A Letter to My Son on His 14th Birthday
Read this on galpod.com.
My, how you’ve grown this year. You’re almost as tall as your father, and I barely recognise you when you wear your CCF uniform.
But, even though you look very (VERY!) different to the chubby-cheeked cherub I still remember (I’ll show you a picture), your essence is unchanged. I was reading previous letters, and the same things repeat every year: your love of music, your curiosity, your courage to try new things, your friendliness and kindness. It may be that I can’t think of anything new to write. But I think it’s because I can see this thread through the years.
I remember you singing, mimicking anything and everything you heard, from Sesame Street and nursery rhymes to Israeli rock songs we’d played for you. I remember when you started playing the piano, chubby fingers straining to reach the keys. I remember telling you that carrying a cello around would be challenging, but you wanted to learn how to play it anyway. And I watch you now, playing the piano as elegantly as a concert pianist, carrying your guitar or trombone for band practice, humming all the time. I listen to everything you play for me, things you write and things you like. I love how you find beauty in classical music as well as electronic and heavy metal.
I remember having to answer your questions. You no longer ask me these questions, but your curiosity remains. You’ve simply realised I don’t know the answers (I never pretended to know them), so you look for them online. You decided to work on your public speaking and stage presence, and before we managed to look around, you gave a talk at school. By the time this letter is published, you’ll have given your very first TED talk. I absolutely admire your courage to try out things.
I remember your friend from preschool (even though you claim to remember, you don’t). I remember how you laughed together and how he beelined for you when he came to daycare. I remember you ranking your friends for me on one of our talks, and I told you that I love that you’re telling me this, but maybe some of your friends might be offended to learn they’re not your best friend. I remember how quickly you made new friends. And I watch you now, hanging out with your friends (some taller than you, even!), and I listen to your conversations, and they are as goofy as they were when you were eight, if a bit more worldly.
This thread is important to me. Ancient wisdom tells us we can’t step into the same river twice: the river changes, and we change. You certainly change a lot as you grow. But I love that this thread of musicality, kindness, and curiosity is still there, even after all these years. I love how thoughtful you are, how considerate, and how strongly you feel about the school's values. I love that you’re still goofy, and I love our conversations. I’m entirely flabbergasted as to how your dad and I produced such an outstanding young man.
For the sentimental: A list (with links) of all letters to my son to date.
I've taken a few (planned) weeks off for the school half term. The writing sessions and newsletter will resume in November. If you want to join the writing sessions, don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter to get the link.