Sunday, October 18, 2015


My Dear Son:

I'd like to talk to you a little about milestones, or defining moments. These are events in our lives that somehow become burned in our memories more vividly than others. Milestones were originally rocks set up beside roads to mark distances. 

Later we came to understand them emotionally as actions or events that marked beginnings and endings in our lives. At one time, we believed these events remained in our memories over all the rest because they were more dramatic or traumatic. Now we know that isn't necessarily always true.

Milestones or defining moments don't have to be sad or tragic events. They can be remembered as extremely happy or satisfying ones, as well. Sometimes milestones occur when we are taken out of our context, or out of our daily routines such as going on vacation, like the one you recently took with Dad to Virginia. 

As you recall, what began as a very upsetting and unsettling set of circumstances at the airport turned out to be a very memorable trip, as you and Dad weathered the bad times and persisted to find the good moments.

I think you will find much of life can be this way. Sometimes we just wake up and know the day isn't going to be our best one. We inch our way along, feeling good about some of it, perhaps not so good about the rest. We do some things we really want to do, and then we have to perform some daily tasks we really don't like that much. Many of us push through the more difficult times to arrive at the ones we really enjoy.

It rips at my heartstrings to see a child sob with disappointment, and you! It is almost more than I can bear. So the times I have witnessed this, or even simply heard about it from your dad, is almost my undoing. Perhaps these moments ring too close to home with my own disappointments, or, simply remind me of how powerless I am to correct those errors that brought the disappointments in the first place. If there were anything I could offer to eliminate those disappointments altogether, I would capture the moon for you, you can rest assured.

As much as I would enjoy having such power, and given I probably won't obtain it, I will pass on some of my own ideas about milestones. Milestones, as I said, are defining moments. They catch you in the time frame, sort of like taking a photo, of where you are at the moment. They are, in fact, all about where you are. 

If you could pluck yourself up from the milestone you're facing now and set yourself twenty years forward, you might find yourself even laughing at how important it seemed to you then. Or, you might find that it had shaped and sharpened you into the personality you are twenty years later. Either way, milestones become all about marking who you are.

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