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WCPO anchor Tanya O'Rourke wrote a letter to her youngest son as he graduates from high school

WCPO anchor Tanya O'Rourke wrote a letter to her youngest son as he graduates from high school
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 24, 2017

Well … here we go again … and for the final time.

Today, you graduate high school.

You’ve reached the end of your secondary education. Tomorrow you begin your path in the adult world.  And we begin the last two months of having kids living in the house. We begin our lives as “empty nesters.”

I can’t say I’m dancing for joy as others have. I know I will learn to love and appreciate my new, quieter, less chaotic life.

But for now, I’m grieving the end of this magnificent chapter. Despite the sleepless nights, the last-minute washing of uniforms, and the occasional, “Mom I can’t find my ... (fill in the blank) …,” I know I will miss these times.

My baby, I am so proud to be your mother. 

Tanya O’Rourke and her son, Quinn

You have been a model child. I never worried about you. I never feared you were hanging with the wrong crowd. You’ve always stood up for what’s right. Your moral compass is solid, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I never had to scold you to do your homework, or remind you that a paper was due. 

As it is with most babies of the family, you’ve been the independent one. You keep your own time. You manage your own responsibilities.

In some ways, you’ve started preparing us for life without you. Your need of me has been less about reading over a paper and reminding you of your responsibilities and more about needing gas money.

Your discipline meant I didn’t have to make sure you got up on time. You didn’t need me the last year or two to make sure you got breakfast or remind you to grab the kids on the street for the carpool.

In the past two years, I think I had to wake you one time to tell you that you had overslept.  In teenage terms, that’s nothing short of a miracle.

Let’s not get excited and think you didn’t make me mad, frustrated and near the point of tearing out my hair. You are not exempt. Apple cores left on the coffee table, papers everywhere…AND THAT ROOM! Oh. My. Goodness. 

But you made up for it in your own special way. 

Being my kid takes a special kid. You probably got teased because I’m on TV. And while it was a teeny bit of a burden, I think you grew to be proud of your old mama.

I won’t tell anyone, but I catch you smiling at me every once in a while, and I know it’s because you love me and know I’d climb through hell and back to get to you, to make you safe and to make you happy.

Because you are my heart. Because you are my baby. You are my sunshine.

Life isn’t always fair… and it certainly isn’t easy. I’m sorry that you already know this. But know that life IS what you make of it. 

So spread some sunshine when you can, always do the right thing (I know you will) and leave behind a better world. 

In the next four years. you’ll be tempted to sleep through class, party till dawn and NOT come home EVER.  Here’s my advice:

  • Go to class. It’s the right thing to do. And it costs a pretty penny. So drink in every bit of information and learn.  Your grades matter more now than ever. 
  • Broaden your horizons. Meet interesting people. Don’t close your mind to people different than you.  Try to understand their point of view, even if you never will agree with it.
  • Have fun. Yes … have fun! Go a little college kid crazy once in a blue moon … but keep it real. Keep it under control. Keep it legal (ahem) and please, be safe.
  • Don’t come home.  Yes … I want you to come home. I do! I’ve threatened to get an apartment next to campus! But ... (and I will regret saying this) don’t come home ALL THE TIME. Keep it to breaks. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Spring break. And the odd weekend or three (or four) when you just need some home cooking (and laundry done). But mostly, stay put. You need to get to know yourself. Your new self. Your newfound independence and your new surroundings. You’ll have roommates. A couple you know. At least one you won’t. Learn to be their friends. Because love ‘em or hate ‘em, you guys will be bonded together for life by this freshman year and all the craziness that comes with it. But if you need me, you can be sure I will be there in a flash to get you.
  • Remember who you are and where you come from. I hope we’ve taught you to be grounded. To spend wisely and to be kind. You’ve always been the kid who despised injustice, so stay true to you. You are going to change, and change is good, within reason. Don’t let anything change you at your core.

I love you, kiddo. Never forget it. Your dreams are going to come true. I believe it with all my heart. Go climb every mountain … ford every stream. Follow every rainbow ...’til you find your dream.

And while we are on my favorite subject of meaningful song lyrics as messages, keep these handy. Tim McGraw really does say it best. ...

Don't expect a free ride from no one

Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why:

Bitterness keeps you from flyin'

Always stay humble and kind

 

Know the difference between sleeping with someone

And sleeping with someone you love

"I love you" ain't no pick-up line

So always stay humble and kind

 

Hold the door, say "please," say "thank you"

Don't steal, don't cheat and don't lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

 

Don't take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you're going don't forget turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind

I’ll miss you, Quinn. Be good. And please, always be my baby. I’ll be here, rooting for you.

Love you more than the moon and the stars and the sun up above … and back again,

Mom

 

Well…here we go again… and for the final time.

Today, you graduate high school.

You’ve reached the end of your secondary education. Tomorrow you begin your path in the adult world.  And we begin the last two months of having kids living in the house. We begin our lives as “empty nesters.”

I can’t say I’m dancing for joy as others have. I know I will learn to love and appreciate my new, quieter, less chaotic life.

But for now, I’m grieving the end of this magnificent chapter. Despite the sleepless nights, the last-minute washing of uniforms, and the occasional, “Mom I can’t find my ..(fill in the blank)…,” I know I will miss these times.

My baby, I am so proud to be your mother. 

Tanya O’Rourke and her son, Quinn

You have been a model child. I never worried about you. I never feared you were hanging with the wrong crowd. You’ve always stood up for what’s right. Your moral compass is solid, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I never had to scold you to do your homework, or remind you that a paper was due. 

As it is with most babies of the family, you’ve been the independent one. You keep your own time. You manage your own responsibilities.

In some ways, you’ve started preparing us for life without you. Your need of me has been less about reading over a paper and reminding you of your responsibilities and more about needing gas money.

Your discipline meant I didn’t have to make sure you got up on time. You didn’t need me the last year or two to make sure you got breakfast or that you didn’t forget to grab the kids on the street for the carpool.

In the past two years, I think I had to wake you one time to tell you that you had overslept.  In teenage terms, that’s nothing short of a miracle.

Let’s not get excited and think you didn’t make me mad, frustrated and near the point of tearing out my hair. You are not exempt. Apple cores left on the coffee table, papers everywhere…AND THAT ROOM! Oh. My. Goodness. 

But you made up for it in your own special way. 

Being my kid takes a special kid. You probably got teased because I’m on TV. And while it was a teeny bit of a burden, I think you grew to be proud of your old mama.

I won’t tell anyone, but I catch you smiling at me every once in a while, and I know it’s because you love me and know I’d climb through hell and back to get to you, to make you safe and to make you happy.

Because you are my heart. Because you are my baby. You are my sunshine.

Life isn’t always fair… and it certainly isn’t easy. I’m sorry that you already know this. But know that life IS what you make of it. 

So spread some sunshine when you can, always do the right thing (I know you will) and leave behind a better world. 

In the next four years. you’ll be tempted to sleep through class, party til dawn and NOT come home EVER.  Here’s my advice:

  • Go to class. It’s the right thing to do. And it costs a pretty penny. So drink in every bit of information and learn.  Your grades matter more now than ever. 
  • Broaden your horizons. Meet interesting people. Don’t close your mind to people different than you.  Try to understand their point of view, even if you never will agree with it.
  • Have fun. Yes… have fun! Go a little college kid crazy once in a blue moon… but keep it real. Keep it under control. Keep it legal (ahem) and please, be safe.
  • Don’t come home.  Yes… I want you to come home. I do! I’ve threatened to get an apartment next to campus! But... and I will regret this. Don’t come home ALL THE TIME. Keep it to breaks. Thanksgiving.  Christmas. Spring break. And the odd weekend or three (or four) when you just need some home cooking (and laundry done). But mostly, stay put. You need to get to know yourself. Your new self. Your newfound independence and your new surroundings. You’ll have roommates. A couple you know. At least one you won’t. Learn to be their friends. Because love ‘em or hate ‘em, you guys will be bonded together for life by this freshman year and all the craziness that comes with it. But if you need me, you can be sure I will be there in a flash to get you.
  • Remember who you are and where you come from. I hope we’ve taught you to be grounded. To spend wisely and to be kind. You’ve always been the kid who despised injustice, so stay true to you. You are going to change, and change is good, within reason. Don’t let anything change you at your core.

I love you, kiddo. Never forget it. Your dreams are going to come true. I believe it with all my heart. Go climb every mountain… ford every stream. Follow every rainbow...’til you find your dream.

And while we are on my favorite subject of meaningful song lyrics as messages, keep these handy.  Tim McGraw really does say it best….

 

Don't expect a free ride from no one

Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why:

Bitterness keeps you from flyin'

Always stay humble and kind

 

Know the difference between sleeping with someone

And sleeping with someone you love

"I love you" ain't no pick-up line

So always stay humble and kind

 

Hold the door, say "please", say "thank you"

Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

 

Don't take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you're going don't forget turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and kind

I’ll miss you, Quinn. Be good. And please, always be my baby. I’ll be here, rooting for you.

Love you more than the moon and the stars and the sun up above… and back again,

Mom