My list for Santa is a little different than most.
I want my 7 year-old son to never lose his innocence. He has a huge heart and a sweet smile that I hope survives whatever adolescence and adulthood challenges cross his path.
I want my 16 year-old son to achieve his dreams while staying safe. My boy has proven his willingness to serve here in Boston and in the slums of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He has his heart set on West Point and politics beyond that. He is determined as he is good. I worry as any father would about him being in harm’s way.
I want my 18 year-old daughter to find her place and thrive at college. Freshman year is a huge transition for anybody, but it seems to be even more than in the past. My daughter is the bookish, theatrical, spirited kind of young woman who needs to find “her people” to prosper. She is on her way but I want that transition to continue so her voice is loud and clear with the words of enthusiasm she is capable.
I want my wife to know how much she is unconditionally loved by me. The average marriage in this country lasts seven years. We will be celebrating our tenth anniversary a couple days after Christmas. I honestly love my wife more every day I am with her. She is my rock. And the most beautiful woman I have ever met.
I want to laugh my ass off, until it hurts, with my closest friends. As I approach 50 (I’ll be 48 in a couple weeks) I realize that very little in life matters as much as having friends who accept me without judgment and see humor even in my Eeyore tendencies. You know who you are.
I’d like to write just one thing that makes a real difference. I have written plenty. And I can never predict what the impact of my words will be. Sometimes I really think I am onto something and it’s like shouting into a howling wind. Other times I throw together that seems trivial and it takes on a life of it’s own. But my goal is always the same: connecting my soul to that of my reader.
I want to read books. Not the ebook kind but the hardcover paper and ink ones that smell of big words and far away lands. Books that challenge my mind and my heart. Books that teach me to think broadly and reflect more carefully. And not just non-fiction, which is my tendency. Great novels that speak to the human condition.
I want to ride my bike. For the last several years my college buddies and I have taken to road biking up crazy mountains as a form of group bonding and middle-aged discipline. The preparation for these trips keeps me fit and the rides themselves test my body while reconnecting the male bonds that are so important to me.
I’d like to remember that I have and am enough. Tall enough, handsome enough, smart enough. Enough stuff. Enough love. Enough strength. Enough courage. Enough money. Enough health. Enough everything. There is no race here. Just the breathing in of a really good thing.
I want to keep seeing the world from a different perspective. I get enormous pleasure, and inspiration, from listening to and writing about people whose lives are vastly different from my own. In our difference, I find our commonality is that much more profound. It renews my faith in mankind. And myself.