William Andrew Stephens

The announcer read his name…William Andrew Stephens. And on cue our family and friends yelled as loud as we could for my son had graduated high school.

I remember the little boy Drew, as he is called, more than this six foot version standing over me now. I remember him wearing a path in the grass of the Quanah Parker home’s lawn with his battery powered Jeep. I remember begging him to play that first game of baseball after all the weeks of practice, telling him if he didn’t like it after the first game THEN he could quit. I remember dropping him off at Oklahoma Christian Cage Camp and pulling his luggage for him because it was bigger and heavier than him. That is the Drew I remember.

This new taller graduated version of Drew I barely know. Yet I created it, formed it, comforted it, coached it, counseled it, disciplined it, he is me. And I barely know him. I know I will have decades to “get to know” this emerging man before me. I am excited to see what he will become. Yet at the same time, we start over again, worrying about his future now more than ever. For everything he does now is harder and the consequences are greater.

These days I find myself no longer focusing on the lower portion of my hourglass but at the top portion. The end is inevitable and I can’t help but think, did I do enough? Did I do it right? I’m running out of time to course correct the ships of my children’s lives. Or perhaps it is the ships that no longer are so easy to correct. It is as if the ship’s wheel no longer responds to my efforts to turn it.

What ever the metaphor may be, that first lighthouse has been passed. I remember vaguely my graduation. I remember how it was time to work now. I had joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve and had a semester of college at OU ahead of me. Little did I know at that time that neither would be my course. I wasn’t scared of the future, I was standing on the deck of my life’s ship watching the waves come over the bow and never flinched.

Right next to me my father sailed his ship cringing and worrying as he watched what must have seemed to him to be a ship foundering in the sea. My ship. But as I sailed my ship away from him he grew to worry less and saw the course I had laid out and how inevitably it would be okay. I wish that great old man were here today so I could ask him how to do that very thing, as I watch Drew start to sail his course.

Congratulations Drew. I love you and I know you will do well.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

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