Stephenson Family Ties The Barn Burnt Down
And Now I See The Moon


Dear Daughter/Son,
It has only been hours since your dad and I were in the delivery room anticipating your arrival.  We had a tape
recorder with us to capture your first cry, and we recorded messages to you while we waited..."its a wonderful day to come from heaven." and "we're looking forward to you, whomever you are."
Then you first gasping for breath, the high-pitched, panicked squall of the newborn.  We marvel at your toes and tiny fingers; judge you, with all the objectivity of parents, as remarkably beautiful.
Now I am holding you in my arms, getting acquainted and trying to memorize every detail of your face.  No matter how tall you are, how independent you'll be the day you stride out of my arms, and into the world, I wont be able  to forget that I saw you first this way.
A clerk came into the room to fill out the birth certificate.  When  she asks about your name, I cannot say. Naming someone tends to define them and I wish  you could help me.  What shall we call you?  I want to ask, for I know that however much you seem a baby, you are an ancient spirit who has already lived an eternity.  Hugging you, I am awed and overjoyed as you look around with a furrowed, puzzled look, wondering  where you've come.  Should I tell you?  I often wonder where I've come too, and I am puzzled by the world. I thought I was coming here for a Sunday School picnic and it has turned out to be Green Beret training.  So, please excuse me if I dont know all the answers.  Forgive me when I stumble, Im just feeling my way along here too.
But I can tell you some things.  The earth was made for you to love, and you will too, if you learn to appreciate small things.  Andrew Wyeth once said he'd give anything to have gift enough to paint the colors he saw under a wheat stalk, for they drove  him wild with joy.  Most of us dont see so much there.  Yet dear child, if you would be happy, make life a series of small celebrations.  Dont keep your joy only for sunshine days or four-star events, putting happiness on hold for some fuzzy future.  Love every minute that you can...all the quiet times when the chili sauce brews on the stove and clock ticks, when you slide into crisp sheets or first open a new book.  Love life in its variety and don't demand that it produce only one kind of heady experience for you. 
I dont wish hard times away from you for they will give you growth, the very essence of this experience.  Remember in the midst of such moments, that they will pass.  Since it is too much to expect safety, act with courage.  "Life is a bold adventure or it is nothing."  You can solve the problems you will face.  That's why you came. 
Use your agency while you are here.  Don't blame circumstances for what happens to you.  Don't say, "I couldnt help it or he made me do it."  Be responsible for who you are.  Get out of the fray with the dust on your face and make good things happen.  Don't  drift along as if life were too much for you.
But most of all, remember that you are not alone. No matter what comes into your life, I will always love you. I will think you are the best basketball player when you dont score a point, listen only for your voice in the school chorus, and sit on my hands to keep from applauding after your first Sunday School talk.  And far more important, you will never be alone because God loves you.  Sometimes that will be the only thing you can cling to.
I wish you the energy that having a worthwhile dream will lend: the heart to help a brother: the patience to see things to their end: the faith to hold you fast in uncertainty: and the power of forgiveness that you may never be stooped with grudges.
Last of all, I make you a promise.  I promise to delight in you and not wish to make you someone else.  I promise to be consistent in my word.  I promise you 20,000 meals, 5 thousand batches of laundry and countless lullabies.  I promise to teach you the Gospel.  
But there's one thing I dont promise.  I wont promise not to cry the day you get too big to need me.

(I did not write this...but I've had it in my file for years!)