Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sometimes Long-term Gratification Arrives Sooner Than You Think!

Two weeks or so ago, my son Ryan took me on the most fabulous date of my life; we went to his high school's annual Mom Prom. During this amazing once in a lifetime event, I was presented with a letter my son had written to me. This letter was so amazing that it made me cry as I read it because it was proof positive that much of what I hoped I had taught my son had been absorbed. For the first time in his life, I was able to see that my child indeed had a sensitivity for what it has taken on my part to raise him. Here is what his letter to me said:

Dear Mom,

I wanted to write this letter to thank you for all of the wonderful things you have done for me during my high school career. I really appreciated you giving me the opportunity to go to a school as great as CBC and, even more, I appreciate the many sacrifices you have made to keep me here. You have made financial sacrifices and donated countless hours of your time for not only my academics but my extra-curricular activities as well. Sacrifices this large take not only patience but love and I'd like to thank you for being patient with me and loving me through my high school experience regardless of how hard things may have been at times. I will never forget the sacrifices you have made for me and I plan on passing on the same love and patience when I have kids. Thank you for everything.

Your son,

As they say, turnabout is fair play, so on Friday, March 21st when I received a letter from Ryan's school explaining to me that he would be participating in an overnight retreat for seniors at his school on Monday April 14th and asking me to write a letter to my son in which I should say whatever it was that I felt I wanted to say to him at this juncture in his life I jumped at the chance. I was asked to keep the letter a secret from my son and deliver or mail it to his school so that it could be given to him during the overnight retreat. As you can see by the two JPEG files of the actual letter I wrote to my son, I was able to create a watermark using his baby pictures. Since the text in the pictures is probably not legible to the average eye, I have pasted the actual text of the letter below with my son's permission. Keep in mind that since I am 25 years older than my son, I had a bit more to say! ;)

April 13, 2008

Dear Ryan,

I love you.

The day we left home to drive to Nebraska for Easter, I received a letter from CBC asking me to secretly write this letter to you and send it to the school so it could be given to you now during your senior retreat (remember Mom Prom? Turnabout is fair play they say ;). I started working on the letter the next day and only finished it this past weekend because there are so many things I want to say to you that I found it hard to put into words. The most important thing, I have already said but will say again because it is always worth repeating:
“I love you”.

I can remember the day you were born and every second of your life with me since so clearly that when I look at you now, I am stunned to see the man you have become. This man seems so far removed from the happy, handsome little boy with the chubby arms that were constantly wrapped around my neck as he whispered “I love you Mommee!” in my ear. I can remember thinking as I watched you grow up that the day would come when you would grow out of “loving your Mommee”, and I was afraid of that day. Thankfully, it has never come because for some reason I will never possibly be deserving of, GOD chose to send me this amazing son who has and continues to show his love for his mother in the face of everything, even other teenagers and his newly found love of girls!

I worry that you fail to understand how truly wonderful and gifted you are so let me tell you again in writing just so you will have something to which you can refer in the future if ever you are unsure. First of all and maybe most importantly, you have a great heart. You care about other people and you show them that you do most of the time. That is a gift from GOD that I pray you will embrace, cherish, and never allow yourself to lose or take for granted. It is your heart, (not your head) that will always help you to do what is right; so give it the respect it deserves always and it will never steer you wrong.

Your personality sets you apart from the rest of the crowd; it has since the day you were born. You are interesting and fun to be around and that is why people have and always will love you and want to be a part of your inner circle. Since you were a very small child, you were a leader amongst other children, and almost every adult to whom I have ever introduced you has said something about having “the feeling” that one day you will be a huge success in this world. You have always inspired that sensation in people which makes you a success even now…you exude potential and as you try to realize as much of your potential as you can, you will experience a life filled with wonder and excitement.

You are a natural-born comedian; face it Dude…you are funny! Additionally, you are much smarter than your mother though you have never believed this to be true. The fact of the matter is, in order to be funny one must first be smart. You are still not convinced of the fact that you are indeed very smart, but one day you are going to be so surprised to learn that a person with the quality of brain DNA you have received from both of your family trees cannot help but have a beautiful mind to go along with that beautiful face ;)

Last but not least by a long shot, let me discuss that awe-inspiring “right brain-ness” of yours. YOU ARE AN AMAZING ARTIST! Way back in time when you were 3 or 4 years old, even I, (the anti-artist ;) could see how artistically talented you are. I have a portfolio of drawings you did then which I kept because they impressed me even then. However, I had no idea about the level of talent you would demonstrate as time passed. The visual art you create is truly world-class. From your cartooning to your logo designs to the computer art that you have breathed life into, I am constantly in awe of what you can do! Little did I know until much later that it went far beyond visual art forms and you were musically inclined as well. My favorite pastime is listening to you play the piano. You have no idea how brilliantly you play but I do, and I hope you will continue to explore and learn more about the piano as well as continue to develop your interests in other areas of music. Music though it does not come directly from me (lol!) is also a gift of both of your family trees which makes it as natural to you as breathing; so please let this gift keep on giving.

I know I have to stop this at some point, but there are so many things I want to say to you and this could be the only/last opportunity I ever have to help you to understand what you have brought to my life; so I will not take it for granted. YOU HAVE BEEN AN ONGOING AND CONSTANTLY THRILLING GIFT TO ME!! Even on our worst days with each other (some report card days, “clean this pit of a room days”, “why do I have to tell you the same thing over and over days”, etc. ;), you have been the best thing that EVER HAS OR WILL happen to me. You have saved my life without knowing it so many times that the only word that really describes you is HERO…my hero that is. As I told you in my email to you last week, your graduation from high school is YOUR accomplishment of which I get to be proud because it is proof positive that you are indeed becoming the man I hoped I was raising. I am very proud of you for graduating high school, but more so for everything else you are and have/will accomplish in your life. You have exceeded all expectations of the kind of person I hoped my son would be. I wish for you as you head out into the world on your own for the first time, what you have brought to me in such abundance:

One of these days in the not too distant future, some very blessed young woman is going to have the good fortune to have you fall in love with her. She is going to go to bed one night as an ordinary person and then wake up on the day she meets you not knowing that her life is going to be fantastically changed forever that day because of the simple fact that GOD loves her so much! When she wakes up that morning, she is going to be just as clueless as I was on November 14th 1989 because she won’t have any idea that like HE showed me on November 15th 1989, GOD is about to show her HIS love for her by sending to her one of HIS most perfect creations, my son…the smiling, joking, laughing little boy who has matured into the brilliant, talented, awesome man now known as

Mr. Ryan Alexander Jenkins.

Thank you for the privilege and indescribable joy of having been your mother.

Sincerely yours forever,
Ms. Sharon L. Jenkins, preferably known as Mom

My son told me upon returning home from the retreat yesterday that he almost cried when he read his letter. He shared with me that during some of the retreat workshops when other students were asked their impressions of him many spoke of the same characteristics and traits I had spoken of in my letter (i.e. his leadership abilities, intelligence, sense of humor, and artistic skills). In a word, my son was mesmerized by this experience and somewhat shocked to hear the same things being said about him by kids as well as his Mom. Me, I am wholly gratified by the lifelong blessing of getting to be his mother!

In closing, Lauren Hill expresses it best except she mistakenly uses the name Zion instead of Ryan!!! ;)


Lovebabz said...

There are moments in our lives when words are so not enough. This is my moment for you. Just know that I am so moved and so grateful for your virtual presence in my world. I feel you so strongly that it is as if I am standing next to you.

I love you so.

Sharon said...

@ Lovebabz: I am so blessed by your love I can't begin to tell you how much! It is amazing the connection I feel to you, but you are mistaken when you say I am a virtual presence in your world...though we have yet to meet nor even speak, I assure our presence in each other's worlds is so far beyond virtual it ain't even funny! It is SPIRITUAL WITHOUT A DOUBT MY TWIN and you are standing next to me as I am you ;)

CapCity said...

y'all 2 are TOO MUSHY! JUST STOP it already! LOL! Hey sistahs! i just came by to say hey! i'll have to read this when i have more time - but i KNOW already that you gonna have your sons all crying -- i hope they'll have them read them in separate tents or something, Sharon;-).

LadyLee said...

Oh my... that left me without air.

Goodness. What a letter.

Fergie said...

What a great exercise. Based on what I have read you and your son have the greatest gift, each other and you both appreciate it. This is simply wonderful.

Safa said...

I pray that I will be able to have such an imprint on my children and that they can articulate it as well as your Ryan has.

Anonymous said...

There is no love like a mother's love. Congratulations and praise God for the wonderful relationship you have with your son. In this day and age of disfunction, it is good to see the bright light of maternity in its purest and intended form.

Mizrepresent said...

I am in tears now Sharon...because everything you have said and wished for you son...i wish for mine. Noone could ever know the love we fill and cherish for our children, nor the dreams we have for is truly precious! I know one day, i will be able to write these words again, profound exclamations of who my son is and will become, for i have given him all that i have, all the love that God has put inside of me, all of the wisdom that i have come to known, and all of the strength that i can muster. You are a beacon, a bright light, that reminds me, what you reap, you will surely sow! Thanks for this wonderful and blessed post sis, in my time of need, it surely fed!