bat. Or hear you play a piano in front of your first big-time audience.
These past 37 weeks have made me realize that no matter what, when I hear that first cry... I'll get to fulfill a lifelong dream (and I'll probably cry too).