It’s hard to believe you are thirteen years old. It literally seems like yesterday that I held you for the first time. You made me a mother, even when I was still a baby myself. In that very moment I learned what love actually was, I never knew before that day. But my heart became whole the moment I heard you take your first breath, Griffin. You were wide eyed, and full of wonder from the start. I remember Stuart saying, “He is going to be so smart, look how he is just taking everything in.” and Granddaddy drove 4 hours to the hospital, in the middle of the night, to meet you the day you were born. You were his first great-great grandchild, and he was busting at the seams with joy to hold you. I remember that day, like it was yesterday. But here you are, a teen. I blinked and you grew up on me. To say that I love you just doesn’t seem enough.
The other day as we were playing football in the yard, I struggled to keep the tears in. I watched you turning from a boy to a man. The days of tucking you in, praying and reading bedtime stories, holding your hand as we crossed the street.. those days are only memories now. I know life hasn’t been easy. You have had more hurt and confusion than most kids your age. You have suffered tremendous loss. But you, Griffin have been so strong, and brave, and you have pushed on in spite of a lot of crap. And I need you to know today, Bill and I are so proud of you. We are so blessed to be the ones by your side each and every day. I love your smile, your heart, and your wit.
As you embark on this next phase of your life, we promise to give you room to find your way, but guidelines to keep you safe. I pray you realize HOW fast the next seven years will go, and you will choose to make a mark on those around you each day. I pray you move forward with respect to your future and make decisions that reflect the man you hope to be. I have to admit, I am fearful of your independence, and prayful you choose the right path, I have such immense pride knowing how strong you have been these last five years, and am certain you are on the cusp of the most amazing years of your life.
I hope you remember, you are loved ferociously. Not only by Bill and I, but by God. You are capable of the VERY best, so never settle for less than that. I pray you remember your brother and sister love you more than life itself, and you are their example. Lead them well. I pray you pick your friends wisely. Being popular isn’t important, but make selective friendships with people that carry your same morals and values IS. Your friends and your future girlfriend(s) should be people with character. People that push you to be your very best you, and people that you in turn do the same. I pray you always know Bill and I are here to talk, to listen, to pray. We always have your back. If your Uncle Stuart were here today, I believe he would tell you to have a firm handshake, and introduce yourself with confidence. He was known for his handshake. People remember him for the way that moment with him made them feel. Make people feel that same way in that moment with you. Make them better in that 30 seconds, than they were before having met you. Always believe in yourself. What you believe about you, others will too. Make sure they see your greatness. Because you are so worthy of a beautiful life. Be grateful for what you have and say thank you. Be careful what you put in writing, because you will never be able to take it back. And on that note, in a world of social media: be careful what you post online. It will affect your future jobs, friendships, marriage, children. The internet and social media are permanent. REMEMBER THAT. Lastly, I pray as you continue to mature into the man God called you to be, You will watch Bill. He is a wonderful man – full of love, integrity, compassion, and strength. He is wise and can offer insight on all things “guy”. He is a role model that only comes once in a lifetime. Be a sponge and absorb as much as you can from him in these next seven years as a teen . Be grateful to God, that he has chosen to be your father, as we are so grateful that you are our son. Never forget, no matter how great the success, or how mighty the failure, WE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU. ALWAYS.
I will close by saying, I know these words may not be significant to you today, But we pray when those days of doubt come, and you question who you are, or what is important, you can open this and remember you are OUR SON. You are a gift from God. You are loved immeasurably, and you are chosen ALWAYS. You are smart, handsome, big hearted and full of potential. You are destined for greatness Griffin Joseph.
We love you ALL there is,
Mommy & Bill