Today is Larry Potter's 9th birthday, which means I only have 9 more years to convince him he doesn't know it all before he legally becomes an adult. Inspired by Tina Fey's "A Prayer for my Daughter," I have written LP a letter imparting my wisdom. Or whatever is standing in for my wisdom these days.
Today, you are halfway to manhood. That scares me on so many levels. On one hand, you are my baby, my first born and I want you to always be 5 years old and holding my hand. On the other hand, sometimes I want to lobby to Congress to make the age of emancipation 8 and-a-half. It's a mixed bag.
I hope in your life you learn what makes you happy quicker than most, that way you won't learn by process of elimination what doesn't. Trust me, it's a lot easier that way. For both of us.
I want you to experience things because you want to, not because your peers do, you see it on TV, it's advertised on a billboard, or you see someone "cool" doing it. Advertising agencies depend a lot on the dumbness of kids, and you are way to bright to succumb to their brainwashing.
Anything involving a needle isn't going to do what you think it's going to do, whether it's a tattoo or an earring. Yes, I have a tattoo. It didn't do what I thought it was going to do.
My hope for you is to always be the nerd you are and be true to that side of your life. Nerd is not a derogatory term. You are only 9, but I can tell you in the big picture that will be your life, nerds do better. I don't care what the "cool" kids are doing or what they have. If you stay on your trajectory, you will make 5 times what they will, and be 10 times happier. Money won't buy you happiness, but happy people make more.
Someday when you're in middle school and go through all those middle school changes, do not attempt to shave in-between your eyebrows.
If you decide to drink before you're of legal age, you best check there is no one there with a camera. Facebook is a blessing, but it can also be a curse. And I have ways of hacking your passwords.
I don't think I'm going to punish you in the traditional ways my parents punished me, because A.) I'm a lot more creative than they were and B.) it didn't do me much good. If I need to make my point by having you shoot a YouTube video apology or make you choreograph (and perform) a dance to my favorite song, then so be it. It really sucks having a creative mom sometimes.
Always have a pet, whether it's a goldfish or a tiger. Knowing something is depending on you to feed it does wonders for that urge to just take off for Vegas. Also, you're not going to Vegas.
Please know that whomever you chose in life to be your partner, I will tell them just how awful I intend to be. That person will leave my house the first time scared and wondering if they should stick around. If that person decides to stick around, despite me, you've found a winner. And I will never actually be that awful. I like to play the hero.
One day there will be a shift in power where you and your siblings will start to call each other worrying about me. When that happens, I expect you spearhead any decisions that need to be made. Not that you are solely in power, but rather that you will be the one to make the decisions to make decisions. I don't care that you do have a sister; we are not going to be that family.
Speaking of your brother and sister, though I expect you to be an example for them, I don't expect you to be their only example. Because the better you are, the worse at least one of them will be, just for comparison. You have my permission to let them think you are a bad ass. But I still expect you to narc.
Never buy generic peanut butter.
And finally, when it comes to your education, go as far as you can, but don't miss out on something fun when it happens. You can always re-take a class, but you can't re-make a memory. And you WILL re-take that class.
Happy Birthday, Son.