Skip to main content

an open letter to my sons at the beginning of a school year

to my children,

as i sit and string these words together, you are both sleeping, your bodies still but for the rising of your chests with each little breath.  as i look at you in your beautiful sleep, i often wonder what is happening inside your heads.  are you dreaming?  and if so, is it in color?  do you dream about dinosaurs and batman and scooby-doo?  do your minds race with the jumbled juxtaposition of the images that fill your brains all day, or are your brains as serene as your soft-looking sleep? 

these questions have been pushing me a bit harder the last few days because both of you have started school.  you've both entered the world of giant square brick buildings full of charts and handouts and chocolate milk in little cardboard boxes and educational dvd's (i used to have filmstrips, but that's a whole 'nother story).  you've crossed the threshold into a realm that smells like crayons and pencil shavings mixed with floor wax and cafeteria pizza. 

as you can tell, there is alot going on in school.  there are so many sights and sounds and smells.  so much to do.  so much to experience.  so much to inspire curiosity and sometimes even anxiety.  in short: there is so much to learn.  and that's why i'm writing these words to you.  because by the time you're old enough to read them or to really care what they say, i hope you haven't forgot how fun it is to learn.  the smells might change from "eau-de-crayola" to the combination of heavily-overused junior high colognes, and the work might change from worksheets to essays, but the goal is still the same: to discover all there is to learn about this amazing thing called life. 

last night we read a book about weather.  it is a book with 3-D pictures, and so as i read it you both had to alternate your turn with the blue and red lenses to see the images of hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning.  and as we turned each page to discover the secrets it had to offer, you both asked me questions.  you wanted to know about the pictures and about wind and about clouds and vacuums and temperatures.  you're still trying to make sense of this great big world that is just teeming with mystery.  and i am hoping - even praying - that you never stop doing that.  it is the deep desire of this daddy that you never stop learning, and never stop wanting to learn; that you continue to ask questions (you don't have to ask "why?" after every sentence though, cade!).  that you continue to be unsatisfied with unthoughtful answers.  that you continue to apply the things you've learned to new experiences.  that you continue to wrestle with all the stimuli and information and images and worksheets and math problems and blank pages that life throws at you.  and that you just never stop learning.

as i watch your rib cages rise and fall with each rhythmic breath, i am overwhelmed with your peace and your innocent beauty.  but my joy is almost immediately accompanied by a heavy anxiety because i know that the world will rob you of some of that peace and innocence.  and so i pray over you.  i pray that even in these days, as you trace and color and paint and count that you will find that life is not just life: it is abundant life, overflowing with possibility and hope and wonder.  and that you never lose sight of that truth.  so sleep for now, little ones.  dream of crime-solving canines and superheroes, and wake to a new opportunity to learn and live.  and love it all. 

yours forever,


Bill Uebbing said…
I tried 3 times to read this. I am sure it ends well, but I can't see it through my tears. Your sons are lucky to have you and Shannon as parents.

Popular posts from this blog

State College to Birmingham

 as some of you know, i have been working towards a goal i set at the beginning of 2020 of running 1000 miles in one calendar year.  today is the last day of september (what?!?), and so that means the year is 3/4 of the way complete, which means i should be right around the 750 mile marker.  however, i am doing better than that, as my 5 mile run today put me at 847 miles for the year, almost 100 miles ahead of schedule!  i am feeling great, enjoying the journey, and experiencing a real sense of accomplishment as i work towards this goal.   i have also enjoyed these little milestones along the way, just to see how far i've come.  as it turns out, 847 miles from State College (along the roads, not as the crow flies) would have me arriving in Birmingham, AL, right about now!  not too shabby!  only about 150 to go!

bad haircuts (for a laugh)

everybody needs to laugh.  one good way i have found to make that happen is to do a simple google image search for 'bad haircut.'  when you do so, some of the following gems show up.  thankfully, my 9th grade school picture does NOT show up.  otherwise, it would certianly make this list!  please laugh freely and without inhibition.  thank you and have a nice day. 

happy mother's day 2020

twelve years ago i started making a video of our children as a mother's day tribute to their mother, and somehow it became a tradition.  back then, our oldest son was 3 years old, and cute.  now he's 15 and, well, not so cute .  however, we have really come to love this tradition, and the time capsule of sorts that it has become.  we love looking back at each year's video, to see how we've grown and changed, and how our love for Shannon has remained constant. below is this year's video, and if you want to walk with us down memory lane, the other eleven are down there as well.  happy mother's day to all the mom's out make us feel like a million bucks. 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009