A Letter to My Son Upon Graduation

A letter to my son upon his high school graduation. So proud of him!

Dear Matthew,

Love is not easy to put into words, especially a mother’s love, the depth of which is unfathomable.

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 blonde hair racing down the stairs in Barney pajamas on Christmas morning, the navy shorts and pressed white shirt of a first grader not sure why he has to go to school, the tender realization in your eight-year-old blue eyes that stealing the puck was okay in roller hockey. (Who knew that sharing with others didn’t apply in sports?)

I remember the white pooka beads and Hawaiian shirts that heralded the onset of middle school, basketball and volleyball uniforms, a well-worn back pack and a handful of snacks on trains through Europe,  the royal blue gown of an 8th grade graduate, the proud captain of your high school volleyball team, 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. (Though there was that rough patch when you were three and almost asked to leave Debbie’s Daycare when you knocked over the boy who kept stealing your matchbox cars )  Your teachers throughout grade school always remarked about your concern for the feelings of other children. You attract friends wherever you go, and you are loyal to them.

You taught me how to find joy in the moment. You have the gift of turning the mundane into amusement.  You see subtext and 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. Who will alert me to the new, must see, You tube videos?

And you taught me about courage.  Our family life has been marked by transition, and you have endured many relocations from a young age.  In your 18 years you have had seven homes and attended five schools.  Change has been constant.  Anyone who has moved knows that it is never without trial.   You have navigated these changes with elegance, courage, acceptance, and again humor, when all else failed.  It has been remarkable to watch.  You are stronger than you know.

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. And if you are able to visualize each stage as having a beginning, middle, and end  it will be easier to recognize God’s plan for you as He chooses to reveal it.  His plan is rarely the same one that we envision for ourselves, so, 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.  That’s when you will appreciate your already sharpened abilities to navigate change.

Each chapter has a specific lesson that God, in His all knowing wisdom, sees that you must learn. Painful chapters draw us near to Him, and joyful chapters illuminate the glory and wonder of our world. Both are important.

Matt, 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.  God will rely on you to use that leadership to model the qualities of a good, honest and loving man.  You have been blessed with height and people will have to look up to you during your lifetime, the important thing is to make them want to.

A faith journey is a daily one.  It is vital to see our moral choices, both grave and not, as turning points.  Your choices will lead you closer to God or further from Him.  Lead you down a path toward a peaceful heart or a troubled one.  No choice is made in secret as God is always with you.  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.

This gift of clear sightedness, to recognize the path that supports your values is the prayer that I will pray for you every day as you move forward into the world. Sometimes it is not so easy to discern.  We live in a world that rewards bad behavior in order to boost media ratings. A world that teaches athletes and leaders that there is some private permission to behave immorally because of their position. The temptations that come with success are real. The fallout of those lifestyles ruin families and deeply scar those closest to them. The most powerful leaders, the ones who affect real change, are the ones who choose to lead their families in the ways of love that strengthen the home and thus the community.

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 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 Mother at Brophy College Prep  ~ Love, Mom

(Posted with permission!)

About these ads

59 Comments

Filed under Moments That Matter

59 responses to “A Letter to My Son Upon Graduation

  1. Hankie please!! *sniff*

    You’ve summed up what we wish for our growing children so perfectly, Susan. “…real and lasting happiness has nothing to do with material possessions, it is a result of living your values, even when it is difficult.” You’ve exemplified this in your own life and shown your children by example. Matt is a lucky kid.

    And I am lucky to call you my friend.

  2. My son is 37 and I still feel the same. Your words brought back fond memories of my son’s graduation. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  3. Gigi Sobiech

    Beautifully written…I also have a wonderful son graduating this year….thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks for commenting, Gigi! Just enjoying these last few months before college. How do we slow down these days?

      • Renee

        Hello! I ready your letter and have been struggling with getting my thoughts down as my son walks down the isle tonight. Thank you for your wisdom – I think I’ve postponed writing a letter because it’s the close of this chapter and the beginning of a new one. It’s hard to turn the page. Thank you for helping. I feel so blessed to have David as my son, sometimes, it’s hard to believe that God is so good. My life has been so difficult at times and I made so many wrong choices, but to see how God has blessed my life with my amazing son, really lets me know, God loves us and is all forgiving if we only give our lives to Him and trust Him. So, my blessing today is that I stumbled upon your letter to your son. God’s continued blessings to you and your family.

        Renee

      • Hello Renee! Thank you for your comment. I love how God works and how paths cross in mysterious ways. I am glad that this post helped you put your thoughts and love on paper for your son. Such an important time in our children’s lives as well as our own. Blessings to you as you prepare for college and beyond~ Susan

  4. Susan – I just came upon this – so beautiful! I don’t have children myself but have had several nephews who are like sons/brothers to me and completely identified with your description of seeing every stage of Matthew at once in the grown man he is know. It is truly a blessing to watch children grow and you are both blessed to be in each other’s lives. :-)

    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comment. It is such a bittersweet time for us as we watch our amazing son set out into the world. We are humbled by our blessings~

  5. Marilyn

    Just came upon this site and just cried reading this . Many things you wrote sound just like me and my son. I found many things And may borrow some to write on my sons graduation card. If I am able to write and not cry. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Marilyn, Thank you for your heartfelt comment. Graduation is such an emotional time. Please, borrow away! This is no time to leave words unsaid. Blessings to you in this transition~

  6. Thaila

    Susan, you have a wonderful son. My son is graduating this year and what you wrote is beautiful. I just wished I can put in words what you did, so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thalia, Yes I have been blessed with a wonderful son and give thanks for him every day. THank you for taking the time to comment! Blessings to you and your son as well. A sacred time for parents and children~ Susan

      • Thaila

        You Welcome Susan, by the way my mother’s name is Susan as well. God Bless You Both.

  7. Kimberly

    Thank you, Susan, for putting a voice to my mixed emotions as my youngest graduates this week. With your permission, I will personalize much of this for my son. I want you to know that it helps me greatly with this ‘letting go’ process knowing that I have conveyed my heart to him in a tangible way.

    • Hi Kimberly, Of course! And yes, all of these mixed emotions make it so difficult to express the depth of this time of life. Words can’t possibly capture it all. But it is important to try :) Hugs…

  8. So beautiful! with your permission, i would like to copy some and write it to my son. I cant attend his graduation since my work requires me to live in another country, but your words are exactly what i feel and you wrote them down so perfectly… Thanks.

    • Hello Erma, Of course! Please feel free to use whatever you would like. Graduation is such a tender and important time in our children’s lives and it is important to let them know they are cherished and supported as they make their way in the world~

  9. Michelle Del Frate

    Very beautiful words. My son is graduating this year and I was trying to write a peom for him for his year book. Thank you for sharing

    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for your comment. It was and remains my pleasure to share this with you and others searching for words to capture this tender and difficult time :)

  10. Susan,
    I’m teared up… not something I expected before 10 AM on a Monday. The idea of a child raising a parent rings so clearly here. They do raise us don’t they? I said to my daughter recently as I apologized for talking through parenting issues with a friend who understood daughters, “I’ve never parented a 15-year-old before. I’m new at this and appreciate guidance and wisdom from people who’ve been there….” Your warmth and depth of love are so palpable here. Thank you. -Renee

    • Hi Renee! So sorry to get you all worked up so early in the day :) My kids taught me as many lessons as I, hopefully, taught them. The ongoing mystery and beauty of parenting~

      Thanks for stopping by! Great to see you at the conference on Saturday…

  11. Tonya Jones

    Susan, there’s just not enough words to express how much Love, Appreciation & the Words of Encourgement you have shown towards your son’s future. My first born, 18 yr old son will be graduating in June 2013 & just from reading your letter much tears rolled down my face, i already know on his big day i will shed enough tears to mop the floor…Lol… :) Congrats again to you & your son, Blessings,*Tonya*

    • Thank you, Tonya. I appreciate your comment. Yes, it there is no way to side step the emotion that overflows the entire senior year as well as graduation day! The year that separating from your child becomes real. It is a sacred time for the family. Dwell in the sacredness and drink it in. Congrats to you and your son as well!! Susan

  12. Pingback: 7 Creative Ways to Say Congrats to a Graduate | American Prom Blog

  13. I have identical twin boys graduating this year.They are wonderful young men going off to college to room together. I am excited for them and could not be more proud. Thank you for your letter. Linda Kaye

    • Hi Linda, It looks like you have twice the reason to rejoice and celebrate :) Congratulations and Congratulations! Love our boys~ Susan

  14. R. Edwards

    Well said and touching. I would love to use portions of your letter, if would allow, in something similar I am writing for my oldest graduating from high school next week..

    • Hi Rich, Thank you for your inquiry. It is greatly appreciated :) I am happy to share these words with you… as we all grapple with what to say to our children on such a momentous occasion. Wishing you and your graduate much love and success~ Susan

  15. ninoska hodgema

    As I read your letter I couldn’t stop my tears coming down my face. My son graduation is today and i came across this wonderful letter full of emotions and i felt the same as you did before. I would like to use a portion of your letter if is okay with you. Ninoska

  16. Shelly

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Susan! I also could not stop from crying!! As my son, Conor, prepares to graduate from high school tomorrow, I am overcome with such emotion!! He has been facing a crisis of faith…not so much questioning as feeling flat…that has me needing to rely on the Lord completely as we transition into this next phase of life! I have been wanting to write a letter and just didn’t know where to start! Thank you for at least orienting my thinking and opening my heart beyond the overwhelming love and pride…and cutting through the fear that I feel as we look ahead to the Fall. We have taught him well and will continue to encourage him, trusting that we know that the Truth of God’s everlasting Word is written on his naïve, but precious and tender heart! Thank you for the encouragement and the inspiration!

    • Hi Shelly, Thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt response. Your comment “We have taught him well and will continue to encourage him, trusting that we know that the Truth of God’s everlasting Word is written on his naïve, but precious and tender heart!” says it all. Like taking the training wheels off that new bike, it is time to find his balance and ride off into the world. I am so glad that you found your way to this post and can use it to craft your own letter to Conor. Blessings to you all during this sacred family time~ Susan

  17. Gerald Laont

    Susan , what a beautiful letter , speaks a lot about my son graduating today. So. Many similarities. congrats to him and youWith your permission , may I use some of the those inspired paragraphs. God bless you

    • Good morning, Gerald. Yes, absolutely! I am honored to share these words with you. We are all one voice in the love we feel for our children and our efforts to guide them toward a meaningful life. Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate your son!

  18. kate

    What a beautiful letter to your son! He is very lucky to have you as mom.
    with your permission, I would like to copy some of your words and write them for my son’s graduation. I am so glad to find your blog from website!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Hi Kate! Thank you for stopping by and sharing this post. I am very proud of our son and continue to watch him become a fine man… what we all wish for our boys. Please feel free to use the words that speak to your heart as you compose a note to your son. I appreciate your asking! ~Susan

  19. Mom

    Love this letter. Very well written

  20. Dawn

    My son’s name is Matthew and he is everything that my son is. I read your letter and I teared up. I have to let mine go this year and he begins a new chapter of his life. Not sure how I will do this but I have to let go. We has always been the two of us and that will not be after August. He is going off to college and beginning pre-med/biology classes. This will be a transition for me but I know God has him in his hands. Thank you sharing your letter.

    • Hello Dawn,
      Thank you for your heartfelt comment. Letting go of our Matthews… such a bittersweet time. It sounds like your Matthew is off to do good work!

      I keep the meaning of the name Matthew (Gift of God) close to my heart when I am missing him. Indeed a gift meant to be shared with the world. Blessings to you both during this year of transition and always~ Susan

  21. Lynn

    Hi Susan,

    You are a wonderful writer and Mom! Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt open letter to your son. It sounds like what I want to write to my son..but I’m not the best writer. I was on google looking for help and/or suggestions on writing a parent ad for my son in his high school yearbook when I came across your blog message. My son Brett graduates this June 2014. My son Brett is my angel boy/man. I was sincerely touched by your words…I had to let you know how much it moved me and brought me to tears. I feel exactly the same way about my son. Thank you so much! I hope you don’t mind if I borrow pieces of your beautiful letter. I only hope and pray I can put all my feelings into words as you so eloquently have done! Wishing you and your son all the best of Life’s Blessings! <3 :)

    • Hi Lynn! Thank you for your kind words :) I am so glad you happened across the blog. I am happy for you to “borrow” any of the words that will help you express your feelings as a mom and “Angel Guide”. We moms need to support each other in any way we can on our journeys. Blessings to you and your family as Brett moves into the world to be become the man he is being called to be <3 Susan

      • Lynn

        Hi Susan, I don’t believe in “coincidences”…I was meant to find you. I visited your website, and I am ordering your book “Half way to Each Other.” <3 I kind of guessed you must be a teacher or writer! :) You are so blessed and gifted! Thank you for sharing yourself with the world-we need more people like you!

      • Lynn, I don’t believe in coincidences either, they are always fruitful in such delightful ways. It is wonderful to meet you and I am grateful for your purchase of HTEO. I hope you enjoy your upcoming literary journey to Italy! Buon Natale!

  22. Brin

    Susan
    I happened upon your blog and wanted to reach out to you as your letter to your son is absolutely beautiful. You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful son. I too have an amazing son. He is graduating this year and with permission I would like to use some of your words as you have beautifully described my feelings and wishes for my him.
    Blessings
    B

    • Hi Brin,
      Thank you for your note. Of course, I would be happy for you to use these sentiments for your son’s celebration. This is a rite of passage for us as well as our children and it is important that they know how much we love and support them as they venture into the world. Congratulations! ~Susan

  23. Angie Golden

    Hi Susan, Your letter is beautifullly well written from the heart. With your permission, of course, I would love to use some of your words for my son that is graduating from grad school. I am so proud of him, and your letter says it all so well. I will agree they teach us mothers as well as us teaching them, and we continue to learn from one another. It is amazing, just wish it would slow down. Congrats to you and your son!!! Thanks for sharing your letter. You helped me with your expertise in expressing yourself on paper. Thank you so much. God bless you and your family.

    • Hi Angie, Thank you for your note! Of course, please use any part of this letter as you compose one for your son. Graduate school is a wonderful accomplishment and may he have great success as he ventures in to the world. Blessings to you and your family~ Susan

  24. Flora Chu

    Such a touching letter! I really admire your value system and how you encourage your son with Biblical teaching!

  25. Robin P.

    So sweet – thank you for sharing!

  26. Hailey

    that was beautiful! i think im gonna cry! i am now remembering all of the memories of my son as a little handsome boy… you are very talented! keep up the good work!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s