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The Letter Encouraging the Other Shoe to Drop
Just a quick note to address this almost-walking situation you’ve got going on. You’re so close! I mean, you lean on your little grocery cart and are able to walk all over the house. Same thing with that big plastic car you like so much.
It’s funny. Your mama and I can hear you coming from a mile away. Sometimes it’s your infectious laugh, no doubt. But most of the time, it’s the tell-tale sound emitted by your walker of choice.
But here’s the deal, buddy.
You don’t need the walker. You know how I know? Because when Daddy gets behind you and you reach up and grab his fingers, you walk right along without so much as even a wobble. You’re not using those fingers at all. And if you’d just let go of them, I think you’ll see that.
Still, I get it. I really do. And it’s a problem most of us have. Letting go, that is. I mean, I’m 42 and I still have problems letting go. I still have problems putting one foot in front of the other, as clichéd as that might sound, and having faith that by doing just that, I’ll wind up exactly where I want to be – exactly where I’m meant to be, even.
You know one thing you’ll find as you grow older, Luke? A lot of people are scared to let go. Scared to just go for it. Scared to live the life they want to live, instead choosing to live the one that conventional wisdom deems the most prudent. These people get along just fine for the most part, blissfully unaware they’ve chosen this safer route, if for no other reason than they’re unaware another route even existed. And many of them are quite happy, indeed.
But part of me still feels sorry for them, Luke. They never take chances. They never do anything unpredictable. They lack flair. They lack originality.
And, sure, they may walk just fine, but they’ve never let go of the fingers.
There’s a lot you could say about a guy like me. I mean, my walk through this life hasn’t exactly been the most conventional one. But you know what it has been?
It’s been mine, little man. All mine.
And that’s what I want for all my children. For them to find their own path. For them to take complete ownership of it. Exactly why, in fact, I’m encouraging you to let go of my fingers.
So that you can go wherever it is that you want to go, Luke. Not wherever it is that I decide you should go.
I know. It’s scary. You might fall, right? But don’t worry. I promise I’ll be right there to pick you up. Not just now while you’re getting the hang of it, either. But any time you fall. At any age you happen to find yourself on the ground. That’s my job, Luke. To offer you my strong and loving hand when you need it most, so that you might use it to help yourself back up. To regain your bearings. To steady yourself. Till you’re ready to let go again.
And let go again, you must. I insist.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be there all along. Every day, in fact, till it’s time for you to go off to college. And in that time, I’ll make sure that you’re headed in the right direction. A positive direction. A worthwhile and fulfilling one.
But that’s about all the guidance I’ll provide. Oh, sure, I’ll introduce you to the many things I love so much – like backpacking through the mountains and building the perfect campfire. Perhaps my penchant for giving thought to thinking – it’s a lost art, you know. Maybe even my love affair with expressing oneself via the written word. And if any of it takes, so be it.
But I won’t force anything upon you. Nor will I have any preconceived notion of where you “should be,” much less when you’re to arrive at these non-existent checkpoints.
Because this path belongs to you, Luke. Trust me — it’ll be more beautiful this way. So don’t look to me for specific input on which turns to take and which to pass up.
You look inside your heart for that. Even so, you won’t be going it alone. Because if I do my job as your dad the right way? That’s exactly where I’ll always be.
Inside your heart, son.
So trust it. Okay? I promise it won’t let you down.