I’m sitting in the Rutgers bookstore while you’re across campus, taking placement exams for your fall semester here. I have so many opposing feelings right now, it’s making me dizzy. The strongest feeling is that everything is changing and the dichotomy of excitement and worry is staggering. 18 years ago, I was staring at a newborn with a strong expression of “Holy Shit, what now?” on my face. Today, I hope that we’ve done somewhat of a good job getting you to where you need to be. Mom & I are not perfect and we made mistakes along the way, but I have to say I think you turned out pretty damn good.
I worry that you’ll have the same problems I did, but I remember, you’re not me. I worry that you’re so young to be doing all of this, but I remember, you’re a man now, capable of making your own decisions. I both love and hate that statement because it makes me realize that I need to let you find yourself, find your own path, seek out the things that inspire you and make you happy.
I sometimes forget that you’re not me, and over protect, badger, and generally drive you crazy with all of the “Do this” and “Don’t do that” that I worry that you’ll just turn me off. I’m terrified and proud in equal measure, the terror and anxiety outweighing anything else until I really had an epiphany about the whole situation.
This is your life, your future. From elementary school, you’ve always known that you want to be an engineer. I didn’t have a clue, and even when I did, I didn’t have a plan. You know so much more about yourself than I ever did, and you do have a plan.
I can help, I can advise, but I can’t do it for you. I want to do all of it for you, but then it’s not you, it’s me. Taking myself out of the equation from one of the directors of the play to an advisory role is a difficult and necessary step. I’ll always worry about you, second guess things, think of how I would have handled it. That’s never going to change.
You’ll always be my baby boy. I cherish the moment I caught you in the hospital, but it is time for me to let you figure things out for yourself. Let you discover how you’re going to change the world and make it a better place.
I love you Aidan, I wish you luck, love, and hope that you will use this time to discover the man I know you can be.