To my first-born son. My second child. My precious redhead. And the one who finds himself “sandwiched” in the middle.
Two weeks ago, you graduated from kindergarten. And I can’t believe it actually happened. It sounds cliche to say, “It seems like yesterday….”
But it does.
In some ways, I wish I could stop the hands of time and keep you just as you are right now.
For the rest of my life.
In other ways, I’m bubbling over with excitement and great anticipation to see the young man you will become in the future.
And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life watching you do it.
I’ve thought a lot these last two weeks about what I want to say to you to commemorate this important milestone in your life. And I’ll admit that no words seem sufficient to describe the love I have for you or the pleasure it’s been to watch you grow.
But I’ll try.
Our family has been through a lot in the last twelve months, and we’ve taken you on a long ride with a lot of change. You’ve been such a trooper, and I’m so thankful for your flexibility, your trust, and your optimism along the way. Starting kindergarten is a very big deal in and of itself. But to do it in an unexpected, new place is even more significant. And you handled it like a champ.
When I look back at who you were on the first day of school this year, I smile. From ear to ear.
You were a precious, loving, gentle, compassionate, sensitive, and PASSIONATE child. With killer blue eyes, amazing freckles, and dimples the size of the holes in the moon. And I loved how your backpack matched the red spikes on top of your head.
You’re still all of those things today, but I’ve also watched you grow into some new things. And my heart is overflowing with joy as I see the fruit of God’s work in your life.
You are a gifted child. In so many ways. You are smart. You are coordinated. You are athletic. You are a great singer. (I think there may be a worship leader hidden somewhere inside of you.)
And you are funny. REALLY REALLY FUNNY.
Yet you’ve always been cautious about trying new things. Things that both your dad and I know you will be good at. But this year, we’ve watched you become more confident. And it’s been fun to watch you discover your abilities in the classroom, with your friends, in the gym, and on the baseball field.
You are a passionate child. In fact, your passion is as fiery as the hair on your head is red. We’ve known that about you since the day you were born.
Literally. (You came out kicking and screaming.)
And when you were hungry? You let us have it!
I know that this year, you’ve had to work very hard to gain self-control over your passion and emotion. And you’ve had a lot of people working with you towards that goal and cheering you on.
We’ve noticed your efforts. And we thank you for them.
But don’t ever mistake your passion for a weakness. It is a gift from God. One that may be hard to manage at times, but one that can also be the undercurrent for your future. I believe passionate people are driven to impact the world in special ways.
So embrace your passion.
Continue learning to control it.
Stand up for what you believe in.
And use your passion to point others towards God.
You’ve become more adventurous this year. More willing to try new things. Even at the risk of failure. And when you do mess up, you’ve learned to laugh at yourself. (Most of the time!) That is a HUGE accomplishment. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to learn to laugh at ourselves. You’re learning that at a very young age, and it will serve you well.
You’ve also grown in your faith. Big time.
I hear it in your words. (Remember when I offered you the last portion of chicken tenders at Eatzis? You offered it back to me, saying that you don’t care as much about food as you do about Jesus and others!)
I see it in your actions. (Remember when you so generously shared your prize from the treasure chest with your sister and brother?)
And the prayers you pray are evidence that you are growing in your understanding of God’s love for you and his provision in your life. (When I hear you ask God to help you “trust him” and to help you make “wise choices,” it melts my heart.)
No doubt, I honestly can’t imagine loving you any more than I love you this very minute. Your dad feels the very same way. But the most beautiful thing is to know how much more you are loved by God. He loves you in ways that are beyond our capacity as your parents.
And knowing how we feel about you?
Well. That pretty much blows our minds!
If I could give you one thing, it would be the ability to rest confidently in God’s love for you through Jesus Christ. But that isn’t my gift to give you, so I pray daily that God will draw you near, that God will be at work in your heart, and that one day, you will come to know the love of Christ for yourself. In the meantime, I promise to do my best to plant God’s word in your heart and to give you every opportunity to learn more about your faith each day.
People spend a lifetime searching for the “it” in their lives. So many of us think we will find “it” through worldly achievements. Financial gain. Fame. And many other things that the world defines as “success.”
But faith is where it’s at. And I’ve discovered this in my own life through a series of lessons in letting go. Especially since I became a mom. My prayer is that you might be a quicker study. That you might learn these lessons sooner than I have. Because they will bless you and those around you in mighty ways.
— So —
No matter what happens in the coming years. No matter where you find yourself. No matter the number of good days and the bad ones in between. God’s love for you and God’s word through the scriptures are your constant.
Cling to them.
And remember what your dad shared with our church family a few weeks ago:
“Know that God’s love never fails from age to age. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more.”
That, my son, you can count on.
And all the days to come.
Congratuations, our kindergarten graduate! We love you!