Sunday, June 19, 2016

For Michael: on your graduation

When the milestones come, sometimes we moms get a little choked up. And by a little, I mean, the UGLY cry, every time someone cues up a photo montage.  While there are 101 (at least) stories on the internet written by moms to their kids, this list (which I edited some) is the best summary of what I hope I have said, and what I hope you remember.
1. Congratulations! Ignore my sniveling and carrying on. In fact, forget my sniveling everyone and make this about you for a moment. Accept every slap on the back and lean into all those hugs (even though they aren't your favorite). Smile and say "Thank you".  Take your victory lap. This is one of the big moments. Drink it all in.
2. Put one foot in front of the other. Take your minute, then move on. Now is the first time, but certainly not the last one, that you’ll learn that life just keeps rolling on. Hold your head up, put your eyes forward, then take the next step. The truth is that everybody worries about what’s around the corner. 
3. Be thankful.  It won't always seem like things are going your way. You were born when Dad and I had a one bedroom apartment and everything we owned was given to us by your grandparents.  Everyone starts out small. Take care of what you have and pride in what you earn.  Remember to thank God for all of it. 
4. We’ve got your back. You are never alone in this world. There’s a safety net of family who are all ready to reach out when you need that helping hand. So ask for help if you need it.  
5. Dare mightily. Dream really, really big, but also live every day with a spirit of wonder and brave resolve too. A lot of adulthood is not so much an exciting new road, but a familiar, well-worn path. Dare to imagine a better you every day.
6. Show up. We never wanted you to just be a guy. We were always hoping you would be a certain type of guy. So show up for people. Celebrate their successes and ease the burden of their failures. Make them laugh and sit with them when they are sad. Go to boring parties, lame weddings, and uncomfortable dinner parties because someone asked you to be there for them. Just show up. You’ll be amazed at the joy you’ll find from doing the thing you really didn’t want to do.
7. Love is all you need. You will have a lot of choices to make the next few days, months and years. It can all seem a little overwhelming. Let The Beatles provide a little clarity in the chaos: All you need is love. If you have it, give it. Plain and simple. Spread love around like you are lousy with it. Then you won’t just have a blessed life, you will be a blessing to others as well.
8. You look so handsome. Seriously.
You have no idea what it’s like to watch someone grow up before your eyes yet, but I hope you get that privilege. You were a beautiful, perfect boy the minute I met you and your bright, golden light has never dimmed. We are so unspeakably proud of the young man you have become inside and out. And you look great in that cap and gown too. Really, you are rocking it.
9) I am proud to be your mom.
This is one not every mom can post, because you came into our family differently than most.  I can't understand all the puzzle pieces that God put into place from the beginning of time until you were picked to be our son.  But I am more grateful than you will ever understand. Even though there are five siblings after you, you get the title of "DID IT FIRST".  All the first things Dad and I did as parents were with you.  
10. I love you. Truly, honestly, deeply. This day. Every day. Forever. Take that knowledge with you into beautiful corners and brave new worlds. Let it warm you on cold nights and lead you out of dark places.
The best is yet to come, sweet boy. Knock ‘em dead.

first paycheck!  

slow run for Michael - hard run for mom

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