I wish my son pain, suffering, struggling, humility, respect, influence...and then happiness.
I wish Brady pain - I want him to skin his knee riding a bike, experience the loss of a pet. To have his first girlfriend break his heart and feel a heavy heart when a coach or teacher tells him he's not good enough. I want him to know that life hurts, life throws you down, things aren't fair and nothing is free. There will be pain and hurt, disappointment and regret, but with the power of hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. Work hard and don't succumb to pain, you will be rewarded.
Some people get too caught up in the belief that a parent's role in their child's life is to give them the world. To give them everything one possibly can. Nothing, and I mean nothing that I've stated above is meant to hurt Brady...only to make him stronger than he knows he can be, confident in the person that he becomes and successful one day. Facing pain and struggle but enduring through it will make him stronger. When an asshole coach tells him he's not good enough, or a teacher tells him he'll just never get it and gives up on him, I want him to look inside himself and dig deep. To know that he can come to his parents for comfort but to know that we won't fix it for him. To know that they're wrong and that he can do anything he puts his mind to...he can do anything that he works at hard enough. He can push harder, he can fight harder and he can control his life. No one can tell him what he can or can't do (...including how to take a bath...enter exhibit 1)
I wish Brady humility. I want Brady to understand that no matter how good he is or what he overcomes, there is always someone out there who is better. Brady will never think that he is the rockstar of any team, because he needs to know that without his team, he would have no success...yet, I do want him to enjoy and appreciate being at the top of anything he does, because at any moment he can fall to the bottom and be in someone else's shoes.
I wish Brady respect. That includes respecting others but also gaining the respect of others. I want Brady to understand that you don't start life being respected, you have to prove that you deserve respect. I want him to know that you listen. Even if you don't agree, listen and give the same respect that he wants to others he might encounter.
I wish Brady influence. I wish that one day, Brady will inspire others, or even one person. I want him to be the one who stands up for the person being bullied, the one who does the right thing. I want him to stand up for himself and when he wins whatever battle he's standing for, to inspire others to stand up for themselves as well.
And finally, I do truly wish my son happiness. One thing I've noticed over the past week is that I am extremely fortunate to have a happy, joyful, independent and determined little boy. Though not my baby anymore (and though he certainly has his "moments"), this little guy fills myself with so much happiness time and time again, day in and day out. His little giggles, whether at lunch time or 2 AM melt my heart. I hope that this boy's giant heart is always filled with overwhelming joy and happiness. I hope that he finds joy in the small things later in life, as well. Watching waves lap upon his legs brings pure joy to his face today, I hope that in 20 years, he still finds joy in the small things in life. I hope that, one day, when he has a family of his own, this Thanksgiving table is full of laughter and happiness. I want him to live a life of no real regrets so that in his last days in this life, he can look back and know that none of the pain, suffering and struggling that was endured was wasted. That it was all for a purpose and that he lived a life full of love, joy, honor and integrity.
And those, my baby boy, are my wishes for you. Follow your own path, but never forget where you're going and where you've come from.