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Andrew's twelfth birthday poem:

Andrew Is Twelve

Twelve years old - amazing to me
And at times I can't believe I see
You standing so strong and tall
Growing into a young man
And nearly ready to embark
On those turbulent years of the teen
Like a young tree
Though still green
Yet each year growing stronger

And I continue to see changes in you
Though you may not have noticed
You look and talk more like a man each day
And I've observed - even toward your sisters
The first buddings of a more mature, protective,
dare I say chivalrous streak?
perhaps - at least I think I've gotten a peek
At that trait in you

I know that it will become stronger with time
As you realize the special place
God has given you in our family
The place of the first-born,
a place of leadership and protection
For the younger ones
who look up to you

It's been a great year...
Football remains your perennial love
And to you it has been very, very good
In the glorious shoes of a champion
Over the years you have continually stood
This year was capped off by
an unbelievable dream season
Undefeated, not even threatened
Playing the crucial role of center ("best in the league")
For the Superbowl champs
And being honored as an All Star
And an All Star of the All Stars
Seasons like that are all to few and far
Between - as we've learned this year, in basketball
and amazingly, sadly, in football too
And yet through it all you've maintained
Your reputation as a coach's player
Trustworthy, hardworking
Accepting the hard tasks without complaining
And always giving your all
In my book, that makes you a winner
Every time

And though CCCS provided
a wonderful start to your academic career
It became a springboard into the slightly less tranquil
world of public junior highschool
But you've taken to Arnold like a fish to water
(I think the snackbar was a good persuader)
And I expect that you'll thrive there just as well
In fact, there have been some extra benefits
that perhaps you hadn't considered
The aforementioned boon in the food department
Cool teachers, a locker,

.... eighth grade girls ....

eighth grade girls? Well, it's all so fetching
Even items you would never have mentioned before
Such as coed stretching

And in a stroke of providence
You earned a coveted spot on the percussion row
Ahhh... now you're playing something I know!
And not even the task of learning xylophone
Has distracted you, though I would have thought you'd be prone
To disdain that noble instrument, instead you have shown
enthusiasm for band, as in (most) all of your subjects
The desire to do your best

May you enjoy each day
Though the challenges may at times
become quite severe
Junior High is not for the fainthearted
As you trek through your sixth grade year
And as in all those before we will continually
Loosen our hold on you little by little
So that you can learn to walk on your own
And to make wise decisions
And to weather life's storms
inching outside of our protective umbrella

What I see in you
Is the man that you are growing up to be
Though those changes can take quite some time
And not a little pain
And it can seem that you never quite arrive
Here, on the threshold of your teenage years
There will be days of clouds and rain
But remember always that mom and dad are here
To love you and pray for you
And other, newer supports have arrived
Highway 249 is a safe way to drive
Yes, it's amazing to this old student ministry trooper
To have a son who's become a student grouper

But God's in control, and as You abide in Him
I know that through Him you'll see that
He'll see you through
anything that the 12 year old life can throw at you
For I am sure
that He is grooming you for knighthood
A modern day knighthood for our troubled times
And though you may not enter school each day
To the stirring strains of a herald's introduction:

My Lords, My Ladies,
And all you other people - chilling in the snackbar
I present to you Sir Andrew,
Son of William, Duke of Meisterwood
Son of Wayne, First Earl of Dalton, Vanquisher of Potter,
Son of William the Poor, Baron of Bridgewater...
Thrice victorious at the battles of Pridgeon
Sir Andrew - The Rock, The Hard Place...

Of course, we can't count on that kind of entrance
But still, I believe that God goes before you
And that, if you cling to Him, He shall make your way
Through all that the enemy can throw at you
And that He will build you such armor
So that none who stand against you will
As you daily take it up
May you wear it worthily
Salvation, truth, righteousness, and feet ready to run
To where God wants you to be
And His sword the sword of His word
May it be ready in your hands
and always with His shield of faith raised for your protection
As you daily joust with the enemy
Remember this a most important thing -
May you never forget your name
You are Andrew, a son of the King
That is your patent of nobility
May you tilt when all others withdraw
May you put yourself to the hazard for what is right
Sustaining blows, for they are sure to come
But never unhorsed

For that is knightly indeed

I love you,

Dad - Friday, October 26, 2001