When you first made this picture you were too young for this conversation. I was so overcome with emotion that I honestly still can’t accurately describe it all to this day. I appreciate you calling me your hero, more than you will ever know. But I don’t want to be your hero. Please do not misread this, you have not been abandoned. I will be here, with you, every step of the way. If you learn nothing else from me, please hold on to this. You need to be your own hero. Your hero should be “Future You”.
Imagine yourself five, ten, twenty years from now. That guy is the person that I want you to look up to. I don’t want you to compare him to anyone else. I don’t want you to give him traits that other people think he should have. Don’t picture him with the wife, husband, family, friends, job, or even hobbies that society thinks he should have. Your hero needs to come from you. Who do you want him to be? What do you want him to do? What kind of people do you want him to surround himself with? Take every opportunity you can to work you way towards becoming “Future You”.
On the flip side. I LOVE that you take pride in making your mother and I proud of you. I have cried more tears of joy as a grown man watching you grow than I ever have for anything else in my life. But, the person that I really want you to focus on making proud is “Yesterday’s You”. Be the person today that Yesterday’s You would want “Today’s You” to be. Be the person today that Yesterday’s You wishes he could become. If I were to put you three in a room together I want Yesterday’s You to be proud. You and him should look at Future You in awe. And Future You should humbly embrace the praise and admiration while taking steps to become his Future You. Focus on these two versions of yourself, but do so without getting tunnel vision.
Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from it and move on. Don’t fix your eyes on the future. Look up, find Future You, plan a route, and start walking. Be the best you today that you can be. Embrace today.
Take in the sights as you move towards your future. You will look back and find that the person you are today is not the one that Yesterday’s You thought you would be, for good and bad reasons. That’s OK, adjust, and keep moving. There will be the occasional side step that takes you off of your path, again, both good and bad. That’s ok, look up, find Future You again, and keep moving. There will even be times when you find that today, becoming Future You isn’t as tempting for you now as it was to Yesterday’s You. That’s OK, re-imagine Future Noodle, change direction, and walk.
Until next time, I love you.
P.S When I referred to my son having a husband that was NOT a typo. The fact that I even feel the need to explain that I would love him regardless of his sexual preference is a little upsetting, but here I am, er, here we are. Anyhoo, moving on, the second time that I saw my son after returning home from Afghanistan was at his back-to-school night, right after veterans day, where he had this picture displayed outside of his classroom. It took everything I had not to burst into tears on the spot.