To my youngest child, my dear son,
As you launch from this empty nest, I pray for God’s blessings of provision, protection, growth-producing challenges, and incredible adventures. You planned, worked, and studied continuously to graduate from college; then you moved across the country in search of a job. I am overwhelmed with nostalgia and thankful for the joy you have brought to my life. I especially remember:
How you outsmarted our family at age two. We lost you and searched the entire house: in closets, under furniture, and every possible hiding place, growing more desperate as we called your name to no response. Finally, we found you sitting on the steps just outside the front door, triumphantly declaring, “I outside! I outside!”
Embrace your sense of adventure.
The mustache you drew on your first-grade-self with permanent marker one morning to imitate your father. Daddy said, “Just let him wear it.” I agreed that it would be a good natural consequence. Only that backfired, because you collected compliments on the mustache—all day long.
Nurture your creative self.
Your cardboard construction of an amazingly realistic model of our California house after we moved across the country. That model was an engineering marvel, created to scale in a two-story replica of all rooms. And I remember my distress when that detailed masterpiece fell off the shelf and crashed into pieces.
Don’t let anyone crash your dreams; your memories always go with you.
Your sweet freckled face on our bike ride. My surgery the next day had a high potential of cancer in two organs followed by chemotherapy. I savored your carefree nature as you raced me down the street. You brought me joy and distracted me from my preoccupation with cancer and worries about orphaning my children.
Share your joy with others; you may never know how much they need you.
The pride I felt as I sat in the audience at your high school robotics team presentation. Smooth and confident, you introduced your team and your project. I marveled at your poise and speaking ability.
Keep developing your God-given talents.
Your after-school hugs for the dog. Knowing that you faced some tough days and hurtful bullies in middle school, I made sure Cooper sat on the porch to greet you on your walk home from the bus stop. You thought you were outgrowing mom-hugs, but Cooper always cheered you up.
Never forget that you are loved.
Moving you into the college dorm. Although you were ready to attend college early, I was still adjusting to the idea. You were tired of me fussing over you and so ready to start your new independent life. (Yes, I cried as we drove away.)
I pray for God’s best for you, especially as I miss you.
Your first Christmas home from college. We talked until 1 a.m. and I was so thrilled to see the maturity and perspective you had gained after one freshman semester. I enjoyed your stories of weight-lifting in the gym, throwing pottery onto a wheel, disc-jockeying on your college radio program, and recovering from two failed calculus tests. Ultimately, you pulled your grade up by studying hard, attending every tutoring session, and taking every review class. You even made the dean’s list after that freshman year of calculus! That experience of failure as a motivator became a priceless lesson in perseverance.
Failure may be painful, but it can be a great learning experience.
The coronavirus chaos of 2020. COVID-19 affected everything from degree requirements to your graduation plans when you lost an internship, added some classes, and changed course. But you managed to complete two majors from two colleges within the university system. You flexed and figured it out.
Flexibility is important; what seems like a problem may result in changed plans and a better outcome.
Fly, my dear child, fly as you soar off to adventures unknown. May God protect you as you face this world on your own. May God grow and challenge you in ways that only your Creator can. Never forget that you are loved—so much. I miss you, and I am so proud of you.
All my love,
P.S. Please call once in a while.
[Originally posted August 2020]