Friday, September 25, 2015

Dear Kids

It's birthday time around here and it feels like Christmas. I'll admit it's harder this year than most -- and I may have bought someone a candle with the wrong number on it -- but never fear, party we will! As we always will when we celebrate another year of your precious lives.

Even so, there's something you should know. Alas, I'm more than your party planner. More than your personal shopper. More than your homework director. More than your bedtime warden. More than your carpool runner. More than your veggie pusher. More than your mom...

You see, I'm also your appointed guide on this adventure we call life -- hand-chosen by God. Me for you. You for me. And we're all on loan to each other. You to me. And me to you. That's never been more real than now.

My son, the baby who laughed the loudest and cried the hardest. The pusher of trains on wooden tracks. The puller of mud-filled trucks. You're my sensitive soul. My teller of truths. My deep thinker. My lover of video games and YouTube and fossils. I've walked you through valleys of illness and discouragement. And I've raced you to mountaintops of achievement and joy. These days, the terrain is getting steeper -- middle school, puberty, and a stronger will for independence. And yet your very smile still makes me melt.

My daughter, the sweet holder of my face through all those years of co-sleeping. The tiny performer in princess dresses and misapplied lipstick. You're my creative. My talker, talker, talker. My chief mess maker. My lover of ice cream and ponies and impossible dreams. These days, we walk hand-in-hand through hormones -- and sometimes we pull in opposite directions. You catapult through life, and when you fall, I'm here to catch you. Your joy is my heart's delight.

I'm so proud of both of you, and so is your dad... that man who loves you more than his very life. We -- the Gregory's -- get to journey through this grand adventure together. How blessed we are. While your little legs used to trail behind us, you step more alongside us with each passing year. This march will continue until someday you walk right on past. That's okay.

Make wise decisions. Be good people. Honor God. Be kind. Be smart. Be safe. Contribute. Don't waste your life wishing things were different. They're not. But every day, do something to make the world better place. Remember it starts with a smile.

Now do me a favor. Go to a mirror if it helps. Put your legs together and your hands on your head. Push your elbows out to your sides and feel the stretch. Then look up. You've taken the shape of an arrow. Live your life like an arrow. An arrow -- a person -- who points people to God. That's what I've tried to do for you, and what I pray you'll do for the world. 

When you're lost, look up. When you're discouraged, look up. When others seek to praise you, point them past yourself and up to Him. And when your journey is complete, look up a final time -- that's where you're going. And that's where I'll be if I get to go first. Of all the directions your life can take, UP is the only one that truly matters. 

Happy Birthday with happy tears,

One of my favorite photos, taken in 2012.

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

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