It seems that only a short time ago, you were the small boy curled up in my lap in the middle of the night because you couldn’t sleep; that you were that little boy tailing along with me on trail rides at the ranch talking with guests about the wildflowers; that you were packing alongside your Uncle Ralph in the mountains, following your dad anywhere on a snowmobile, pestering your sister and helping your grandma in the kitchen at the lodge.
Now, here you are, a grown young man getting ready to graduate high school. I can hardly believe how quickly the time has passed, Jace Tyler. I felt like now was a good time for a letter addressed just to you; one to hold onto and keep; one to read for years to come so you can reflect back and know that I want all the best for you in this life. So, here it goes…
To My One & Only Son-
Life will be coming pretty hard at you these next few years. People will be expecting big things of you, big decisions, and bigger leaps of faith. All I can say to you is that you have what it takes inside you to be one amazing man- you’ve always had these qualities, and now is the time to put those qualities to use.
Life is one crazy ride, son- sorta like saddling up one of them broncs you like to watch. Sometimes it will be smooth, fluid, and rhythmic, and other times you will see a whole lotta daylight between your ass and the saddle. But when the going gets tough, the tougher get going, and I know you will always dig deep.
If I could give you any advice in this life, I would tell you to stay soft and kind- stay open minded, but strong willed. I would say, don’t beat yourself up over mistakes, but learn from them. Save your hard earned money for the bigger picture that the man upstairs has in store for you down the road. Always check your oil in your truck. Take time out from hard work, and listen to the stories your grandpas share and advice they give. Hunt and fish with your dad- cultivate the good in your relationships. Be a true friend- to your sister and those deserving of your time. Lend a hand up now and again, and know that sometimes it’s worth contributing to the greater good. Call your grandmas, buy a special girl flowers, hold out for a true and good love, and know there is nothing stronger than mine for you.
Ride new trails, and soak up every mile. Ride those horses, and be the cowboy you want to be, and do it with the heart of a strong, yet gentle man. Have patience with them, your dog, people, and most importantly, yourself. You’re not perfect, and you’re not meant to be. Know your words before you spit them out, and understand that not everyone will always get you, but speak your mind tactfully and straightforward. Don’t leave someone wondering what side of the fence you’re on. Work hard; not for the money, but for yourself, and know what it means to be a “good tired” at the end of the day.
My son, I know you’re made or great things. You’ve already shown that you are, and I couldn’t be prouder of the man you’re becoming. Stay humble and kind; earn respect through your actions and be a man of your word, always.
I will always love you for the boy you were and the man you are becoming, and I am with you every step of the way in this life. My love knows no bounds. Go get this one life you have- embrace the traditions and values you were raised on, and blaze your own trail proudly and boldly. You’ve got what it takes- so sink spur and ride, kid! I love you and am proud of you.