Dear Jackson,

November 15, 2009

Childhood friends

Filed under: Birth to 1 year-old, Life lessons — Tags: , , , — aJOHNymous @ 4:06 pm

On October 10, you were baptized. You also got a party thrown in your honor and met one of your “uncles” for the first time. Unfortunately, you’ll never remember it. There’s lots of pictures, though—and I remember it clearly.

I remember handing you to Jake and stepping back to watch as the two of you both met each other for the first time. It was an absolutely surreal moment. All at once, a flood of childhood memories entered my mind as the two of you just stared at each other and smiled.

I suddenly remembered all those days when we were in sixth grade and didn’t have a care in the world. I remembered the time we drove a riding lawnmower through his neighbor’s field. I remembered playing X-Men on the Sega Genesis. I remembered recess after lunch. I remembered it all. They were bittersweet memories—all of them. Now here you were: my child in the arms of one of my childhood friends. It was truly a moving sight.

Most friends will come and go from your life without you even realizing it’s happened. You go to a new school, you make new friends. You graduate from school, you say goodbye to friends. You get a job, you make new friends. It’s an endless cycle. I just hope that you’re lucky enough to have a few friendships that will last a lifetime. There is nothing more rewarding than having a friend by your side who has seen you in your most vulnerable state and been able to help you through it—multiple times. You may not always be able to see them or even share the same zip code as them, but when you need them—they are always there.

Jake currently lives in Las Vegas. He’s not exactly a stone’s throw away from Wisconsin, but when I called him and asked him to be your Godfather, he did not hesitate to book a flight and get here as soon as he could. That’s a true friend. We don’t really talk all that often, but when we do, it’s never awkward. We’ve both seen each other through some of life’s toughest obstacles as well as been there to celebrate its triumphs. I consider him my brother. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but we’ve always been able to stay friends. I hope you’ll be lucky enough to have a friend or two like Jake.

I could literally go on and on for a few hours about my best friends, but I won’t. There are some things you are just going to have to find out for yourself. I’ll say this though: if you ever want to hear about some of the shit we’ve pulled over the years, grab a few beers (when you’re old enough) and I’ll be more than happy to reminisce about the “good old days”. That’s the sort of thing that I love doing with my dad right now. He’s got some awesome stories and there’s nothing better than just sitting next to him, cracking a few cold ones, and simply listening. I cannot wait to have those moments with you. That’s why I’m saving my best stories for later.

***

We spend so much of our youth wishing that we’d grow up that we sometimes forget to just sit back and enjoy the ride. It never really hits you until it’s too late. There’s no going back. All you have left are memories. You can never truly appreciate your youth until you no longer have it. It’s one of life’s cruelest lessons to learn, but we all have to learn it eventually. I can sit here and tell you every single day of your childhood to just relax and enjoy it while you can, but you won’t listen because you won’t understand. You will someday, though. It’s always one of the toughest pills to swallow but we all have to do it eventually.

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