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Sixteen

It seems like yesterday that I woke up to a new world, a world where a sixteen-year-old discovered both the freedom and responsibility of sliding behind the wheel.  There was nothing better than my first solo-drive when no parent could tell me to turn down the radio. My mom sent me to the grocery store for bread, but she might as well have sent me to the moon.  The exhilaration of driving a car by myself gave me a sense of empowerment and freedom.  To think my parents and the State of Oklahoma had confidence in me - even though a bit shaky I am sure - offered the affirmation that every teenager needs. 


This morning, another sixteen-year-old woke to a new world.  Our youngest son, Tanner, has filled our lives with warm memories, joyful excitement, and ceaseless energy.  His mother and I are so proud of the young man he is becoming.  There is no other sixteen-year-old boy in the world more kind, more generous, and more excited about life than Tanner.  He wakes each day as though it were Saturday morning, full of endless possibilities and potential adventures.  


When he was a toddler, he used to wake up early and venture into our bedroom.  As two young and exhausted parents, Missy and I would be attempting to drain the last bit of sleep out of the morning.  Tanner would quietly walk to my side of the bed, clasp my face in his little hands, and declare in his “inside” voice, “BUT DADDY, IT’S A SUNNY DAY!”  For Tanner, a sunny day meant long walks in the park, soccer games in the backyard, or just finding a warm place outdoors to be a family.  


From the very beginning, Tanner has had places to go and people to see.  Missy and I realized some years ago that we are just passengers on this incredible journey he is traveling. He has taken us on such a wonderful path thus far, we cannot even imagine what the roads ahead are like for him.  Of course, there will be mountains, there will be valleys, there will be straight roads, and there will be curved roads.  Therefore, on this day he sets out for a new adventure on his amazing journey, I offer the following prayer for my sixteen-year-old son who has truly been driving all of his life…


Dear Lord,


May your grace, mercy, and love fall upon my son.


May he discover your love, your joy, and your hope as he sets out on his excursion.


May you keep his roads straight, while protecting him over the mountains and through the valleys.


May you always place a sunny day in his mirror, even when the darkness of rain and storm arise.


He is my son, and unto you I trust his future journey.


Amen.


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