I am bursting with pride. My son graduates from high school today . I am happy and hopeful, a touch nostalgic, plus so many more emotions. At the risk of over sharing, here is my letter to him, my first-born.
To My Sweet Son – On the occasion of your 18th year.
First and foremost, I am beyond proud of who you are. I can still remember the day you were born and I felt my heart leap. What a miracle! I carried you around, doted on you, couldn’t stop smelling the top of your head as you snuggled against my chest. And yet at that time, it would have been impossible for me to foresee who you would become and how your baby years pale in comparison to how I feel now, watching the way you have grown and matured over the years. I am at once speechless and yet can’t say enough. I want to put it down for you because I want you to know.
First of all – when you were born – you were a big gorgeous healthy baby. Nine pounds eight ounces. What joy! I love looking back at the pictures of you, growing and smiling and learning and exploring. But the pictures don’t tell the whole story. We moved 8 times in your 18 years. You went to almost as many schools. You showed a resilience each and every time, showing up at each new school – putting yourself out there to meet new people and make new friends. As is life, it wasn’t always easy, but I am amazed at how you have kept your old friends over the years. You are a true and honest Friend – capital F. You have been there for friends during the hard times and stood by their sides, even when it was difficult to say the least. I have had many many proud moments over the years, but when another parent says to me – “I don’t know where my child would be today with out Will”- that speaks volumes. I have heard this more than once from different parents. This is extraordinary. You are special beyond words. Your heart is so large — and I think ever expanding. You make my heart expand, too.
You have learned things about yourself that I didn’t have to learn for myself until a much later age – and you have handled it superbly. You have encountered hard times, which included a failure or two, and yet you came back, tried again, and succeeded! I cannot not imagine many other adults, much less teens, being able to say the same thing. As a parent – my heart soars to know that you can handle anything. Life is difficult – there will undoubtedly be ups and downs – but in my heart of hearts I know that you will surmount any challenge.
Of course, the high school graduation makes me proud – but more than anything it is a signal that you are moving ahead into the next chapter of your life. I am so excited you are choosing your own path, finding out what is right for you, following your heart. Watching you follow your passion and seeing the choices you are making is thrilling and wonderful.