When I look at you now, tall and strong, I don’t just see an eighteen-year-old man, I see you in all of your life’s stages at once. I see you as a newborn in my arms in the shadows of midnight, a blur of curly blonde hair racing to keep up with your brothers, the pink shirts you wore throughout elementary school, the tender realization in your eight-year-old green eyes that stealing the hockey puck was okay. (Who knew that sharing with others didn’t apply in sports?)
I remember the day you came home from Kindergarten and told me the teacher forgot to talk about Jesus, the way your face lit up when you opened your first pair of hockey skates on Christmas morning, green blankie, Funny Monkey, calling you “Moose”, your first hockey game (and first hockey fight), the 8th grade formal dance, singing “It’s Raining Men” during the cruise karaoke night, your first heartbreak, first job at Center Ice, learning to drive the car (and first ticket), prom, a proud captain of your travel and school hockey teams, winning the EPSHL championship, and now, a man.
As much as a mother raises her son, so does a son raise his mother. You have taught me many things as I have watched you grow. From you I have learned the power of a tender heart as I have witnessed your quiet kindness to others all of your life. Your teachers throughout grade school up to high school always remarked how much they loved having you in class (Though there was that rough patch with Miss Shriner). You attract friends wherever you go, and I admire how loyal you are to them.
You have a natural tenacity and ability to accept life as it unfolds. This is a skill that will serve you well in the years to come, because life is about transformation, a decades long process of becoming. There are chapters, but no destinations. In the years to come, as you are surprised or sidelined unexpectedly or sent in directions unanticipated, remember that it is unfolding as it should be.
You taught me how to find joy in the moment. You have the gift of turning the mundane into amusement. You see comic irony in the world around you. Your wry humor is a constant source of delight that lightens our days. It reminds us to relax and not take everything so seriously. I will miss this tremendously when you go to college.
Brandon, I love you. You are the son that every mother dreams of having. I could not be more thankful for you and proud of the man you have become. Your character and integrity are important to you. You are finding your voice and moving forward in positions of leadership.
Choose wisely and you will live without regret, because real and lasting happiness has nothing to do with material possessions, it is a result of living your values, even when it is difficult. Even when choosing to stand for what is right means that you will lose friends or perhaps a job/position.
Senior year is a year of letting go, when motherhood becomes a complicated mixture of pushing you forward and holding you back. Every day I cry a few tears (okay, a lot of tears) as I get used to the idea of your moving on from our home, but at the same time, I am so excited for you to embrace this next phase of life. Have fun, work hard, and enjoy every single day.
I am in your corner, your loudest cheerleader, and proudest Elizabethtown College Mother EVER! ~ Love, Mom