Another letter to myself

Dear Jester,

Is it okay that I keep writing letters to you, to myself, like this?  Yes.  I’m sure you’ll agree it is fine.  I should know.  I’m you and you’re me.

Anyway…

I’m not sure how to go about this, so we might as well dive into the crux of the matter: It is seeming harder and harder to keep up with the speed of life right now.  And that was really brought into focus by the death of a friend last week. 

You had seen them struggling and you had mentioned to yourself that you should reach out and then you didn’t and now they are gone.

And why didn’t you reach out?  Because you hadn’t seen him in 22 years?  Because you were busy with chores and school and toddler tantrums and infant sleep and birthdays and the day to day grind of life in the kingdom?  Because you didn’t know how much he was struggling?  Because you didn’t know…

You didn’t know.  You didn’t know you wouldn’t have another chance. 

If you had known, you would have sacrificed something else to make the time.  One less thing would have gotten clean.  Or a little bit less sleep would have been had.  You would have made a different choice.  But you didn’t know.  And, there is no way to know that reaching out would have helped.  Would have been worth doing anyway.

So, dear Jester, I’m not sure what the point of this letter is.  I was grasping for some sort of philosophical piece on the speed of life but the words on the page keep failing that, in my opinion.  Very unlike me, I have started, stopped, deleted, and started over this letter four times now.  And this will have to be good enough.  I don’t have the mental energy to attempt it again.

I guess, I just hope you can set aside any guilt you are feeling, we are feeling.  Be kind to yourself.  Grieve. 

And maybe next time reach out…  Because that pile of dishes can wait.  Sometimes, reaching out can’t wait.  And you don’t know what you don’t know.

Sincerely,

Matticus

So this is 40

My dear Jester,

Yes, that’s me.  Yes, I’m writing a letter to myself.  I did that last year too.  I think.  I guess I could look it up but it really isn’t that important.  Anyway…

So, this is 40…?

*Looks around and nods.*

Okay.  This is 40.

Why shouldn’t it be?  You’ve had quite the adventure. 

Married.  Three kids.  Two cats.  Home owner. 

Six cities.  Ten jobs.  More roles than that.  More managers than that too as it turns out.

You’ve been to the top of more mountain passes than you can remember.  You’ve snowboarded on seven different mountains.  You’ve been to (at least) sixteen different states.  You’ve been to four different countries. 

You’ve been a DJ, a beach bum, a blogger.  You’ve been a raver, a husband, a father.  You’ve been a friend, a brother, a son.  You’ve been lost, mentally and physically.  You’ve been a part of four published books and you have words in at least that many still waiting to be published. 

You see?  Adventures a plenty.  Why, you could write a story for each of the sentences above.  The time you watched the sun rise over the mesas on a backpacking trip in New Mexico.  The time you were in whiteout conditions on the slopes in Colorado.  The time you thought you might like to try and become a professional beach volleyball player.  The time you watched your first son being born, your second son being born, your third son being born.  The time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The second time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The day you brought your kitten rescues to their forever home.  The day you stood on the side of a mountain and vowed love and adventure to your Queen.  And on and on and on.

Adventures.  A.  Plenty.

So, why the letter at all?  Are you confused about the number?  Are you just bragging about all you’ve been able to accomplish so far?

*Looks around and shrugs shoudlers.*

You don’t know and that’s okay.

I’ll tell you this, my dear Jester, you better hang on tight because there is still so much to do, to see.  There is still so much to learn!  The next 40 years are going to be a whirlwind of adventures.  They won’t all be good, of course.  That’s the way it goes.  That’s as it should be.  But, there will be more good than you can imagine.  And, I know your brain.  I know you can imagine quite a lot. 

So, be patient.  You need to work on that.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your wife.  Pet your cats.  Take the trips.  Put in the hard work when it is needed.  Fix the sinks.  Take care of the house.  Go camping.  Go backpacking.  Go on bike rides and walks.  Go to the beach.  Watch the movies.  Listen to the all the music you possibly can.  Struggle.  Triumph.  Cry.  Smile.  Love every single second of it all as much as you can.

Because why not.

And let me know when the number ticks up one more.  I want to hear what stories you’ll have to share then.

Have a great year,

Matticus

On being eight

My dear Little Prince,

Not so little anymore, huh? 

I say, “You can’t be eight, you look twelve,” not as a joke but because some days I have no idea how you ARE only eight.  You are amazingly good with your little brothers.  You are more self-sufficient than I remember being at eight.  Admittedly, that was a long time ago but still…

You are still amazing on your bike.  And your ability and my trust in you has grown so much that we’ve started going on longer rides, including running some errands that take us on busy city streets.  You are fearless and confident on your bike.  And in most aspects of your life, actually.  That is going to take you far.

You are so inquisitive about everything.  EVERYTHING.  You ask more questions in a day than I ask in a month it seems.  I’m glad I still have the answers to most of those questions.  One of these days though we’ll be looking up the answers together.  Learning, the adventure that never ends. 

I probably don’t tell you enough how proud I am of you.  And I know I’m too hard on you at times, and I’m sorry about that.  I forget that despite how you act most days, you aren’t actually twelve.  I’m trying to curb my expectations and when I push too hard I do always eventually catch myself and apologize.  I hope you can forgive me. 

Given your insatiable inquisitive nature, your confidence, and your determination in all things, it isn’t a joke when I say, “you are going to rule the world some day.”  Perhaps that isn’t quite right?  You aren’t going to rule the world.  You are going to change it.  You are going to shape it, mold it, pound it into something better.  I can’t wait to see what that is.

Love you kiddo,

Daddy/Matticus/The Jester

Rhythm

This space, other than my letters to the princes, has been about fiction for so long, it feels weird to be writing about life in the kingdom.  So much has changed since I first started.  That was before the first prince had even shown up.  He was on the way, yes, but not yet here.  How can eight years feel like a lifetime ago?

I keep having this conversation with a colleague, about how time is always funny but pandemic time has been outright “hilarious.”  (For today’s post, hilarious = ridiculous.)  Blink once and the day is over.  Blink twice and you’ve lost a month.  Blink three times and suddenly time has slowed to the point where it feels like it might just be going backwards, and what a horror that would be…  Blink four times and the cycle repeats, except maybe they’ll be in a different order.  Or maybe it will be completely different because nothing is certain at the moment, not even the steady march of time.  It slips.  It slides.  It stops and sprints.  It does a jig and then stands against the wall to catch its breath.

–Side note: fellow author and blogger, Arthur, has a podcast where he delves into the mystery and inevitability of time. He has some great word play in the podcast that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’ve spent the last 14 months working from home.  It’s been an adventure.  I’ll likely be home for a few more months as well.  That information is just a tangent on how the normal rhythm of my days has been different during the pandemic and is definitely a factor on how weird time has felt.  And while you may ask how come I haven’t gotten into a new rhythm, a new routine, in those 14 months, my response would be laugh and gesture broadly towards my surroundings.

In the kingdom, the rhythm to every day is different.  Sometimes the rhythm of the morning is different from the afternoon.  Sometimes it changes suddenly.  Sometimes it changes so subtly that you don’t even notice until something goes wrong and you realize the song changed to a waltz and the cha-cha steps you were doing no longer make sense.  Not sure why I threw in a dance metaphor there.  It works though.  This has all been like a dance.

Some days are salsa: fast tempo, fun, quick steps.  Some days are waltz: slow, beautiful, smooth.  Some are the “high school hang:” I have no idea what I’m doing but gosh darn it I’m going to get out there and be seen anyway.

Not sure where I was headed when I started writing, but here we are.  Songs over, another is about to start.  I wonder what will come on next.  A swing?  Hustle?  Whatever it is, I’ll pick up the rhythm as best I can.

And you?  How has time felt for you during these 14 months?

So this is six months

My dear Littlest Prince,

Okay, okay, this is a little late.  I’m sorry.  You are seven months now.  Nearly eight, actually.  So it goes in our return to the toddlerocracy….

Okay, okay.  You aren’t a toddler yet.  But, maybe I wasn’t talking about you?

Oh…  It is so much fun watching you learn every day.  Sometimes you seem to have grown an inch or two after every nap.  And you always seem to have learned something new after each nap.  From crawling everywhere.  To watching your big brothers play and then doing your best to follow after them to join in their fun.  To being determined to figure out the stairs.  To pulling yourself up on every surface you possibly can.  To all the amazing babblying and bubble blowing noises and faces you make.  To the sheer joy on recognizing someone as they enter the room you are in.  You smile so big, so amazingly, so full of life and love.  It’s infectious.

Just as you are bound and determined to keep up with your big brothers in every other aspect, you are breaking their records by already having ten teeth and working on some more it seems, given the drool and the fussing.  Everything goes in your mouth.  Every  single thing you can get your hands on.  So it goes. 

I wonder what tricks you’ll learn in the next six months?  You seem like you are already working on walking.  You seem like you are just bursting to say words.  Okay, not yet.   But it is only a matter of time.

Time…  It is something there just doesn’t seem to be enough of most days.  But, your time will come.  You will learn all the things and conquer all the things to be conquered.

Your brothers will set the example there.

I can’t wait to see it.

Love you,

Daddy/Matticus/The Jester