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Andrew's seventh birthday poem:

"We're Go - Flight!"

I look at you, Andrew, and I think
"what's he thinking?"
Inside that curly head
Are you planning to dock with a lunar module?
or possibly planning a voyage to Mars?

And, in those times when your mind comes down out of the stars
Are you on the African plains, is a swift cheetah what you are?
Speeding to pounce on a sprinting Sambar?

My Andrew...
A great scientist of the animal world
Examining, thinking, exploring,
never shrinking from each new challenge
So interested in your world's exploration
Oh to glimpse into your imagination,
to see what lies inside
My guess it would be quite a ride

My little buddy, let me spell it out plain
You are one little kid with a very smart brain
Your love of learning is deep, and it shows
Your becoming Andrew - the "science guy" I suppose
And let me just say that I respect a man
who can appreciate a complex, well crafted
flight plan.

Our missions in space this year have been very cool
We can go there through books that you checked out from school
Or pretend that we're proceding through a launch checklist
We've got our procedures down pat ( we don't want to be reckless )
"I need a go / no-go for Launch" - "We're go flight"
"Copy that!" - as our spacecraft launches into the night
"Gentlemen - that is the way we do that"

So you're seven now - hey that's pretty good
We've got a first grader in the neighborhood
In school all day - well on your way
On the first leg of a journey of education
That I pray will give you the tools and inspiration
To be what you're supposed to be

And what has God let you see?
And what do you want to be as a man?
A pastor? That seems to be part of God's plan
And an astronaut too - you can evangelize mars
As you take the Gospel straight to the stars

Andrew - I've said it before. Stick with the Lord and He'll open the door
And whatever you choose - with the Lord you can't lose

But amidst it all, your very much a kid
And I love to think back on all the things that you did

As always, sports played a big part this year
Starting with soccer - On the sidelines we'd hear
Coach Hand barking orders at a clumped kid furball
Then suddenly the ball would pop out from you all

You concentrated more on defense and passing
As your opponent with the ball you'd be harassing
You let the other kids handle the scoring
Those games were a blast! Never ever boring

And branching out into basketball was fun
My big man under the boards
grabbin' rebounds, one by one
Or getting that rare feed down low
He'd pop in a bucket,
We really loved the show

Ever rough and ready, playing baseball
crackin' that bat - to first base you'd haul
Then sliding face first to home plate - very cool
My little warrior, representing his school

And when I took you to watch the Big Boys play
at the Astrodome - boy, what a great day
Cotton candy in hand, just a kid and his dad
We'd have stayed all 13 innings
But mom might have been mad!

And in school you really began to shine
To us you were at the head of the line
In kindergarten you were the prime candidate
for Number One Kid - You really did great!
And we were so proud when
at the year's end
Your teacher and friends
saw real Virtue in you

You see - Virtue means more than
all the smarts and all the skills
you could ever have. It means that
You do as the Lord wills
What greater honor could be given?

But as you grow up
launching into your first grade year
It's easy for me to feel just a little fear
It seems our lives are as busy as ever
And sometimes to my shame I discover
I'm too busy thinking about things that don't matter
That I forget about the things that last Forever

Yes - lasting even longer than the oldest star
and shining many times brighter - and going many times as far
Is the Love of the Lord that holds this family together
Through good and bad times, in good and bad weather
And I pray today
and in many a way
That I will be given the wisdom and strength that I may
be a good, Godly dad for my beloved son
Who deserves and needs all the Love I can give
And instruction and encouragement for how to live

For as you grow older, and branch out more and more
And take those steps away from home's door
You will need to know what we are trying to teach
So please keep this promise well within reach
So that no matter what you might say or might do
You'll know always that mom and dad are praying for you
And we always love you - no matter what

And we're here to for you, as you're launched ever further on this mission of life
Because through all of the joy, this is a world full of strife
But we've got the best Flight Controller of all
The Lord Jesus - and if we remain faithful to His call
He will get us there safely, and He will bring us all Home

So Happy Birthday to you, my seven year old
And I'll say it again, though I know that I've told
you many a time - these words you still need to hear
I love you forever and always. And - for this next year,
Let me just say: "We are definitely Go Flight!"

I Love You

Daddy
September 7, 1996