...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Proud Mom (and Dad is too!)...

As another Mother's Day approaches and my nest is empty, I look back on my mothering days with a sense of awe.

I always dreamed of being a mother. I planned to be a mom and that dream was fulfilled and though the plans didn't work out exactly as I had planned (two boys, two girls spaced five years from each other, lol), it has been a great a very challenging but rewarding experience. One Mother's Day after my kids were grown and gone, I decided to turn the tables and write tributes to each of them. What follows is what was written:

On this Mother’s Day, May 14, 2006, I thought I would reverse the expectation and write each of you, my sons, a letter of recognition. Nothing compares to the pride of knowing you have raised three healthy kids who are on their way in their own productive lives.

Dan, congratulations on finishing college and attaining your degree! We are so proud of all your accomplishments and trust you will apply all you have learned to a meaningful career. You were our last-born, “baby” of the family, and though you were spoiled as much as your brothers, you have turned out to be a pretty decent human being.

When you were born, I knew you would be something special because you were our third son and God had divinely intervened in your naming. Daniel, from the Hebrew name דָנִיֵּאל (Daniyyel) meaning "God is my judge". Daniel was a Hebrew prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. He lived during the Jewish captivity in Babylon, where he served in the court of the king, rising to prominence by interpreting the king's dreams. The book also presents Daniel's four visions of the end of the world. Famous bearers of this name include English author Daniel Defoe, Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli, and American frontiersman Daniel Boone. Alan means either "little rock" or "handsome" in Breton. It was introduced to England by Bretons after the Norman invasion. Famous modern bearers include Alan Shepard, the first American in space and the fifth man to walk on the moon, and Alan Turing, a British mathematician and computer scientist. So my “handsome little rock” always live up to your name and “let God be your judge.” (pssst, He is whether you acknowledge it or not!)

When you were little, you were always smiling and so very happy. In school, you were the charmer, wrapping teachers, kids and adults around your finger and getting them to do just about anything you wanted. In later years, you became quite the manipulator with your parents, your brothers and others. You were always “The Thinker” whether swinging on your swing set or the hammock or as you watched things go by in the car. We knew this by the questions you would come up with; very deep questions that showed a lot of thought before asking.

When you were about four, you awed us with your ability to build numerous objects with Aaron’s Construx without following the directions. Then later in school, you wowed us and the teachers by accelerating your own learning and moving up TWO reading levels. 

In home schooling you, I could see you could take any amount of work I gave you and complete it correctly without much effort. Of course, we had to get through at least a day and a half of complaining on your part…”This is too much!” “This is too hard!” “I’ll never get this done!” Ha! After all that you always finished up early. In home schooling, and even when you returned to high school, you made life much easier by taking responsibility for your homework and getting up on your own for school. Though you had your own quirks, like not riding the bus so we had to drive you or wait in fear until you arrived home safely on wintry days, we appreciated your taking a stand and sticking with it. Both your brothers were also aware of your gifts,  I can still hear Aaron stating something to the effect of: “You need to know Dan is really good on the computer, I mean really good! And you better be careful you don’t mess him up.”

Now you are all grown up! We can’t wait to see what you will do with your life from here on out. Our hope (and my prayer) is that you will continue to push the limits of your talents and not waste them; and that you will press on to achieving your dreams. Whatever you choose, we are sure you will do well. We are proud to have you as our son and look forward to being a part of your life in the future.


Aaron, congratulations on you graduation into independence! We hope you realize how proud we are of you in the way you have taken on the financial and living situation with Dan. We are proud too of the fact that you have completed college with such a high grades and enthusiasm and are applying what you have learned to your life.

When you were born, Dad and I were still picking names on the way to the hospital. I had seen the name, “Aaron”, almost every week on television, at the end of my favorite shows when the Director’s name scrolled through – Aaron Spelling. I like the sound of the name and kept thinking, “well, maybe this means our baby will be productive and wealthy some day!”  So I stuck that name on you. The middle name Douglas, of course, was after you Uncle Douglas Bell. He was named after Douglas MacArthur a General Grandpa Bell served in the Korean War. When I think of it now, it should have been a signal that you might be a bit strong-minded and stubborn. Fortunately, you have used both these attributes to benefit your life and not go with the flow or take everyone’s word as truth.

Aaron, which is from the Hebrew name אַהֲרֹן ('Aharon) which is most likely of unknown Egyptian origin. Other theories claim a Hebrew derivation, and suggest meanings such as "high mountain" or "exalted". In the Old Testament Aaron was the older brother of Moses and the first high priest of the Israelites. Douglas - Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Dubhghlas, which meant "dark river" or "blood river" from Gaelic dubh "dark" and glais "water, river". Douglas was originally a river name, the site of a particularly bloody battle, which then became a Scottish surname. The surname belonged to a powerful line of Scottish earls. Let’s just say the blood on your jacket and the water in the ditch of you infamous car accident will be all the “blood river” we need, thank you.

You have always been the most serious of the three, worrying about college money and such. You definitely have had  the strongest work ethic of the three from an early age. You were never afraid to work hard and sometimes did it for the satisfaction rather than monetary reward. Your were never afraid to work for what you wanted and that continues today and will bring you great rewards in your future! Of course you too learned to manipulate to get what you wanted, but always with a pretty sound argument to back it up. 

Your ability to communicate with words and not so much with actions has been greatly appreciated. You have proven to us that you put some thought into your conclusions and whether you were right or wrong, you were at least patient to hear another perspective. Again we have to say that your taking a stand on what you will and will not do is a good trait in today’s world of so much freedom. Believe it or not, I am proud that you question my faith and ask questions and even remind me of what the Bible says from time to time.

You have always been the silent observer. Taking in all that is around you and keeping it all to yourself. When we do get you to open up, we are amazed at what you have seen, thought through and concluded. If you use this correctly you will go far in your relationships, but only if you continue to be willing to listen to others and see their perspective. So far, you have used these introspections to tell us how to improve in some way. Using tact is what gets others to listen to you and you are learning that lesson well.

All this “training” will serve you greatly in your life. We appreciate the concern you have for others and know that it will take you far in being a loving, caring human being to others….human or animal!  Maybe someday that will all be transferred toward a wife and children!! We can only hope! Keep on being the responsible, caring human being you are. Keep searching for the Truth and God will reward your seeking. We love you and are very proud of who you have become!

Bryan, congratulations on your success in improving yourself to the point you are able to create and sustain a beautiful family life for yourself, Jessica and Elijah.

We are so proud of your work ethic and your concern for the health of yourself and your family. We are amazed, but not surprised that you are where you are -- having completed college and created a successful family and career.

When you were little, we watched you show those traits through the care you gave to babies, kids and then your own brothers. We also watched how you utilized your entrepreneurial skills to try to sell almost everything in sight! We did think you might be a salesman at one time because you could talk anyone into buying anything.

We picked your name mainly because I liked all the Bryans I met (no matter how they spelled it!) and we wanted a name that couldn’t be cut short. (I always thought it was kind of dumb to name someone a name they would never be called.) Of course, your middle name was after Dad. We weren’t too fond of Millard or Calvin and there were to many Charles’ on my side of the family to name you after my father! The meaning of the name Bryan is not known for certain but it is possibly related to the Old Celtic element bre meaning "hill", or by extension "high, noble, strength". James, is the New Testament Greek form of יַעֲקֹב (Ya'aqov) meaning he who supplants (one who succeeds or steps into the shoes of someone else). This is the name of two apostles in the New Testament. The first was Saint James the Greater, the apostle John's brother. The second was James the Lesser, son of Alphaeus. Another James (known as James the Just) is also mentioned in the Bible as being the brother of Jesus. Kings of England and Scotland have borne this name. Other famous bearers include the inventor of the steam engine James Watt, the explorer Captain James Cook, and the novelist and poet James Joyce.
As our first son, we had only you for four full years so you were very mature and articulate for your age. As you got older, you became much more adventuresome and daring. Many times frightening us with your speed or jumps or ‘no fear’ ambitions. You were also very creative, trying over and over to reproduce whatever you saw on television or saw at a circus or show. This included everything from “flying” like superman; to “shooting” your brother into the air by jumping on one end of a teeter-totter; to putting on plays and concerts while always charging admission! In later years, you settled down a bit with imitating Ninjas and drawing Turtle comic books until you eventually wrote a whole screenplay for a high school video. You surprised us with your artistic ability in your Fine Arts classes and your attention to detail in all your creations.

Through the teen years you experimented with many worldly options only to finally come back to us and prove what we knew all along -- that you were smart and talented. This was proven by your consistency on the dean’s list in college and ability to run your own side business.

When you rekindled your relationship with your friend Jessica Jollie who you knew from toddler days,  your world turned a corner once again. We are so happy to have Jess as part of our family and are proud of the family you have created with her and Elijah. We are so proud of the man you have become. The way you took Dan in so he could attend college and curb our housing expenses for him, continued to show us your care and concern for others. We look forward with you to what the new baby will bring and what the future holds for you all.

All three of you have made us proud to be your parents. We hope you will continue to keep in touch with your brothers and your parents and nurture the relationship we have together. It has been a pleasure to see you all out on your own make a life for yourself and working together to help each other succeed. Keep up the good work and always know that you have a loving family and especially loving mom and dad.

Love you,
Mom & Dad

Today Dan is doing computer graphics for training courseware. He lives in Florida and creates video games for fun and is a saavy investor. 

Aaron is married to Corinn (his boss' daughter) and they live in Florida also. They are blessed with one cat, Noobkins and one dog, Jem. He works for a book publishing company maintaining their inventory, shipping and receiving. Corinn works for a hiring company that matches up healthcare professionals with the companies that need them.

Bryan & Jess & Elijah now have Asher added to their family and they live in Georgia. They have one kitty, Jiji. Jessica home-schools the boys and Bryan works in web development for Ariba, a web-based procurement service.