Endings and Beginnings: a graduation letter to my son

me and andrew at lake

My dear Andrew,

So, here I sit in the quiet of my classroom, in this place where we, you and I, launched a new beginning seven years ago. Seems like yesterday.  And, here I am, tears pooling in my eyes, lump in my throat, shaking my head at the pain and the wonder of it all:

 Beginnings and endings

Endings that must occur so beginnings can burst forth

with new life, with grace, with power, with light

Beginnings that can never be embraced and enjoyed

If we get caught up in the endings.

     Time passes.  I marvel at the young man you have become.  I hurt for the walls that have closed the endings inside, walling out the hope of beginnings.  Of new beginnings.  It seems, in the quietness of this place that has notch marked into my heart a litany of beginnings and endings, time is standing still.  The heart of this mom caught off guard between desperately grabbing fast onto this ending and the letting go into a new beginning.

     I examine each memory, each moment etched into my heart: moments and memories that have ticked away into years.   Herein lays the dichotomy of it all; the opposites that crash and collide inside of me. Joy and heartache; belly laughs and gut wrenching sobs; bitterness and sweetness; smiles and tears mingled together welling up. Tears spilling damp onto this page as I write and laughter echoing softly in my heart.  So it is the same with endings and beginnings, my son, two seemingly opposing forces battling for the upper ground.

                        0515151352                             sissy and andy

     And there have been many endings for us, ones that stung, that crashed, that smashed into us, stole our breath and shattered our hopes.  Endings that we thought would break us down, and perhaps did.  Endings that seemed to gain the upper ground in our lives.  Endings we thought were just that—–THE END

          0515151352a                           0515151351a

     Yet the clock still marked the passage of time—-seconds to minutes, minutes to hours, to days, to years.  The sun rising softly in muted hues, beginning on its journey, faint and hopeful. Steady rising to intense brilliance, to its fullest potential only to pause momentarily and then journey on to its setting, seemingly fading away into the darkness of night.  Yet the ending of the day never means the ending of the Light.  Don’t ever, ever forget that, my son.

     Because of all the things this Mom may not know; of all the things this Mama’s heart may not be certain of–this one thing I’d bet my every breath and heartbeat on–there is ALWAYS LIGHT!  Encapsulated in the blackest, darkest of nights there is ALWAYS LIGHT somewhere.  At times it screams in intense brilliance, at times it quietly shimmers like a million stars a million miles away.  And if ALWAYS LIGHT, my son, then there is always this: HOPE!

     Here as this Mom’s tears fall, the clock having ticked away far too furiously, a childhood gone, a boy-man almost grown, all in an instant.  My heart melts, hurts for all that seems too quickly ending.  Counting those broken and beautiful notches on my heart, all of the beginnings that have come to endings way too quickly, have come to this ending, my son: boy to young man.

0515151349          0515151351       0504150732a (1)

Would that I could but grasp the last fleeting seconds of daylight in my hands refusing to allow the sun to complete the course carved out for it by its’ Maker; that I could somehow stop it all from ending.

     I know, child of my heart, “Foolish Mom!” Silly.  No one can stop the sun on its course, no one was ever meant to do that.  And, no one can stop a boy child from growing into man.  No one was ever meant to do that, not even a Mama!  Endings and beginnings appear to be crashing mad against the other again.  Yet, just as light can be found in the darkest places, so too, found in every ending is a new beginning.

           0515151351b                                   graduates

     Just as darkness serves to prove the very existence of light, so every ending serves to prove to us the existence of a beginning.  Not seeing the light in the darkness, not seeing the new beginning enclosed in the ending is always a matter of our own choosing.  AS bittersweet as endings can be, as this particular ending is, may they only serve to shout to our hearts from the megaphone of truth: THIS VERY ENDING IS PROOF OF A NEW BEGINNING bright as the noonday sun!

Keep this truth close, my son:



ALWAYS the choice is yours

     O yes, in this moment, or any moment, it is so easy to get caught up in the darkness, in the consuming sadness of the endings.  Time continues its steady rhythm.  We can become stuck there, marking our hearts to the stagnant beating of the past; the drumming of darkness building walls to shut out the light; the bitterness of the endings sucking out the sweet of new beginnings.

     I find myself  at this very place now, wanting to somehow stop the ending here, to cling on to the moments: the sound of your boyish laughter, your chubby arms wrapped around my neck for a hug; rocking you to sleep; kissing away your hurts, laughing at your latest lame joke…… I just want to get stuck here, in this moment, in the steady rhythm of all that is past and passing too quickly. But, remember this as well, child of my heart: Just because something is past doesn’t mean that it is gone; doesn’t mean that it is supposed to be gone.  Hearts were meant to savor moments gone by, to savor endings, not to marinate in them.  Therein lays the difference between celebrating the ending and embracing the new beginning, or getting stuck in the ending and resenting the new beginning.

     So now, my child, my boy grown to young man, this is that moment for you–for me–for us, the moment of choice.  The moment to choose to seek the light; to always look for it blazing or shimmering knowing that darker days only prove that Light is always there.  ALWAYS!

                                                                andy joe and the katies

     And this is the moment we get to choose to unwrap this gift of this ending and all of the endings yet to come.  To savor and enjoy the wonder of the journey knowing that inside of the ending is a beautiful new beginning!

This is the moment, child of my heart


YOU were born for such a time AS THIS!

                                                                 Bushels and Pecks,



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