Monday, May 25, 2009

A Letter to My Son

Big Guy graduated last weekend.

I've often wondered how I'd feel when we approached this new chapter in our lives. Graduation day was filled with a variety of emotions: pride, sadness, relief, nostalgia.

Several years ago, I wrote a letter to Big Guy as an assignment in a collegiate child development course. This letter was meant for the day when our child would be leaving us. I'd forgotten all about this assignment until I rediscovered it seven months ago as I was preparing for our latest move. Delighted, I saved it in a special place and gave it to Big Guy after his graduation ceremony.

Here it is:

The following letter was written 12 years ago as an assignment for a college child development course. I rediscovered it during our last move, and gave it to Bronson after his graduation on Thursday:

To My Dear Son,

It's difficult to believe how quickly you've advanced into your childhood; you have just begun first grade now, and it won't be long before you will depart my sheltering wing, eager to fly on your own. This letter is for that day when you'll be leaving us. It really seems mere moments ago that your father and I received the unexpected news that you were "on the way". I was thrilled; I had always wanted to start my family soon after marriage and could hardly wait to become a mother.

I hope that you can look back fondly on your years at home, and also hope that you won't be too critical of my parenting skills. I believe that good parents work towards achieving what is best for their children through teaching them responsibility and demonstrating an unconditional love. I have tried to do the same for you. Besides these elements, I have tried to tap into my better qualities by providing an atmosphere of creative fun, love of the arts, and respect for others in our home. I know that being firstborn isn't easy, for I am also an oldest child, and I vowed to never expose my eldest to the strictness with which I was raised. However, I often find myself tending to set my expectations too high for your age and abilities. I also know that I tend to lose my patience easily at times. I hope you are able to look beyond these shortcomings and arrive at the realization that I was trying my best, and that I love you very much.

With your future shining bright before you, I would hope that you are happy with your life and are able to recognize and capitalize on those special talents that make you such a wonderful person. In Shakespeare's "Hamlet", the character Polonius offers this advice to his son as he prepares to seek his fortune: "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it shall not go false with any man." I would encourage you to remain true to yourself; to preserve your self-integrity, and to remember and hold true to those beliefs, morals, and ideals you know to be right. In doing so, you can never go wrong.

Goodbye, my son. I love you very much.


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