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To my son

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It is still unbelievable to utter those words and I haven’t even met you yet. You won’t believe what we had to do to get to this point. Don’t worry, your dad will tell you all about it and never let you forget how much money we spent on you before you were even born – actually, before you were even conceived!

I don’t think I can fully express to you the hope I have for your life and the hope you bring to my life. You represent our future, our legacy and my hope is that you rise to the occasion and fulfill the plans and purpose that God has had for you since before I even realized I needed you in my life.

You come from a strong stock of men. Men who are confident in who they are and what they stand for. Men who are leaders in their own ways. I pray that you take a little piece of each of them as you grow up.

Son, I hope you become like your daddy. A man strong of character and justice, deep love and loyalty. He is responsible. A provider. A leader. He is trustworthy and kind and never ceases to amaze me with his quiet generosity. I pray that some day you will find someone to love as extravagantly as your father loves me – and in turn, be passionately loved back.

Son, I hope you take after your grandpa Johnny (aka, Poppy). A man of deep and abiding faith and fearlessness. A man who loves his wife, children and grandchildren passionately and without limits. A man who will sacrifice self for others. A teacher of deep wisdom and ability. A doer and a finisher.

Son, I hope you are fearless like your grandpa Jerry. A man who was willing to sacrifice everything for his country and go into battle. A patriotic man, a proud man.

Son, I hope you are like your uncle Joedy. A man who understands and exemplifies the true meaning of sacrificing everything for his family. A man who is as selfless as can be – willing to take care of anyone who asks, and even those who do not. A man who places specific emphasis on other people’s comfort. A friendly man, a hard-working man.

Son, I hope you are like your cousin Justus. Even at a young age he stood out as a leader, as a strong boy of character and it has proven to be true as he has grown up. He is respectful. He understands the value of hard work and isn’t afraid to work for what he wants. A smart man, an independent man.

Son, I do not tell you about the amazing men in your heritage to pressure you, rather I want you to know what you are capable of. I want to you know the resources you have available to you.  I believe that you can be and do whatever you want to. The options are limitless, but I pray this: that whatever you do, whoever you become, that you work your hardest, give your everything, never regret the decisions you make and are proud of yourself.

I’ve told you about the strong men in your family, but you also will be surrounded by strong, independent women who will teach you the softer side of life and that stereotypes are only that, and are meant to be broken.

I am your momma son. My entire life I never wanted to be defined by that title, rather complement it with the fact that I was smart, fearless and successful. I have spent my career trying to be the best at whatever I am doing and not just collect a paycheck. Sometimes I make stupid choices because I overvalue my strength and capabilities. I pray that one thing you learn from me as you grow up is that you want a capable woman. Don’t ever be put off by a women’s strength. Rather, assess how she wields her strength and if she uses it to bring others up, rather than tear them down.

Your grandma Jeannie (Grandnanna) is the most compassionate woman I have ever known. Her reserves for pouring herself into people are endless. Her joy overflows from her laugh, her smile and her quiet servitude like a fresh mountain spring. She thrives when she is surrounded by her family, loving and serving them in ways they each need.

Your grandma Sandy may be small, but she is mighty. She raised your daddy through very difficult circumstances, never settling for getting by, but making sacrifice after sacrifice so that she could build a good life for them, and model what hard work gets you. She instilled in him the value of responsibility, caution and ownership. She would not let him settle, rather she pushed him and supported him as he made his own path.

Your aunt Kendra is the nurturer. She thrives on being a wife and a mother, on loving and supporting her husband and children in all things. She gives of herself time and time again so that others can know joy. She is the party planner, the hostess and the crafty queen of our family. She is teaching me much about raising children in the world we live in today.

Your cousins Selah and Cadence will be your greatest allies. I sense that you can do no wrong in their eyes.  They will each teach you different aspects of life. Selah – the smart perfectionist and Cadence – the quietly humorous darkhorse.  They will show you how to relentlessly pursue what you want from life. Just ask them about how Maddy the dog joined their family.

These women are just a few of the reasons why I want you to grow up with the utmost respect for the opposite sex. Think of them and how you want them to be treated. I will not let you become a boy who doesn’t respect women. Look to your daddy son, he understands and can teach you what you need to know. He is both gentle and fierce in his regard for women. He will not stand around while they are mistreated and I expect the same of you.

Son, this is your family. It is small, but it is strong – filled with amazing men and women that will be on your team and love you and encourage you when you are down. A family that will celebrate with you when you are joyous and pray with you and for you when trouble arises.  Don’t ever wonder if these people love you. Don’t ever let feelings and emotions come between you and these people – these are your most important assets in life.

Son, I pray that if you have a sibling someday, that eventually you will become best friends. That you will rely on each other, respect each other and be each other’s biggest fan. You will be the older brother and that is a serious job. It is your job to protect and defend and teach them the way.

Son, I pray that we will always be close, that we will always reach out to each other in times of joy, times of need and just to say hello sometimes. Your dad and I both have close relationships with our parents and I cannot stress what an important part of our lives that is.

Son, most of all I want you to know how much we love you. You have already buried deep in my heart, impressed upon my mind. You are our hope and our future and we cannot wait to meet you.

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