Ever thought about what if? What if I had taken a different path where would I be, and would it be worth losing what I have today. I had a moment of that today. Part of the Memphis family had a son graduate today, a fine young man who graduated from a high school where my son attended briefly. Then he exercised his ability to make his own choices and moved to another state to live with his Mom. Now this move saved a lot of things. My sanity first and foremost, possibly my marriage, possibly his life, and a lot of hurt and pain I truly believe. However sitting there watching the ceremony I couldn’t help but get a huge case of the what if’s.
This is not a normal high school this is a school, with great regularity turn out bright and successful member of society. These young men go on to be the leaders of tomorrow. There are numerous graduates who are major parts of the community today. I know many of them and they are great men. This is the school where my son learned to fence. This is the school where it was revealed to me that he is talented as a writer beyond my belief. This is a school where, what if he had stayed? Am I willing to give up what and where I am today to see that result? Now that’s the 64 million dollars question.
Where I am; nearing the end of a wonderful career, on my way to Florida to slow down and enjoy the rest of my days. So content with my wife and surroundings that in brief moments of pondering I start to cry. Knowing that my claimed sister and her wonderful husband are coming there as well. And others who mean the world to me are planning their arrival as well. Truly I am at a very happy place.
What about my son? What if he had stayed? He had an offer to fence for a world renowned SEC school. He would have when on and used his god given talents to become what? Lawyer, Doctor, Writer. And there is where the rub comes. Could we have weathered that storm that was raging out of control when he left our lives? Could he have gotten himself under control to become a part of that school and a classmate to his other peers? Or are we better off with the road traveled? He has struggled mightily during the years since he left us. He had many failed attempts and is still to this day experiencing hardship many of his classmates haven’t and hopefully will never. But who is really the victor here. My son? He knows what failure is in the real world. He knows hunger, pain, being broke, living from hand to month. Suffering the feeling of the world has lined up and the entire populous is out to get you and you alone. Or is it the Classmates? They, moving on the college are just now getting to see what the real world has to offer. Will their education in a classroom trump my son’s school of hard knocks degree? His father is the valedictorian of his graduating class of the school of hard knocks. Would I go back and redo my life? Go to college get a degree maybe miss the friends and loves I have had along this road. HELL NO!!
Well then I guess I really have my sons answer as well. I will keep the picture of him at a book signing people lined up around the corner and him and me sitting after the signing drinking a special bottle of wine and reflecting on his success. I will hold on to the hope that like his dad he will find his way and become larger than life and a huge success. And I feel like even if he does reach my expectation at least he will meet his and for that I am extremely proud of him.
So to our graduate of today; Good luck son. Choose your steps wisely because you can’t go back. Every decision, every choice, makes you who you will become. And I look forward to seeing the next graduation you take part in, be it from an Ivy league college or the one my son and I are alumni’s of. One thing for sure the choice is yours.
The Blessed Man