First let me preface my letter with a word about all of my children. For 31 years, Lynn and I have lived a life that has centered, for the most part, around our children. At times, having a large family has stretched us close the breaking point. Not because of them, but mostly due to our own weaknesses and shortcomings. As a Navy family with for a significant number of those years, finances and time together were not optimum conditions for raising a large family. Still, we had raised a loving a family that has endured many trials. Each of our children are unique, talented and caring. I am proud of everyone of them and have never expressed it well. Over the last year or so I have been trying to right that ship through blog entries on their birthdays, but my inconsistent nature has tripped me up a few times. So I am pressing on. I missed Josiah’s birthday so I figure a graduation is a great time to reflect. (C, R, & E I have not forgotten you) Being the last at home, this is not only a graduation for him, but it is a graduation of sorts for Lynn and I as well.
“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:1,2)
The Year of Your Birth: 1996 marked events that would change my life for ever. The year started stress-fully enough with your eminent birth in January. I had never missed the birth of one of our children, but it was not looking good. I was preparing to head out to sea for 3 months and you were fighting hard against being born in a timely fashion. Although I missed our shakedown trials, we were able to coerce you into entering the world before I left for sea. My little 3 month voyage was cut short by maybe the saddest event in my life. My Mom, your Grandma, passed away that spring. Grandma would have adored you and I wish you could have gotten to know her. She would have been so proud of all your accomplishments, your drive to succeed and she would have learned to love soccer. (yes, you missed out the best clothing provider ever) I do not think that it was a coincidence that the Cats won their sixth national championship the year you were born. They must have known that a rabid Cat fan had entered BBN that January. I have enjoyed sharing your love for the Cats with you these 18 years
Family: You are the youngest of 7 siblings and no child could ever have been more loved by his brothers and sisters. This made parenting easy with so many older sisters and brothers to help out. Your three oldest sisters were there at your birth and became surrogate mothers for you as a baby and I think still feel that way at times now. You always shared a special bond with the youngest of your four sisters. In our need to classify the family it was always “The girls”, “The boys” and “Lizzy and Josiah”. You started public school together and shared all of those struggles together. Your brothers (and Rebekah) made sure that you did not forget that you were a boy and instilled a love for competition and sport in your being. As they slowly drifted out of the house, it was painfully obvious how much you missed them and how much you valued your family.
“And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.” (2 Kings 23:3)
School: In fifth grade, after being home schooled for your entire life, you entered public school for the first time. After being surrounded by siblings for ten years, you had to enter a new world without them. you were terrified, but overcame your fear to excel at every turn. It was the first that we observed of your steeled determination. As the years went on, we watched as you worked hard to prove yourself academically. You never had to be reminded to study or do your homework. Failure was never an option and although at times you struggled, you always conquered the tasks set before you. To be accepted at every college that you applied is no small feat.
Soccer: Watching your soccer career has been one of the most enjoyable and yet painful periods of my parenting. To watch you overcome physical and mental challenges as well as major disappointments has been an inspiration for me.
It is not your accomplishments that have filled me with pride, but your diligence and persistence that make me such a proud Papa.
Josiah’s Highlight Video (Musically Enhanced by Switchfoot)
The Future:I could not be more proud of the man that you have become. You have brought joy into my life that I did not know I could feel. I look forward to watching you strive for the dreams that are before you. Your love for your Savior is apparent in everything that you do and for that no father could be more proud .
“Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” (2 Kings 23:25)
I love you more than you will ever know.