Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Letter to My Son at Graduation

Each year, parents of our congregation's high-school seniors are asked to write a letter to their son or daughter and read it to the group at a spring banquet held in honor of the graduates. As you can imagine, this is an emotional task that many of us worried we would not be able to get through. Proclaiming what our children mean to us and offering them some final words of wisdom was worth the challenge, though. Heartfelt messages of love poured forth from every mom and dad in attendance. Here are the words I wanted to share with Carson. 

Our dear Carson,

As we approach the milestone of your graduation—one that we have been simultaneously preparing you for and dreading, often in equal measure—we reflect on the many transitions we have experienced together.

The day of your birth was one of the most blessed days of our lives. Within your tiny, perfect form, you held all of our love, hopes and dreams. One look into your sapphire-blue eyes, and we were smitten.

Watching you grow has been our privilege and joy. From taking your first steps at nine months to stepping into a school bus at six, onto the wrestling mat in middle school, and into the spotlight of the stage in high school, you have always amazed us with your talent. If ever you doubt your abilities, know that we who have watched you from the beginning see no limits for what you can accomplish.

At this moment of transition, a special memory comes to mind. You were about five months old, and every day was full of joyful discoveries. You observed your surroundings keenly, and the intensity of your experience heightened our own senses. Tasting the sweet indulgence of a creamy chocolate milkshake, touching the soft fur of a puppy, listening to the soft creaking of the rocking chair as you reluctantly succumbed to sleep—every moment seemed extraordinary encountered with someone so new to the world.

One day, we ventured out for a walk around our neighborhood. The sun was shining in Kentucky, where we lived at the time, but the mild climate kept temperatures blissfully comfortable. A little while into our stroll, a soft breeze began to blow. The rich green bluegrass began to dance, and tree branches nodded gracefully as the gust caused the leaves to quiver and sway. You grimaced, closing your eyes and wrinkling your nose as the gentle whisper tickled your face. As the breeze grew stronger—lifting tufts of baby-fine blond hair and playfully caressing your exposed arms and bare feet—a smile spread across your little face. As the wind blew harder, you started bouncing in your seat. A giggle erupted, and from your belly you began to laugh heartily. I laughed, too, experiencing your first encounter with the wind. I will never forget the moment I watched you lean forward in your stroller and stretch your arms wide, as if to embrace the breeze. It was a moment of pure, unrestrained joy.

You accepted that first breeze as a gift—fully experiencing it and appreciating it as if God Himself had blown a breath of love for your pleasure. As you approach graduation, I encourage you to savor the feeling of fresh air on your face. Be present. Cherish each moment as a gift from heaven to be unwrapped.

As you prepare to step into the future that God has planned for you, know that your earthly family and heavenly Father adore you. We will always be here for you, offering our love, support and guidance as you stretch your arms wide, catch the next breeze, and fly.


Mom and Dad

This is one of Carson's senior portraits, taken by my talented friend, photographer Allison Hilyer.


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