My son,

Graduation Day has come.

I am not ready.

You have done amazing in school! You are brilliant and more than prepared for the next step in life. I am so incredibly proud of you!

I am not ready.

We have the graduation gown pressed, the house is clean, pictures are displayed for guests to see.
So. Many. Pictures.

I am still not ready.

You see, this day came far too fast. I am not sure how it happened.
Somehow time got away from me and I am left sitting here, seeing snapshots of the past eighteen years.
Yet they are not simply in the form of the large monuments to your life displayed through hundreds of pictures.
To me those snapshots are all memories stored inside my mind…
Moments of time with you that are so much more to me than pictures.

I see the day that you were born very vividly.
Was it really that long ago?
Have I ever told you how beautiful of a baby you were?
Or how the moment I first held you took my breath away?

Have I told you how I would sneak into your bedroom in the middle of the night when you were a baby, just to snuggle you?
I picture us sitting together for hours in the middle of the night because you always (I do mean always) wanted to be held.

I picture you running toward me saying “I wan-sum” as I was trying to sneak chocolate. How you could smell it from across the house I will never know…

I still hear your tiny little toddler voice and your chubby little bare feet running on the linoleum toward me.

I picture the day you got stuck on the top of the McDonald’s play place and were wailing loudly for the entire restaurant to hear.
I climbed up to the top to rescue you. (Eight months pregnant and with the everyone nearby watching. That was a fun time…)

Have I ever told you how my heart broke the day that you drew a picture of me angry?
I felt like I had failed you that day.

I picture your forever toothless grin and hear the contagious belly laughter coming from down the hallway.
To this day your laughter is one of my favorite sounds.

Have I told you how absolutely sweet your elementary school friendships were to me?
Seeing you interact with your friends was one of the many things I loved about your elementary years.
I picture you with some of your closest friends and those are some of the times I remember your face lighting up with excitement.

Oh, how I worried that moving away from your closest friends at the end of elementary school would crush you. I agonized over that.

I can still picture how proud of you I was when you were in middle school. You were one of the most amazing middle schoolers I have ever met. (Yes, amazing middle schoolers exist.)
You were so much better than me, so much more bold and honorable.
Your faith genuinely inspired me.

I still can picture us going to concerts when you were in high school, especially the one we waited outside in the snow for so long for that my phone froze.

The high school years for me were a battle of emotions waring between holding on and letting go; between knowing how cruel the world could be and wanting desperately to protect you from it, yet needing to let you learn on your own.

How fast the past eighteen years went!
I am not ready for this phase to be over.

What is with my dread of letting go?
This fascination with the days gone by?

I just wish I could adequately put into words how I picture you.
In my eyes I see your life in these snapshots of amazing and some not-so-amazing moments.

I see a little boy who at three-years-old had his hands up in the air in the car, worshiping Jesus.
I see a fun-loving, kind-hearted kid who loves with his whole heart.
I see a brilliantly smart boy who is capable of being whatever he wants to be and has the potential to be an absolutely amazing human with huge impact on the entire world.

I picture your future.

You see, son, you have unlimited potential. You have so much going for you.
Now is your time to head out on your own,
Make your own decisions,
Take the first steps toward being who you were put on this earth to be.

I sometimes wonder as I look back if there was more I could have done for you,
If there was more I could have taught you, any way I could have better prepared you for life.
Because I have always felt that you were put on this earth for something huge, far beyond what I could possibly imagine.
And the responsibility of raising you to have an amazing impact on the world is something I have taken very seriously.

I am not ready for this day.
But you are.

Go out and do big things.
Don’t settle.
Don’t let others change who you are.
Be a light in the dark world.
Don’t compromise your convictions.
Be who God made you to be.

I believe in you.

I am incredibly proud of you, my son!

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