I could fill an entire book with hopes and lessons and wishes for you. Like for you to be generous, kind, open-minded. For you to be passionate, curious, strong-willed, opinionated. Someone who stands up for the underdog, asks questions, never settles. Someone who reads books, loves fearlessly, cleans his room. Someone who is comfortable with himself, trusts himself, accepts himself.
But more than anything else, I want you to know how to be happy. There's this happiness in children, in you right now, that is so pure and grateful. Whether it's your shadow, a silly word, a joke you've made up -- everything just makes you happy (!!!!!). A kiss on your boo-boo, a "biiiiig hug" from mommy, a simple hand to hold. That's all you need.
But I know it won't always be like that. And despite what you'll feel and what you'll hear, happiness isn't an end result. It isn't something that you'll eventually achieve. It's not the right friends, the right girl, the right job, the right amount of money. There's always a reason to be unhappy, to want more. If you're always chasing happiness, you'll never have it. Happiness is completely in your own control.
This is a really hard lesson to live -- a lesson that some people never learn.
And ultimately it's up to you. I can pump you full of clichés and pep talks, but I can't force you to be a positive, proactive person. And, Noah, believe me when I say that no one will be as concerned with your happiness as you are (besides your Dad and I, of course). If you want to be happy, you have to make yourself happy. You have to be positive, resourceful, resilient. You have to see the good over the bad.
I struggle with this as much as anyone else (being ambitious, competitive, driven), but my life drastically improved when I decided to actively be happy, even when I could easily be miserable. There will always be a reason to be unhappy. But that's no way to live.
So please be happy, my love. You deserve to be.
I love you forever,