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“Imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same…embrace your own uniqueness… you make life that much more exciting.” – Barbara Streisand

It’s funny boys to think that we each have the benefit of age to deflect a certain amount of responsibility for our actions.  You guys will sometimes get the benefit of “being too young to know any better” for things you say or do.  I on the other hand am expected “to have known better” but given my age, I may have the advantage of being so old that I’m entitled to suffer some lapses in memory to remember all the time. Throw in a brain injury, a few seizures, and there’s a considerable amount of latitude that I can exercise when my words or actions are seemingly conveyed or expressed without the benefit of a filter.  If they come across unkind or insensitive, I apologize because that’s not my intent. If they just seem silly or misguided attempts at humor, I won’t apologize because I’m just doing my thing, living in a seemingly unconventional universe that keeps me directly on course towards my own fulfillment, and usually having a good time doing it!

One thing I do appreciate though is when you guys express your individuality when it truly reflects the natural and organic essence of YOU!  It’s understandable, given the amount of time we’ve spent together, that your mannerisms can’t help but illustrate the influence Mom and I have had on you, just like my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, had on me.  The same goes for you Cole (my “adopted” son), especially since your Mom has had to pull double-duty without your Dad and if you need present-day illustrations of walking miracles, take a silent moment to evaluate the “world” where you and your brother currently exist in and wonder where you’d be had she not done such an amazing job when doing less would have been understandable given her loss.  Oh and have I mentioned before that Dee Dee is one of my heroes and a source of inspiration to the extent that I feel so blessed to see her on such a consistent basis to remind me that people like her exist in MY world!

Now as far as your parents’ lasting impact, there are certain basic commitments to the quintessential values, beliefs, morals, and principles you’ve been taught that we truly hope that you emulate and exercise while disregarding various characteristics that aren’t relevant, useful, or desirable for your own purposes.  I mean really, I’m not offended as you increasingly demonstrate a conviction to ideals and standards that are illustrations less of rebellion but more the pursuit of “perfection” that will give you the best likelihood at “perfect” outcomes for you, those around you, and the circumstances and situations you navigate through.

If I leave you with anything (and I think I’ve displayed it consistently), it’s that the happiness and contentment you seek is a product of what you’re willing to obtain on the terms you dictate and should not be dependent on what you are waiting to be given!  Yes I’m “nuts” in how I express myself and each emotion that is generated in me but I challenge you to point out who is the master of those expressions and most important, whose complaining and if so, why.

Annoying?  Maybe. Extreme?  Probably. Stubborn?  Where would I be if I listened to other’s restrictions rather than discover on my own and work within my own limitations.  Challenging? I hope so because what I demand of myself and you guys is not meant for those who think ordinary and average are acceptable aspirations for the quality of our existence.  Optimistic and positive?  Absolutely and if you interpret it otherwise, you’re getting lost in distractions that you are more than capable of managing.  Loving, caring, and kind?  Do you even have to ask!  You don’t have to figure out why I am “me” (too complex) or how I personally approach things, only that you are on my mind enough that I want to help make some of those 1,440 minutes of each day easier, a jumble of hours and days ahead of you more approachable, and in the end lead you to understand that all the “crap” I predicted for you coupled with your individual make-up is obtainable with no greater proof than the moment you accomplish it!

So be yourself with confidence because there is no one better at it and do it absent unnecessary vanity, ego, and self-absorption.  It is so important that you remember the following because what you’ll uncover is usually something you worried way too much about never happening:  “Be brave enough to live creatively.  The creative is the place where no one else has ever been.  You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you’re doing.  What you’ll discover will be wonderful: yourself.” — Alan Alda

And while you’re on the road to that discovery, keep in mind “it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe.  I kind of like leaving people scratching their heads with a smile after most encounters because being who I am doesn’t give them much of an option, you know?  As Jason has stated before, “don’t hate me because you ain’t me”, and in my view, you’re on the right path!