Train up a Child // Proverbs 22:6

Today is a monumental day in our family…it’s Ethan’s 20th birthday! I can’t even fathom how we got here so quickly. I’m wearing the same Superman tee I did the day he was born. It was a gift from my mother-in-law to wear that day, which I did proudly, and have every year since (I think there was one year I forgot, and that didn’t go over well at all, but that’s a story for another day). The shirt is faded and growing threadbare, which speaks to its trips around the sun. Oh, if only I could turn back time like Superman did in the 1978 movie, but I wouldn’t trade a thing for how Ethan has grown and the man he is becoming.

I am reflecting on today’s verse as my E-man leaves his teenage years: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Have we always gotten it right? He’d be the first to say no and I’d be the first to agree. My prayer today — just like every day of his life in utero and since March 16, 2002 — is he will know he is loved by our God and by me. Those days I got it wrong only provided opportunities to get it right and plumb the depths of a relationship revealed by love, forgiveness, faith, trust, and hope. Of all the things I’ve been able to teach him these past twenty years, I pray those are the lessons that stick today and long after I’m gone.

I love you, son. I am so proud of you. I love seeing the man you are becoming, even in spite of me. I pray that the lessons of faith, hope, and love are the ones that stick. I can’t wait to see what the next twenty hold in store for you, your own family, and how you keep going and growing in the ways your mom and I led, and aim to lead you still. Those training wheels are coming off, but they have been for a while. The further you go on your own, I hope you know your family cherishes you and is cheering for you. Happy Birthday, Ethan; may it be the best yet.

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