Today marks a major milestone in my life, my dad’s life, and So Long Freedom. Today I am 33 years old and 14 days. My dad is 14 days shy of being 66. I am exactly half his age. 33 years ago my dad was 33, same age as me, and I was a 2 week old baby in his arms. I am standing in his shoes…looking up at him…looking at Max, and it is an amazing feeling to understand where fatherly love comes from. Fitting that today’s post also marks the 200th post on So Long Freedom. So instead of a post, here is a letter:
I’m standing in your shoes today…though they are a little tight on me as I passed you in height and shoe size when I was 13. Max has gone from a baby to a toddler in the past few weeks and it has been both amazing and bitter-sweet. I can’t believe he is going to grow up to be a person like me, like you, like whoever…a man. I often feel like I’m just playing house…pretending to be a man. Driving my pretend car around, going to my pretend job, and coming home to my pretend family. I can’t be a man…I was a just a kid…and you are a man. Yet, here I am. Standing in your shoes. I’m not playing house. I have a great job, my family is amazing, and I am tackling the responsibilities of life with courage and vigor. I’m 33 years old and 14 days. I’m a man.
I don’t think of “being a man” as how strong my handshake is, how much money I make, and how I can provide for my family. I consider myself a man because I have a relationship with my wife where we treat each other as equals and lean on each other for support. I consider myself a man because I’m not afraid to show my emotions. I consider myself a man because I try to set a good example for my son but I permit myself to be fallible as all humans are. I consider myself to be a man because I’m living by the example of one of my greatest hero’s: You.
I’m exactly half your age today. I’m 33 years old and 14 days. In 33 years and 14 days I will be the same age as you are now. If you were 33 today you would be one of my best friends…if I were 14 days shy of turning 66 I’d be your best friend as well. I only hope I can accomplish what you have in the next 33 years…I don’t mean financial success. I mean growth as a person. I hope I can be as patient, caring, loving, and resilient as you are. I’m a grown up…but I’m not all grown up.
When I grow up…I want to be just like you. I love you Dad, happy almost birthday. Your son,
p.s. I have more hair at 33 than you did at 33.