Graduation is one of those milestones that make a mother both proud and absolutely wrecked.
There’s joy and sorrow, anticipation and apprehension. There’s remembering the past and looking forward to the future. If you have a child graduating this year (or one who has graduated in the past), you might be able to relate to some of these feelings, as well.
A Letter to My Son on His Graduation
When I was pregnant in my last trimester, I remember looking at your March 22nd due date stating, “He can come any day he wants as long as it isn’t on Leap Day because that would just be weird”. Of course, you ended up coming over 3 weeks early, making your debut on Leap Day. And it was weird. But we’ve managed.
From the beginning, you’ve kept me on my toes.
Your birth was traumatic and we both almost died. But we came through, we fought hard, and we survived. No, we thrived.
You had more energy than any toddler I’ve ever known, and you created the greatest memories that I can’t wait to share with your own kids someday (i.e., catching the microwave on fire by putting an electronic game in it, flooding the kitchen because you thought the faucet made a fun firefighter hose, removing the shredded paper from the paper shredder and throwing it around like confetti, kicking the wooden slats on your brother’s upper bunk so that his whole mattress fell down on top of you).
Your feisty spirit exhausted me when you were little, but over the years you’ve melded all that energy into determination, perseverance, and a bulldog grip on whatever it is that you want.
You are now a fiercely loyal young man with a heart of gold, an accomplished electric guitar player, an advanced student, and everything I could ask for in a son. You’ve managed to complete all your needed credits for graduation by being dual-enrolled in high school and college so that you can go after your dreams a year early. That kind of tenacity will take you far in life. I only pray it doesn’t take you far from me.
As you prepare to graduate from high school a year early, I cannot help but think back to the day you were born.
I find myself uttering similar phrases such as, “No, it’s too early,” and “I’m not ready.” Yet, here you are, just as you were then, ready to take on the world and come what may. It’s time to prepare for graduation and the world of opportunities that await you.
I could not be more proud of your goals and ambitions as you venture off to flight school with dreams of becoming a rescue-chopper pilot. I would expect nothing less from a servant-hearted thrill-seeker like you. So, please embrace these words from my heart and carry them with you as you soar into the great destiny that awaits you.
First, never doubt your abilities.
You’ve proven from day one that you’re a fighter, and I’ve never known you to give up on something that you really wanted. Let college be the proving ground for all you wish to accomplish. Believe in yourself, and you will see your dreams become your reality.
Second, never forget who you are.
Your years in college will be a time of great growth and change for you. But don’t forget where you came from, what you believe, and who you love. Be proud of the man of integrity that you are right now, and don’t sacrifice your soul for all the accolades, honors, or achievements in the world. Achievement always comes with a price. Make sure it’s a price you’re willing to pay.
Third, take care of your whole self.
College students are notorious for living off of ramen noodles, little sleep, and energy drinks. You deserve better than that, though. Eat good food. Sleep when you can. Drink lots of water. Take a walk when you’re stressed. Pray every day. And do something that brings you joy.
Last, but not least, be a good human.
Open doors for girls. Say, “Yes, Ma’am,” and “Yes, Sir,” to your professors. Always be a responsible group-project partner. Never discriminate. Always encourage. Don’t brag. Stay faithful to your girlfriend. Wear your mask. Be truthful. Hold your opinions unless you’re asked to share them. Compliment others. Practice random acts of kindness. Say “thank you.” And always call your mama.
Good men often fall to the pressures of their peers. Great men raise others up beside them. Be a great man.
There are no words to describe how proud I am to literally watch you take off and fly, nor are their words to explain how profoundly sad I will be without your daily hugs and smiles. I find myself saying those same words from 17 years ago: “No, it’s too early. I’m not ready.” But you are.
High school graduation is just around the corner and college awaits. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is lucky to have you. So fly high, sweet boy. Be everything that God has created you to be. I will always be right here, cheering you on and praying you land safely once again.