To my son turning eight: 10 YEARS LEFT to make you a man

Dear Scott

In a few days’ time, you’ll be eight.

Like all life’s best things, there’s a timeless immediacy about you. You’re fresh like it’s my first time and familiar like you’ve been part of me forever.

But we don’t have much time.

A quick decade from now in a future changing fast, you’re a voter, a student, a driver, a Legal Grownup.

Ten years from now you’re a man.

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It’s not that we’re planning to hoof you onto the street then and there. No way. But you’d be free to go. And we’d be free to let you.

So on the You Are Here timeline of all human history, your dad and I are on the cusp of this one short decade to love and lead you well. To master the slow steady transfer of life responsibility, from our hands into yours.

And a decade from now, here’s what we want you to believe in your bones:

We are responsible to love you.

With all our hearts, we will. This next decade and forever.

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But,

You are responsible for your happiness.

You hold your own happy and you need to be sure you’re not handing it around expecting others to hold it for you. It’s too heavy – too unfair – to expect anyone else to lug it about and hand it back gift-wrapped.

That said, we’ll try to be fun to live with. We’ll find adventure. We’ll make moments. We’ll wrestle entitlement to the ground and grin our victory in grateful, simple thanks. We’ll pick experiences over things, character over comfort, and relationships over pretty much everything. We’ll choose our own happy, hold onto it, and encourage you to do the same.

You are responsible for your decisions.

We’ll do our fair share of hand-holding for a while yet. But ultimately, it’s all up to you. You’re on your own journey, and there’ll be grace enough.

Still, we’ll try to model integrity. We’ll help you hear God’s voice above the din of culture. We’ll show you how to dig for truth beneath lies and assumptions. And at every twist and dip and hurdle and cliff, we’ll commit to calling out courage and wisdom from your supple, strengthening heart.

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I suspect it might get harder before it gets easier. I suspect eye-rolling and door-slamming and disagreeing may be in our mutual future. I suspect we’ll wonder every other day if we heard right? If this is really God’s will? If it’s supposed to be this hard?

I suspect we’re choosing the path of maximum resistance, and maximum reward.

But I suspect we will all survive, and be so very glad.

I hope and pray in Jesus’ name that we’ll be firm friends on the far side of this decade. I trust and believe that though we wait for a late harvest, it’s true what they say: later is longer. There’ll be time to feast on the fruits.

I love you more every day of every year of your evergreen life. I wouldn’t trade what you’ve taught me for anything. I wouldn’t swap the hard or the heartbreaking, the mundane or the magnificent, the uncertainties, the ridiculous joy, the fierceness, the fun, the relentless over-and-over of everyday love. Not for anything.

Be brave, little man.

Let’s do this thing.

Happy birthday.

All my love,

Mom

Xx

. . .

Happy weekend!

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