This is a sobering time; a time that brings many feelings to the surface. First, it is my 2nd son’s 21st birthday. Second, it is the eve of my youngest son’s 18th birthday. That being said, it would not be complete without mentioning my oldest son’s 23rd birthday just 8 days ago. As you can see, March has always been a special month in our family. It always will be.
I used to joke with everyone that “my boys’ birthdays are March 12th, 20th and 21st. My birthday is in April and we are usually broke by then”. We managed (sometimes with a lot of help) to get through Christmas and a 2 month reprieve before a round of birthdays every year though, and still they found a way to celebrate mine too…but they were children, learning the ways to honor each other. We didn’t always teach it well. We weren’t always the best example. We weren’t always together, but we still found a way to do it.
Today, though, marks a special time for me though. Today is the last day that I am a father of children. For tomorrow, I will be a father of men.
Now I know that age is not a sign of maturity; whether mental, physical or spiritual. Heck, I have met 40 year old “adults” that were not as mature as my boys, but it is a milestone of time. This milestone signifies how long they have endured this life…and each of them have endured much. This enduring is what many have talked, addressed and sung about for ages. This enduring is worth celebrating for our whole family.
For as we enter this new time, with little brother “pulling up the caboose”, I want each of you to hear these things from me:
- I am proud of you.
- I do not define you by your failures. Thank you for not defining me by mine all these years.
- You have a lot of life ahead of you therefore aim well. If you fail, at least you will fail while learning in the right direction.
- Despite what others may say, you will always be loved by your mom and me. Yes, feelings can sometimes make it seem different, but the principle stands that we love you unconditionally.
- You are all men now. There is no going backwards, only forwards…go forth boldly.
I feel that it is only fitting that this ends with this passage of scripture. It came at a time when Paul was describing Love in 1 Corinthians 13…and quite appropriately, he spoke of maturing…
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
While I will miss being a father of children, I look forward to this new adventure; this adventure as a father of men.