Updated: Apr 18, 2019
When I look at this picture I immediately feel confused. I ask myself how is it possible that this once little, shy boy grew into a young man? Is this the same boy who in 9 months will be walking across the stage of his final chapter of high school and off into a new phase of life? Answering "yes" to those questions, blows my mind. In one blink, he grew up.
Recently I've been bombarded with a "senior checklist." Many things need to fall into place before June comes and my heart is filled with pride as I choke back the tears. This has happened to me once before a few years ago when my oldest daughter graduated. (it's strange because they're getting older but I'm still 26...weird!)
The truth is, this photo creates many feelings and emotions for me. Sadness seeping in is the first and most obvious reaction because I know it's time to let him go and find his own way. And even though it won't be forever and we will always be here awaiting his return, it's a time that will require constant faith, fear and trust for all of us, until it is navigated successfully. Still, I can't let those unsettled feelings, although appropriate for this progression of things in life, dictate the final mood for the occasion.
Eagerness and anticipation also fill my mind and heart for all the great experiences ahead for him. Finding his purpose in life will be the greatest journey he'll take and even if the road getting there may have unexpected twists and turns, he alone, will have to muddle through the hard stuff to reap the rewards that are waiting for him when he reaches his destination. It will take hard work, endurance and diligence to make his dreams come true.
I pray that he remembers and applies the important things we taught him over the last 17+ years to help him prepare for this upcoming adventure. Repeated phrases like, "remember who you are" is just one to name a few. Where he comes from does mean something, and I want those words to echo as his guide in making future decisions. Appreciating and drawing from the role models that have been a gift to him will also make the difference in how bumpy the road may or may not have to be. I want him to look at his father, my father and all the other wonderful men who have helped shape him into who he is now and will choose to become.
We will miss him, but I want him to leave with the knowledge that he matters to more than just the person he sees in the mirror. His decisions will affect others now. His actions will matter. What he chooses will matter. In a few months, he will be considered a U.S. citizen that is old enough to vote and contribute to a country that will give him endless opportunities.
Additionally, his dreams matter, even if he isn't sure what they are yet, his fears matter, even if we don't know what his future will face, and because of that our support matters. The aspirations my son has set for himself, along with our other children is important but I think it's equally important for them to know that those are "their"dreams, not mine or my husbands. And even if their dreams change, I, we, won't. We will still love them. I hope they are successful in whatever they decide to pursue. However, the dream shouldn't dictate who they are or think they should be. They need to seek God's will for that. My goal for all our children is quite simple, to become the person they admire today. If they strive for integrity and character first, they will discover success in any dream they embrace. So, I encourage all upcoming "senior" citizens and their parents to...