Well, you did it. Or rather, we did it. You graduated from homeschool, and so did I, in a sense. I suppose we'll laugh for a long time as we playfully dispute the actual date of your graduation--New Year's Eve 2014? Or New Year's Day 2015? Well, I put January 1 on both your diploma and transcript, so I guess that's the official date, and we'll both have to live with it.
We had a rough start (to high school) together, didn't we? I remember the first year that it was just you and I. No brothers to buffer teaching time, learning styles, or curriculum. Just you and I to figure things out. It took us a chunk of that first year to stop butting heads, appreciate our personality differences, and work together toward a common goal. Actually, it took me that long to figure out that you are your own person, unique and completely different from any of your brothers. In fact, I still don't get you, and I doubt I ever will. But I love you, and I know you love me, and that's what counts.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again here, for all the world to read if they care to. You are an amazing young man. Your faith is a quiet one, a steadfast standing in the grace of Jesus. You constantly amaze me, whether it's the things you're interested in or the witty and crazy things you say. Your mind is a fascinating place!
I realized you were growing up when I received an email from Pastor Fraley, with a Bible study for someone who desires to be baptized. I had no clue you were even thinking about it. The church helped make that happen for you, and God even sent the rain to flood the river for you, too!
I also realized you were growing up when I received that early morning phone call from Theresa, student rep at Universal Technical Institute. I had no clue you had contacted the school, or were even interested in auto technology. You took the initiative, and now here you are.
You encouraged me to bring my camera as Dad drove you to school that first day. We said goodbye and you walked off, much like Jacob did, without turning back. I snapped a picture, and didn't cry until I got home and downloaded it, and then it became real. Even though you're home every night, you've got one foot out the door--and that's as it should be.
I thank the Lord for blessing me with such an amazing young man. I look back at all the goofiness, the escapades, the crazy toddler years with you, your funny jokes and witty remarks, the emergency room visits, and on it goes. I have a treasure chest full of memories, because you're you.
As you start this new chapter in your life, as you stride into godly manhood, I can't wait to see what the Lord does in your life. I know His hand is upon you, and He'll guide you safe and sure.
I love you, Thomas.
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