Today isn't actually your birthday. It is mine. I have had an abnormally hard time trying to find the time to write your letter on your actual birthday. A lot of things have happened since my last letter. You have become a brother and we have become a family of four. We had an extremely hard time coming up with the name for your brother but since we could not agree on a name we let you name him. You named him Fruit Snack. Just kidding. We did not name him Fruit Snack but that is the name you came up with. Greyson Brooks entered our life and to be honest we were a little worried how you would take to him. I do not know why we were worried because you were so excited when you met him that we just knew the transition would be seamless. We have been in the same home as family for almost 3 years and in that time you have become friends with just about every kid in the neighborhood. It is nice that you have such an outgoing personality and your mother will say that you get that from me although I was not always that way. For the longest time I worried about acceptance. About being accepted by people that at the end of the day just did not really matter. It doesn't matter about being accepted what matters is that you are true to yourself and to your family. You will not understand this until you are older but until then just take my word for it. As your Dad I often wonder what it will take to raise two boys. I wonder what it will take to make sure you are raised to be good men. Here are a few things that I hope to instill in you as your grow up. I want you to be humble without ever saying that "you are humbled" when you win or achieve at something. I want you to know when it is time to say you are sorry when you have done something wrong. I want you to know that things might look easy but in actuality they are not. I want you to do things that I can not do. I want you to go outside and be amazing at whatever you set your heart to. I want you to love God. I want you to be able to hear whenever someone has something negative to say about you. It is not that they are completely wrong but they may view things from a different perspective. I want you to know that perspective is not an actuality but a skewed view point from someone else's life experience. I want you to not be afraid to ask for help. We are only as strong as the things we do not understand. That is good. I hope you find time to be comfortable in solitude. I want you to create. To do something with both sides of your brain. I want you to think outside of the box. To find the zig to zag and once everyone starts zigging that you begin to zag. I want you to watch, to listen, to screw up and to learn from any mistakes along the way. I want you to love your brother more than I love mine. Family is not perfect but it is seriously all you will have when your mother and I are gone from this planet. I want you to learn to accept everyone, to love everyone and to be respectful of everyone. I want you to love someone more than you love yourself. This is going to sound weird but I want you to fail. I want you to feel what that disappointment feels like so you will never have to feel it again. It is ok to fail as long as you learn from it and never do it again. I want you to not be like me but to be better than I am. I want you to speak softly but carry a big stick. I want you to read books. I want you to be a worldly man but not a man of the world. I would like for you to walk into a room and find the one person who needs a friend and befriend them. I want you to be a man that can accept that the word reliable is the best compliment that anyone can give you. It will not be easy to instill this into you or your brother but it is a challenge that I readily accept. Noah, you are an amazing child. You are challenging at times and you really try our patience but I do not know what I would do without you. I love you son and look forward in growing with you not just as your father but also as a friend. I promise this year we will go to more baseball games and eat all the ice cream that our stomachs can handle. I love you.
Photos taken with whatever camera I had close to me at the time.... iPhone 5s, iPhone 6plus, Canon 5d Mark 3, Polaroid 600, Mamiya AFD, Olympus xa, Contax 645, Canon eos 3. 1 frame is from the great Caroline Ghetes.