Dear Son,

The time has finally come. You've made it. You've crossed the finish line, only to find yourself at the start of another game, with a new set of hurdles to jump and records to break. You have conquered every challenge, every obstacle, and yet you have just begun.

And so you're off. And now the competition may seem just a little tougher. Now the records are a little more challenging. Now the grand prize is cast in gold, and you're sure to be wondering, "Am I ready for this? Am I going to make it?"

But not to worry, Son. You've always been a winner, and that will never change.

At times we are led to believe that happiness must be pursued in distant places, through many years. But true happiness resides in the soul of one who sees the brilliance of each new dawn, the blossoms along a garden path, and the beauty within each human heart. Remember, Son, happiness should be created, not pursued.

Never, for a moment, stop believing in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you can believe in your dreams. And the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

We wish you a wonderful graduation, a brilliant future, and all the happiness in the world. You're a terrific son, we love you, we're so very proud of you, and we too believe in your dreams.

Dad and Candy

"If"
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Others are losing theirs, and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting, too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise...
If you can dream and not make dreams your master
If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with triumph and disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings,
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them, "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings --
nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more --
you'll be a Man, my Son!

"If I Could"

Thank you all for visiting and sharing our parents' pride.

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May 28, 1999

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