Sunday, November 7, 2010

It Goes By In A Flash

To borrow a comment from my wife's last blog, also posted several months ago, "I kind of stink at blogging right now". Time is ever fleeting and I wish I could say I have not wasted the time here or there that I could have used to assemble the collage of thoughts that run through my head into something that might be interesting, if only for my benefit.

But the occasion of Mallory's 16th birthday and an fairly well executed surprise party required me to make a short speech. I was not sure how well I would do at that in terms of riding a wave of emotion, so I set out to capture the thoughts I wanted to convey in writing. Having done this, it is I suppose now something that I can publish. The photos are from a slide show (funny we use that term still - I wonder if Mallory or many of her 16 year old friends have ever seen a real 35mm "slide"?) Joy and I, well mostly Joy assembled to run in the background throughout the evening.

In Recognition of MalloryNovember 10, 2010

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
(Henry David Thoreau)

Even as a baby the brightest - and most mischievous of smiles as she threw herself into everything with great enthusiasm!

The first of many sporting adventures. Also that classic Mallory look - "Are you serious? You think I'm going to do what?"

Self confident and an attitude that she can conquer about anything.

They say our children are mirrors, reflecting the best and worst of our character.

With Mallory, sometimes I fear as parents we may get too much credit and our many failings are obscured. As she has matured into a young woman these past few years, we have marveled at how she has grown in confidence, grace and godliness. We have also realized that as parents we are largely past the phase where we influence and mould her character, and we are now mostly in a care and maintenance role, providing a little guidance here or there.

I have thought about how in some small way we have influenced Mallory, and three things we have done openly and obviously come to mind:
1. Joy and I have loved God and struggled (in a good way) to find meaning, reality and purpose in our faith,
2. As husband and wife, we have grown more and more deeply in love with each other and we let that affection show, and
3. As parents, we have unreservedly loved both of our children.

I am not sure how much these things have mattered, but I guess I like to think they have. But in some way, Mallory as with all other children was created to be the special and unique person she is. All we have done is loved her and given her the freedom to become that person. I think this really hit home when she went to Haiti for most of the summer last year. Different people asked me if I was worried about her going off there and I realized that I was not. She was in God’s hands. She always had been. We had just been given the blessing of raising her as a child.
I could spend a long time describing what it is we love about Mallory. But one of the great things about Mal is you know who she is and so I don’t really need to spend a lot of time telling you. She is confident in who she is and makes friends easily. She is not a wallflower or some quiet church mouse hiding in the shadows. Rather, she is always somewhere near the center of whatever is going on.
She is not shy. Whether or not you like it, you will know how she feels about what is going on, and if she doesn’t like it, she will not only say so, she will try to do something about it. We love her passion, her energy and how she embraces life. We also love her tender spirit, her practical faith, and the strength of her convictions, especially that she hates injustice.

All of you here have in some way been a part of her life, some for a long time, some of you for less than a year. You are all in some way impacting Mal, and being impacted by her. We want to thank you so much for joining with us in celebrating “finally” her sweet 16th.

And so to Mallory I say;

You have found your voice, and you are writing your own songs. Stay true to that voice.