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Andrew's eleventh birthday poem:

Andrew Is Eleven

I sit here on the side
Watching you with pride
As you practice with your team
On this warm Friday night

I think of these years, these eleven
And I think of you, my firstborn, gift from heaven
And amazement takes me
God's grace shakes me
At the thought of all He's given
through you

I remember a "little one"
And he was so small
Now look at you - strong and tall
Not little at all

Quite solid, to be honest
A mountain of a boy
Mom wasn't kidding when she fed you
Your first solid meal
"From now on it's grow, grow, grow!" she said with a smile
And that's what you've been doing
quite well,
all this while

But it takes more than size to compete on the field
It takes determination, guts, and an even keel
And above all, obedience to what your coaches say
As you give your all on every play

What a Superbowl! You did it all
Full time on offense, plus you answered the call
for defensive stands when the game got tight
You moved 'em, son, you moved 'em all night
From the opening kick to the final horn
You came through the game - though bruised and worn -
A victorious player on the winning team
While your mom and I just sat there and beamed

You've had a great year, though I know it's hard
To be low double digits - no longer a little boy, not yet a teen
Dealing with new feelings, new experiences and dreams
And wondering what it all means

But I'm proud of you - so very proud
I need to say it more often, and say it more loud
You're growing up in a way I think is grand
Just stay close to Jesus, stay in His hand
and He will go before you to possess the land

For games are great and contests are fun
But life is a game that must be won
You need to play full time
Answer the call
And give it His best as you give Him your all
So that when you're living in His great light
You can do all to stand when the game gets tight
And move 'em, son,
through the darkest night

And above all, to listen to what your Coach has told you
Trusting in Him to guide and hold you
Because, though you're worn and bruised
He'll carry you through
to Victory, because He was wounded for you

I'm so glad that we have a Champion - Jesus -
Who is never far
To gives us strength for our battles, our bright and morning Star
And I'm so glad I know you - for I love being your dad
And thinking about all the good times we've had
And will have together

God bless you, Andrew, have a great year
Full of fun and cool times
Low on sadness and fear
As you go through this year's experiences,
both old and new
Have a great eleven, my son -
And remember - I LOVE YOU


(written - for the most part - at football practice
Friday, September 22, 2000)