Who would have thought that 18 years ago, today, October 16, 2006, I’d be here in Afghanistan while my son celebrated his birthday without me? I have been trying to draft a suitable tribute to my oldest son but for some reason have really struggled. I finally realized that my problem has been that I miss him terribly and hate the fact that I can’t be there to share in his last year of high school, his last year at home. I know most parents look forward to their kids leaving home, but we have been blessed with incredible sons and Seth is one of the best. I know you parents of other sons will disagree, but since this is my page, I get to proclaim that Seth is truly a remarkable young man.
From the very beginning, Seth has been a tremendous example, not only to his parents but to those around him. He has always had a very strong sense of what is right and wrong. We have never had to worry about him making the wrong choices in his life, except maybe the time he let a girl, who is a friend, but not his “girlfriend” paint all his finger nails pink. I mean really!!! I can see maybe a finger here or there and maybe a toe nail or two, but all 10 fingers. See for yourself!! I mean, I would NEVER allow someone to paint MY fingers or toes!!! But seriously Seth is an example in all he does. He is faithful in reading his scriptures every day, praying every day and fulfilling every assignment he’s ever been given.
Seth has always loved being at home. Once when asked what his favorite vacation would be, he replied, “staying at home.” When we do have “forced family fun” we have a great time. But the truth be told, we love having him home and are grateful that he likes being home. Now Seth, despite the fact that we love having you home does not mean that you can live with us forever. Remember, once you become a dentist, Mom and I will be moving in with you so you can provide for us in the manner in which we deserve!!! If Seth’s future wife is out there reading this, you are put on notice!!!
When Seth announced that he wanted to be a dentist, at a very young age mind you, I was surprised. He was a kid who screamed when we took him to the dentist – but don’t all kids, he screamed when we cut his finger and toe nails and when he got his haircut. Once when he was only 3 or 4, we took him to a salon just for kids to get his haircut. Janae was tired of fighting him to cut his hair. The whole place was decorated for children. It was a great place. Well he would not still in the chair and began to cry. I finally had to sit in the chair myself, wrap my legs around his and the put him in a bear hug while at the same time holding his head still. You’ve never seen kid scream as much as he did. We actually had a lady walk in from the mall and tell us that we were abusing him. What did she know? But as I started to say, Seth wants to be a dentist and he’ll be a good one too.
Let me share a couple of pictures with you. Wasn’t Seth the cutest little Cub Scout? I love this picture of him. Seth has always LOVED, LOVED, LOVED scouting. OK, maybe loved is a little strong, but he has always done well. He earned his Eagle by the time he was 14 and has earned 3 palms since then.
This next one is a picture of he and I in the airport on a business trip. Once I knew that I was going to get deployed, I took Seth with me on one of my teaching jobs. We had a great time. He says I snore at night, but I think he’s lying!! I know I never complain about me snoring.
How about this “before” and “after” picture? The “before” picture is my favorite picture of Seth, Luke and Braxton. I have it in my room here. It was taken at California Adventure right before I got deployed. The “after” picture, well, it speaks for itself.
Seth has always had a mischievous side. He loves to sneak up behind you and scare you when you’re walking down a dark hallway. The reason the hallway’s dark is he’s too lazy to change the lightbulb. He likes to linger on the edge of adult conversations, listening very quietly, gathering information. When you finally realize he’s there, he just flashes his devilishly handsome smile. He also likes to throw ice, stuff leaves down people’s shirts, and generally cause chaos. He’s a lot like a certain parent in that respect. What, you think it’s me? I’m shocked and offended.
Just before I deployed, he, Janae and I had a very special and spiritual experience together. I won’t share the details as they’re not mine to share but it was confirmed to me just what an exceptional young man Janae and I were blessed with. Heavenly Father has some tremendous experiences in store for him as well as the blessings that will flow from his faithfulness. Just thinking back on that experience brings tears of joy and pride to my eyes. He will hate me for even talking about him this way, but I’m the Dad and the author of this entry so I get to say what I want.
Seth, I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know how proud I am of you and how blessed and humbled I feel at being given the privilege of being your father. I know if I were home you’d let me give you a big hug and a kiss on your scratchy cheek so you’ll have to let Mom do that for me. I miss you and wish I could be there with you today but know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for being the best son a father could every hope or pray for.