The only real difference between us as parents and you as teen-agers is a lot of "been there's, done that's." And, believe me, alot our "done that's" were just as dumb and silly and dangerous and exciting as anything you've done or will do. That's why we worry.
We made it through. We got older. We feel in love. We got married. We had you. That means we sat up endless nights while you were a baby. We changed you when you were wet. We fed you when you were hungry. We held you when you cried. We fretted over you when you were sick.
We watched you take your first step. We made stupid faces to see you laugh. We listened to your first words. We bragged about you at work. We carried pictures of you in our wallets and put others on our desks.
We sent you off to your first day at school. We kept your drawings and school projects. We put your birthday cards on the refrigerator. We watched you in your first play. We cheered for you when you made the team. We drove you everywhere. We worried about whether you'd be poplar, and then you were, we worried about your friends.
We were angry when we shouldn't have been. We asked you questions we shouldn't have. We made mistakes and hurt your feelings. We didn't say "I'm sorry" or "I love you" often enough. We argued with you. We laughed with you. We stayed awake in bed and worried when you stayed out later than your curfew.
We watched you change before our eyes into strong young men and woman who were about to leave us. We were scared and happy and sorry at the same time.
We want to see you become firefighters and doctors and lawyers and policeman, merchants, pilots, beauticians, teachers, librarians and forest rangers. We want to talk with you about how exciting your work is. We want to listen to you tell us how dumb or mean your boss is.
We want to see you meet the man or woman of your dreams. We want to see you fall in love and do the same crazy things we did. We want you to get married. We want to pass you a few dollars to help you through the rough spots. We want to see you have children and watch you start all of this all over again.
The thing we're most afraid of is the, sometimes, those things we worry about happen. Sometimes, for no rhyme or reason, you're taken from us by things beyond our control. Sometimes we never get to see or do the things I've talked about because you're not here anymore.
One day it was seven-year old Jimmy's turn to express how he knew he had eternal life. Jimmy told his verison: "I Think it will be something like this in Heaven. One day when we all get to go to Heaven, it will be time for the big angel to read from the big book the names of all the people who will be there. He will come to the Rogers family and say, 'Daddy Rogers?' and Daddy will say, 'Here!' Then the angel will call out, 'Mommy Rogers?' and Mommy will say, 'Here!' Then the angel will come down to call out Susie Rogers and Mavis Rogers, and they will both day, 'Here!'"
He paused, took a big deep breath and continued. "And finally that big angel will read my name, Jimmy Rogers, and because I'm little and maybe he'll miss me, I'll jump and shout real loud, 'Here!' to make sure he knows I'm there."
Just a few days later there was a tragic accident. A car stuck down little Jimmy Rogers as he made his way to catch the school bus. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, and all the family was summoned. He was in critical condition.
The little family group gathered around the bed in which little Jimmy now lay with no movement, no consciousness and no hope for recovery. The doctors had done all that was in their power. Jmmy would probably be gone by morning.
The family prayed and waited. Late in the night the little boy seemed to be stirring a bit. They all moved closer. They saw his lips move; jsut one word was all he uttered before he passed from this life. But what a word of comfort and hope for a grieving family he was to leave behind. In the clear voice of a little boy, loud and clear enough so all could hear and understand, little Jimmy Rogers said the one word: 'HERE!' And then he was gone to another life beyond this world, where a big angel was reading the names of all those written there.