Riley — tomorrow you turn 18 years old. What an exciting day for you.
Whether you realize it, or not, you are starting a new phase of life.
You will become a young man. Let me be the first person to welcome you to manhood. You are going to be a great man. I just know it.
Last year I wrote a happy birthday post that included words that come to mind when I think about you.
This year I am going to use phrases that describe you. They are my own observations based on spending quality time with you the past several years.
Riley — you are ready for action
We have been on many adventures together.
In fact, I think you are the person I have traveled with the most the past five years.
We visited New York City multiple times, vacationed in Europe for several summers, and hung out in the Carribean for a couple of Spring Breaks.
If there is one thing I noticed during all these trips it is that you are ready for action. You pack light, move fast, and are always ready for what comes next.
I have truly enjoyed all these experiences with you.
I hope that you keep this spirit of adventure in your future years.
Riley — you are interested in interesting things
You have an eclectic set of interests — which I think is awesome.
Lord knows how many hours we spent watching European soccer. It is the game you play, and the sport I love. I remember watching soccer with you at my house, in NYC and various places across Europe.
Hopefully, we will see a Premier League game live in the near future.
We have also spent countless hours watching travel videos as we prepare for the next adventure. I bet you know the Rick Steve’s theme song by heart now. We watched this episode multiple times before visiting Normandy.
I also appreciate the fact that you like some rather obscure things like the show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It is such a strange show, but it makes us laugh.
I want to thank you for being willing to rewatch episodes that I had not seen like the one below.
Riley — you are learning and growing
You are willing to try new things which is a great way to learn and grow.
I remember the first time that you tried a coffee drink while we were in the Outer Banks for summer vacation. You hated it…which is a normal reaction.
Coffee is an acquired taste. Now that you are older — you appreciate a good cup of coffee early in the morning. It is the best way to start the day.
I have watched you sample other food items to see if it is something you like, or not. The steak tartare you tried in France was a bit much, but you really enjoyed several German food items.
Many people are afraid to try something new. You are not.
I hope you never lose this curiosity. Keep learning and growing.
It is a great way to broaden your horizons.
Riley — you are earning your stripes
I have watched you play several sports to include swimming, baseball, flag football, running, and soccer. I am glad that you tried many before deciding on soccer as your primary focus.
I truly enjoy watching you play soccer. You are an awesome player.
You have not always played on great teams, but you have a fair share of trophies and medals. Be proud of these achievements.
I appreciate the fact that you have earned your stripes in soccer putting in hours and hours of practice. You have improved over the years.
I really hope that you get a chance to play in college. You will be excellent. You have the skills and stamina required to play the game at that level. I never did.
Plus you are lean and can run. I watched you run a faster mile in 8th grade than I ever did in high school.
Keep practicing. Keep pushing.
All that hard work will pay off in the long run. It always does.
Riley — you are yearning to explore the world
We have been on many adventures together. I love the fact that you are yearning to explore the world.
Many people would prefer to stay at home. Not you. You have said yes to more than one of my silly ideas.
Like the time we went shopping for records all over NYC with Geoff. What a great time. Remember the guy with the neck tattoos who played death grunge music for us while we shopped in his basement record store.
Fun and scary at the same time.
Or the time we walked over the Brooklyn bridge. Or the time we searched for the best pizza in Manhattan. We have stomped all over New York.
It has been a blast exploring the big apple with you. May you never lose your lust for life, and yearning to explore the world as you grow older.
Happy Birthday my son
You are an awesome son and a young man. I enjoy being your dad.
My prayer is that you will mature into a happy and healthy man of God.
I will do all that I can to help you achieve great things in this lifetime, and enjoy the trip along the way.
Happy birthday, Riley. I love you.
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.
Originally published at www.lettertosons.com on October 20, 2018.