Sean turns 10 today, and this is my birthday message to him.
Let’s start with the appropriate mood music, a song you are very fond of:
You entered the world on Earth Day, 10 years ago. Wow. A full decade.
As I wrote to you last year, you were graced with a beautiful Mom and a Dad with just a few kinks in him. I would always try to hide my OCD, depression and addictive behavior from you, but I wasn’t always good at that. You didn’t seem to mind. In fact, you helped me get well.
I’ll try to avoid the history lesson for the rest of this letter, though I’ll probably cave to the urge to compare you at 10 to me at 10. Those who want more of a history can read the note I wrote for your birthday last year.
Today, I get so much joy from this stage of your life.
I take delight in your Star Wars fascination, because I had the same fascination when I was 10. Come to think of it, when I was 10, “The Empire Strikes Back” came out.
That makes me pretty old.
But your interest in all things Star Wars makes me feel young again.
I’ll tell you something else: The Star Wars Lego sets you’ve been collecting are far more elaborate than anything that was available when I was your age. In fact, Legos were just a bunch of blocks from what I remember.
I had quite the collection of Star Wars toys at your age. It’s a shame I eventually destroyed those toys, because it would have been fun passing them along to you. But that’s OK. These Lego Star Wars sets are far more interesting.
The fact that you have to build them is perfect for a kid like you. You’re a natural engineer. You put these things together at the speed of light.
There are some things about you entering the double digits that’s hard for me to adjust to. For starters, you no longer like all the cute nicknames I tend to give you. Cute is no longer cool. Especially if we’re anywhere near your friends.
For a guy who shows affection by needling people, that’s not going to be easy for me to adapt to.
But I will.
One of the cool things about you being 10 is that you’ll probably get to see a couple more PG-13 movies. A while back, when Duncan was at his cousin’s house and it was just me and you, I let you watch “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” and you declared it the best day of your life. Who knows? Maybe this year you’ll get to see the Indiana Jones movies. You already know the stories, because you digested the book adaptations in just a couple days.
You know what else I love about you at this age? You’re taking a liking to my music. I think it’s the coolest thing that you want to hear the bands I listen to. I’m especially tickled that you like Thin Lizzy, because to like that band is to exist at an advanced level of coolness.
I’m also proud of the job you’re doing as Duncan’s big brother. Sure, you guys fight a lot. All siblings do. But when Duncan is in pain, you’re always right there comforting him. You gleefully share all your interests with him, and he sops it up like a sponge.
You were far less enthusiastic about joining the local Scout pack than Duncan was, but you’re warming up to it and I’m happy to see that.
You used to be afraid to try those things. I remember when you were reluctant to go camping with your grandparents.
Now you’ll try just about anything, even when you don’t think you’ll enjoy it.
That’s called facing your fears. You conquer your fears with each new experience, and words can’t adequately describe how proud of you that makes me.
I’ve always been proud of you, of course.
But on your 10th birthday, I wanted to tell you so again.
I doubt you’ll mind.
I love you, kid.
April 21, 2011, 6:45 a.m.