There have been a handful of days in my life that I will always remember as days that brought me the most incredible joy…joy I never even knew was possible to feel! July 2, 1984, was one of those days! The nurses (and even the doctor) kept telling me you were going to be a girl because of your heart rate, but I knew…I KNEW you were going to be the baby boy who would complete our little family! I can’t believe 34 years have passed by already. We’ve had some hard times, but we’ve had many more joyful ones and I believe that we have to experience sadness and hurt in order to experience joy! One simply can’t exist without the other. I’m sure I did a lot of things wrong, but I know I had to have done more right because you turned out to be an amazing person and I’ve always been so proud of you!
Holding your newborn son brought back so many wonderful memories of your birth and childhood. Being able to watch him grow and explore the world with the same daring, no-fear attitude; the non-stop energy; and the intense curiosity that you have always shown is such a blessing to me. Teach your precious boy to be kind; to show respect in order to be respected; to be responsible for his actions and to ask forgiveness when he’s wrong and forgive when he’s been wronged. Teach him to work hard; that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them; that he can’t MAKE someone happy…it’s up to people to decide they want to be happy. Teach him to say, “sir” and “ma’am” to his elders, regardless of his age; to say, “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome;” to open doors for females of any age and any elderly person, regardless of their sex; teach him to shake hands with a firm grip and to always look people in the eye and always hold his head up and be proud of who he is. When he’s a teenager, remind him it’s still ok to hug his mom and tell you both he loves you…even in front of his friends. You always did and you never worried what your friends thought. Most of those friends were probably secretly wishing they had the courage to do that too, instead of a quick hug in the car where no one could see.
Teach him about our Lord and to keep Him front and center in his life. Teach him to always try his best and that it’s ok if he fails but to get back up and try again. Teach him that we are never promised tomorrow, so to love with everything that is in him and to never miss an opportunity to tell someone he loves them. These are the things I tried to teach you. I feel like I did a pretty good job. You’re already an awesome father to all your sons…your boys are going to grow up to be an amazing men …just like their Daddy!!
Happy Birthday, Justin, my precious son! We love you to Jesus’s feet and back!!
July 2, 1984 and August 22, 2016…