To My Son (at Graduation) May 24, 2006Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Family, Friends, Humor, Language, Love, Morality, Parenting/Children, Self-Worth.
Hopefully, none of the things we want to say to you this morning will be new. We hope you’ve heard them all before, from us, many times. Even so, this is a good opportunity for us to repeat these things.
When we look at you, we see what the world sees, but we see much more. We see the complex interaction of the man we’ve taught you to be, combined with the man you’ve decided to become. The result is a fabulous “witches brew” (without the witchcraft) that combines many interesting and fascinating things.
For example, it’s no doubt that the world can see the size of your feet, as they have been a conversation piece from the moment you arrived (someone in the hospital commented on your feet just hours after you were born). Your shoe size (17) has led to any number of jokes, and probably a bit of ridicule. In spite of this, you’ve learned to not just accept this physical characteristic, but to relish the potential for humor.
What the world can’t see is the size of your heart, which is just as notable. From the days of t-ball where you didn’t want to tag a little boy out who had fallen on his way to the base (in your words, “it didn’t seem fair”), to watching you spend a Spring Break at the side of your best friend as he lay, paralyzed, in a hospital. The size of your heart has been a source of pride and conversation, but your Mom and I are the ones that speak about it instead of you.
Similarly, the world can easily see your sense of humor. There is no question that many of your teachers would have preferred to see less of it, but you have always managed to balance the “class clown” act carefully enough to not cross the invisible line into serious annoyance.
I wonder how these same teachers would react to seeing you the night my Mom died, when at 12 years of age, you immediately accepted the responsibility of watching over my Dad, even as you quietly said goodbye to your “Mammaw.” Would it have surprised those same teachers to hear you playing “Amazing Grace” on your guitar at Dad’s funeral several years later?
Your life has become a point of convergence for music, comedy, honesty, sportsmanship, competitiveness, love, and righteous indignation. You live at the nexus of apparent contradictions: juxtaposing skill with words and skill in athletics, thoughtful observation with instant satire, and accepting “what is” without losing sight of “what could be.”
Your Mom and I will miss living in the midst of this world you’ve created, a world where you fascinate and confound, surprise and shock, and manage to put a smile on the face of all who are in this midst. For us, the good news is that now, the rest of the world will be able to enjoy it too.
Mom & Dad