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Dear Mom and Dad (and Step-Mom and Step-Dad), A few days ago, as you know, I celebrated my 31st Birthday. (Yes, I capitalize Birthday) While I enjoy making the day all about me, the day is really a celebration and reflection on the impact you have made on my life. Now, you guys probably know me better than most anyone else on this planet and know that I love making my Birthday a big deal because, well, it is a big deal! Birthdays are the days we get to reflect on who we are, the family and friends that surround us, and another year past and recorded down in the books. But here’s the deal: I want to honor you. 31 years ago, you may have been where I have found myself many times as a young man. Scared, lost, uncertain, unsure, stressed out, struggling financially from time to time, the list really could go on…That’s because as a parent, we never really know if we are doing a good job or not. What really is the metric? Sometimes we go through this thing called parenting without a clue on if we handled a situation with our kids right or if we screwed something up or if what we’ve just done will have a lasting and profound effect on our children. Because all of our actions do, in fact, have a lasting and profound impact on our kids’ lives. Let me just state for the record: You guys did a great job. I hope you take some pride in that. I’m not even referring to how you put shoes on my feet, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. That was just what you had to do…as my parents. That’s permission to play in the parenting game if you ask me. You did what you had to do to provide and for that I am eternally grateful. That’s all listed in the job requirements. What isn’t listed, but should be, is the emotional support, encouragement, and unrelenting love you have shown me to help me become the man I am today. So today, I want to say thank you. THANK YOU for who you are, what you’ve been to me in my life and all the things you’ve sacrificed over the years to raise me. It takes more than clothing, food, and a home to sleep in to be a good parent. And while you succeeded in those areas in meeting my needs, you truly excelled in the other areas. I have never felt a day where I was not loved by you. I have never lost sleep over wondering if you cared about me. I have never had a fleeting thought that you wouldn’t support me in my decisions, because you always tend to help me make them. I value your opinions, I respect your place in my life, and I thank you for all of it. Thirty-one years have past since you first heard my cry and I know you still hear it in your sleep sometimes because a good parent always hears their children’s cries in the night. Your hearts ache when mine does. Your smiles cover your faces when mine covers mine. Joy fills your hearts when you see that mine is full. You cry when I cry. You celebrate when I celebrate. THAT is what makes you GREAT, world-class parents. You mades mistakes along the way and that’s okay. You’re still only human. But quite frankly, you’re some of the best damn humans I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to know. I thank God you were selected and chosen to be my parents because you’ve made some damn fine ones. I’m not trying to say you’ve raised the perfect man and I probably haven’t always been the best son, but I want to just say thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done. I simply cannot find enough words to say it.
Sincerely, Your Son