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Graduation…a mother’s blessing

Sunrise, Boise, Idaho, 10/28/11 (Betsy Russell)
Sunrise, Boise, Idaho, 10/28/11 (Betsy Russell)

My son graduates today...we will gather with friends and sit in the auditorium and cheer. He asks me if I will cry. Of course.  But first, in the intimacy of our home, I will read these words, a look back, a blessing forward. With love, Mom...

We are here – graduation day – when we celebrate you: Alexander.

Somehow the years carried us to this moment: with you growing from an infant, to a toddler, then a child, now a young man. We have marched too quickly in this parade of life.

When you were three, I called you, “Son.”  You smiled at me and asked, “Like sun-shine?”  Yes, like sunshine…and still like sunshine through 19 years.

School may have taught you what you need for life, most likely not. The quizzes and papers and tests feel more like hurdles then bridges today. No matter, you never let school discourage your passion. Nice work! A+

May you take with you some life lessons learned along the way, lessons we discovered in our journey through your childhood.

Together, we discovered time is precious – so why waste it on chores when we could build forts, swim at the pool and read books? The weeds and dusting waited patiently while we played. Our days filled up with laughter and giggles and imaginative journeys to distant lands. We traveled together– through forts and Moon Horse rides into the night.

Sometimes, we had to travel through real-life sadness – losing Grandpa, Uncle Art and Sister Carolyn. You brought kindness on those trips, easing our way.

You taught me simple gestures of love transform us: when you were five, you insisted we take flowers to the hospital patients who were not discharged home for Christmas. You took carnations and put them in paper-cup vases; you brought joy to the bedside. I learned of your tremendous compassion for strangers.

In second grade, you asked if I ever stood up for justice like Martin Luther King, Jr or Rosa Parks; and did I ever meet Rosa Parks and what did I actually say to her?  In that moment, I learned people are more important to you than theories and your heart understands suffering.  You remain a wise soul seeking what is right in the world.  

While the classroom often confined you, the stage has not. Cast as an iguana, a carriage driver, a dyno-bug, Amonasro – and many other characters – you delighted us and found self-confidence.  While singing in Fame, Footloose and Phantom, you found your own voice at Creative Theatre Experience, Kids at Play and in the Catskills. Your courage to listen to your own spirit taught me to listen more closely to my own voice. I am grateful.

God has blessed you with gifts you will soon share with the world. Today I offer these gifts for you:

For your journey, may you take faith – for times of joy and confusion – knowing our God who created you, walks with you – always.

May you take hope – for all your dreams and adventures. You have taught us to see possibilities when discouraging voices whispered into our life. May your hopeful heart guide you to joy-filled destinations.

May you take love – many people loved you through these years - and left their love within your heart. May their love inspire and comfort you, may that love give you strength and delight.

No matter where your dreams lead you: to school, the stage, with new friends and places: our love follows - through eternity into forever.


Congratulations, Alex!  Love, Mom

(S-R archives photo)

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.