It is a tradition not to be broken....
Even if there is no one here to read it today.
Every year for each of the three boys' birthdays, I write a letter to them on this blog. When they were too little to read them themselves, I would read it to them. Then they became old enough to read it on their own. Today there is nobody here to read the birthday letter.
Today my oldest turns 17, but today he is at camp.
This is the first birthday I have ever spent without him. It feels strange. I sympathize with military moms today since this is what it must feel like to spend your child's birthday without them... Without even the ability to call them! I'm sure that he's having a great birthday today, but I sure am missing him on this day.
Today you are seventeen years old. This is the last year that you can call yourself a kid. Next year, I will be the mother of an adult child. Ugh... I always ask myself this question when birthdays come around, so I will ask again... "Why does time march on so quickly?"
I feel like this year was a year of many milestones for you. Usually I recall the highlights of your year within these birthday letters. My fingers type quickly all the many ways in which you have shown growth in different areas of your life. As I look back on previous letters, I read about how you have grown academically, physically, in your sports abilities, and in your character. This year hasn't been much different... And yet it has.
This year you have shown me (and SO many others) what you are truly capable of from the inside out. As you have experienced a rather large hurdle thrown in front of you, you haven't given up. You haven't spent a single moment feeling sorry for yourself. I remember the day when we sat in the car in that parking lot... When I told you what the Dr. had told me. I choked tears down. It was MY lip that quivered, not yours. You sat there still. You sat there, bit your lip hard and let me know that YOU WOULD GET THROUGH THIS. Your attitude has been healthy and strong ever since, even when I could not hide the fact that my own attitude about all of this was not.
I am more convinced than ever that seeing your strength through all of this has been the gift of it all. As your parents, we have always been pretty good about sharing that life is sometimes hard. Sometimes you get dealt a bad hand. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we planned them to. Seeing how you have handled exactly the kind of thing we have told you about all of these years is something that not every parent gets to see while their child is still at home. A lot of times, parents don't experience their child's painful life situations until that child is grown and out of the house. I am not saying that I am happy for your pain, but what I am saying is that seeing you cope with it has shown your father and I what a strong man of God you really are! This has been a gift... YOU are such a gift!
Lucas, I know that there is great reward in this for you. No matter what happens next, God IS using you, and He is going to continue using YOU and this story. I am SURE of this! I feel confident that this set back will not define you. Instead, YOU will define IT.
I could not be more proud of you than I am on this day... This sixteenth day of June, 2014.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky...