Day one has come and gone. As a proud dad of this 2023 Coast Guard Cadet, today was overwhelming for many reasons. I cannot help but think of the swabs particularly. This day was hard, emotional, strenuous, long, demanding and seemingly unforgiving. The first hours were spent being issued uniforms and getting haircuts — and getting yelled at. While the second half was filled with drills, training, and learning the ropes — the hard way.

My heart is heavy with not only missing him both now and for weeks to come, but heavy also with the weight and depth of the selfless sacrifice I know he has chosen. A choice to make this land and sea safer for us all. How does a dad respond to such dedication, loyalty and bravery? He doesn’t — this one just stands in awe, because my son is my hero!

Today I was able to write him a note, something quick and encouraging to bring a smile, a cheer, and something extra to take him a little further along.

I wrote to him the words of Paul as he spoke to the Ephesians, a prayer of which I echo:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.

Ephesians 3:16

My continued prayer tonight is that you will find refuge in his Spirit and not your own. Your body is tired tonight – be strengthened and renewed through his glorious riches and with the power of Christ your King!

I’m so proud of you son — sleep, rest, renew. You’re my hero!

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