Graduation Day for My Son

Receiving the Diploma from Mrs. Good.

Sweet boy, you are growing so fast. Literally! I think this year alone you shot up six inches! By the end of summer, you just might be taller than me.

It’s not just your body that is growing, your mind is too. What a wonderful mind you have! I love the way you think. I am impressed by how you work through problems and the solutions you come up with. One day, if you want to, I think you would make a good president. I do. But mostly, be what you want to be. That is where you will be the best.

That’s not all though, emotionally you have matured by leaps and bounds! I have watched you tackle some pretty tough issues and even though you didn’t handle each one stellarly, you did handle them well. For your tender age, and not having so much life experience, you have done beautifully. I am touched by your honesty. I hope you are always this honest. And I am amazed how well you went back to fix what you did wrong, that my Darling is something even some adults can not manage.

Yup, you’re growing up. And I like who you are becoming. I love what I am seeing.

I wish I could still be the one who can fix all the problems you have. But you’re not two anymore and I can’t fix the world for you. One day you will be out there and if you keep on this path that you’re walking now, I know you’ll be just fine. No matter what comes, you’ll be fine.

Thank you for a beautiful day. Thank you for growing into a fine young man. Thank you for being you. We are so proud of you! Congratulations! You are a Graduate now!

We just love Mrs. Good! What a special graduation!

If I could give you the best advice in the whole world, I would. It’s just I’m not sure I know it yet…in the meantime, I leave you with this. It’s a song from ‘way back when’, but it’s got a lot of truth. Take of it what you will, but do wear your sunscreen. Please.

“Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen”
~words by Mary Schmich
~Performed by Baz Lurman

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

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About Sheila's Thinkerings

Happily married wife, happily mommied mom. I am far from perfect but I don't mind. Also I am a wee bit crazy, it's true. Just ask anyone who's ever met me...
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