Theo: There They Go
Working out with you last night was a little bit of a revelation to me. I realized how weak I have allowed myself to become - through laziness partly, but also through age - and I'm going to try to reverse that trend however I can. At one point we were sitting there resting and I looked in your face and saw you as a man. For an instant I imagined what you'd look like at 25 or so. I saw the man to be in the face of the young man sitting in front of me. Being a man is more than building a strong body (although that's a good, healthy part). All the years of family love, all the years of school contribute to a young man's sense of his ability, his dreams and his confidence and courage to go after them. I can see that growing in your face Theo, and I love you.
Lots to keep in mind, lots to work toward, lots to look forward to, lots to dream about in the second half of senior year. College, career options, baseball, classes, prom, spring break (training), friends, a job, money, a drivers license - what else? I'm sure you can think of something that I'm missing. Work it, but have fun at the same time. These next eight months are so important, special, so full of change - make them fit you like a glove. Be yourself now more than ever. Look at the world through your own eyes and trust your instincts. I love you so much!
You know there's a book titled "Dear Theo"? It's a collection of letters written by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother. I read it years ago. Back in the days before telephones, computers, the internet, letter writing was the only way to communicate from afar. We're not very far apart you and I, but letters work to keep us in touch - at least my letters keep you in touch with my thoughts. Yesterday I was thinking about my own father and my relationship with him. The 3rd boy - the fourth child - I didn't get much of his attention. Dad was busy all week - working long days or out of town entirely and we were a pack of wolf cubs running around with GG trying to tame us. (To be continued...)
I love you Theo.
(contd...) I woke up this morning thinking about my dad - trying to remember the times we did things together or talked with each other or that he helped me with anything and it was a painfully short list. My dad worked all day, came home, read the paper and Time magazine, ate dinner, and watched the news and went to bed. I guess I learned from the best hunh? I've never been very good at conversation have you noticed? I guess I've been teaching that to you as well. Everybody says that girls talk but guys keep it inside - why is that? Lack of an example? Lack of experience? I think that as easy as you might think it would be, talking about yourself is hard and maybe we're just too lazy to try? I love you.
What does a man do in uncertain times? In times of decision making? In stressful times of unknown future that seem so important, so necessary yet so confusing? Where's the compass set on your own true North? Where's your personal GPS? Your mapquest with the road to your destination all outlined in purple? Well I've got an answer for you - it's right there inside of you. Look around at the options and then look in for the right fit. In the end, some choices may seem to be made for you, but that's in large part an illusion because you decide what your options are - what road you want to travel. Look inside and follow your heart!
Along about this time of year back in 1971, I was pondering my graduation and what on earth I was going to do after. There was no college counselor in my school. I didn't have a long time tutor who understood me. My father never asked me anything about myself, let alone what I thought I might like to study (I bet his dad never asked him either). My friends were equally clueless. So how do you make a decision in that environment? Still I was lucky in that my parents did think I should go to college and were willing to make it happen, but at 17 I didn't really know myself or what I was really interested in or what kind of work I'd like to do. So my dad signed me up for Clemson and said "Pre-veterinary medicine" and off I went. No one suggested I go as an "undeclared major." Too bad. It would have saved me a lot of grief. I love you so much!
The game goes on for another - what is it? Five or six months? Until June when you graduate from high school. Wow! Graduate! I walk around this house and I see picture after picture of you as the cutest little kid there ever was. What a beautiful smile! And so freely given that smile of yours. A genuine smile, not just a put on for the camera. I like to think that you had a happy childhood. That you feel you have grown up in a loving household. And that wherever you head off to next Fall you'll be ready academically and emotionally to succeed. I love you Theo.
Thinking of your game today I realized I'm down to the fingers of one hand in games you have left to pitch for BC. A little sad to think about - for me anyway - I've really enjoyed all your efforts on the ball field - even the occasional failures add to the story. Fortunately that story has had much more success and I can't tell you how proud I am of you. And not just for your baseball skills, but of you as a fine young man, filled with diverse talents and possibilities. Always stay open to new ideas, always do your best at whatever challenges come along. I love you so much.
Tuesday morning after Senior Skip Day - what a world? I don't remember such a day when I was a Senior a zillion years ago. I wasn't playing varsity ball either. I do remember being a combination of anxious and excited as the year wore on over college and where I would go and what I would study. Senior year is one of those big change years - not exactly boy-to-man, but some of that plus some home-and-away; watched-over and on-your-own. That kind of thing. It's an exciting time. Live it fully! Enjoy it immensely! Share it freely.
Decisions coming into focus in spite of a couple of remaining unknowns. A feeling of progress of "rightness" of the path is in the air (along with spring and baby grass and budding trees and an early sunbeam). I love this time of year - winter slowly closing the door behind him as misty color adorns the trees and the ground becomes even brighter green. Enjoy these days Theo. Think, decide, work, play and enjoy. Life is blooming all around you - breathe it in, remember how lucky you are (we all are) and live! I love you so much!
"Movin' on up!" Headin' on out! We celebrate the changes in our lives as we downshift and ease into the stream of whatever "next step" awaits us. There's a lot to celebrate - a lot of success - maybe some missed opportunities and second guess in the mix, but all-in-all a steady progress to this point. Not a point as in a pinnacle, but a point along a line, a path, the steady climb you've been on for almost 18 years now. I'm proud of the young man you're becoming and I'm excited by the future man you'll become as you live and celebrate many, many more "points" in the future. I love you so much!
I know you decided to take today off and rest after your shoulder injury yesterday, but I didn't want to miss the chance to tell you how proud I feel every time I stand next to you. I watch you and I'm filled with amazement at your abilities, your demeanor, the good looks you got from your mom, your potential to be so much, your tender ways you show your love. Go on! Get outta here! Love you.
Today is the last regular day of class for the seniors. Is it my last note ever? I can't imagine that it will be. Maybe the last daily one (the simple words are the hardest to spell sometimes). Sometimes it's the simple things that are the most special - the most beautiful - the most memorable. Like saying "thank you" and "please." Like taking your earbuds out and listening to the wind and the birds. Like giving a friend a ride, like sharing a good joke. Like singing a song in the bath, like snapping off a sharp curveball or connecting on a line drive. Or maybe saying "I love you so much!"