For Eddie

Some thoughts from a 16 year old to her 10 year old brother

First off, congrats. You’ve reached a milestone. Heck, even I’m at a milestone. Actually, reaching 16 is more of like a scream-in-my-face reminder that I’m almost an adult and that I need to get my act together because I’m not so far away from taking on the world on my own. Not to mention that I can start driving and change my name now. Still can’t buy spray paint though. Damn. 16 was a lot less anticlimactic than I thought it would be. So don’t get your hopes up about being 10 either. Real milestones are made by lifetime memories, not increasing in age.

I’ll sum up it up for you. These next few years for you will just be trying to make sense of this world. But to put it out bluntly, THE WORLD JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Even I haven’t figured out the world yet. I do know that you should do what you love, be yourself, and don’t do drugs. Cliché advice that everyone gives.

There’s so much life advice out there that I don’t even know what to tell you. Everyone seems right. Follow your bliss and you’ll find success, prosperity, and happiness. Doesn’t it sound way too easy? It sounds almost boring to me. There’s got to be more to life than just that.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

You probably have already realized it, but our parents are very human.

You know, back when our parents were still together, I didn’t cherish our family quite as much as I would have liked. When mom first brought up divorce, I wanted to be mature and understanding; I wanted her to be happy. Then everything happened so fast. Daddy moved out of the house, mom had to go find a job, and we were just left standing there while this whirlwind of chaos broke our family apart.

At the time, I only cared about my own happiness, and because I was a teenager, I was allowed to do that. All I wanted was for our parents to get back together and create a happy home again. So when I reached the groundbreaking revelation that my parents were not the superheroes I had once looked up to, I completely toppled. I realized that they’ve been more wrong than right about a lot of things, and that divorce did not seem to solve any problems. In fact, you watched me fall apart. My grades fell, my health fell, I fell. I stopped caring about virtually everything. I hated being ping-ponged back in forth between mom and dad, trying to figure out who was right and who was at fault. I didn’t know who to believe or who to support. I was so lost.

Now look where I am now. I have completely destroyed the relationship with mom, and am spending a lot more time with dad. I miss seeing your face every day. But now I finally understand that dad is really lonely. Since he has limited time to see us, he has realigned his priorities. He went from a working dad to being a parent. He has completely rebuilt his life from scratch, complete with a HUGE house and a new car. And mom? She’s doing her best to hold up this giant house, even though we all know she can’t afford it. It took me a while, but I also acknowledge that she is very lonely. She never stops working, whether that be at her job or as a mom. Nowadays, both seem to be doing just fine in their new lives.

Our parents are flawed. But they’re also really f**king awesome. They tried their very best. I am so proud of them, and you should be too.

You will be okay.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life. Everyone else seems to know though. Some have even chosen a designated path. They know where they’re going and who they want to be. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to follow suit, or if I’m supposed to create my own path. I don’t know if I should follow my bliss, or choose something more stable for my future. All these uncertainties and idon’tknows are blinding me from what’s really out there for me to discover.

The thing is, not knowing what I’m doing with my life is probably the most beautiful way for me to grow as an individual. This is the only time in my life where my only occupation is to learn so that I can someday take something out of it. Being restless provides me the motivation and the stress I need to change. It allows me to treat life as an adventure. In this way, I can keep exploring and become a lifelong learner. I can discover the full extent of my passions and capabilities. Only in this way will I end up in places I never thought I’d go.

You will feel pressured. You will be confused. You will get lost. And that’s okay! You are meant to mess up. Life is so crazy that sometimes miracles come out of mistakes. So just see the music and hear the dance. Breathe it all in. You’ll be okay.

Not everyone is as cool as you.

I don’t know how you did it, how you managed to stay composed and upright despite all our family drama. You are oh so very strong. Kids might judge you for being different, but that’s because they don’t understand. They live simple lives, and you are not about that.

You are also very tender hearted. Not everyone has the same heart as you. You’ll end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them. Unlike most people, Eddie, you have character. You’ve been through a lot more than most people. You know a lot more than you should. You’re not just intelligent — you are incredibly gifted. You think differently than everyone else.

Basically, you’re just super amazing. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. The only problem is, no one else is like you. They will try every which way to bring you down to their level, and make you be more like them. But normal people are scary, man. You do you.

You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. And as I have said before, having separated parents doesn’t break the bond between us two. One can move the sun and dim all the stars and break apart our family, but I will forever love you to no end. I love you so so very much.

Happy birthday Eddie.