May 2, 1994: I THINK I CAN

Now, let’s go back to the beginning…

Dear Dominic,

I will try my best not to embarrass you, even though mothers usually manage to do just that! I will write you other letters in the future, but they will be more personal, more emotional. Letters you may want to keep and read from time to time should you ever need reminding that you are my sunshine, my joy. There are so many memories it’s difficult to choose—they are all wonderful.

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According to my birth certificate (and Google Maps), this is where I spent the first year or so of my life, on Whitman Ave. in Shoreline.

When you were born, the nurses made a big fuss over you because you were so strong. Only one day old and you could lift your head off the bed with wide eyes exploring already. The search had begun and you were eager to begin.

Early on you had a love for music. No matter what project you were involved in, you would drop everything when Sesame Street or the Cheerios commercial would come on TV and wiggle and jiggle happily in the playpen.

By age four, you eagerly attended pre-school and devoured activities and met with other kids—always so happy! One day, as your pre-school teacher and I looked on, a little boy walked up to you and asked, “What are you?” Not who, but what! We stood silent as you pondered the question and then casually threw up your hands happily, saying, “Why, I’m Dominic—just Dominic!” and then went about your business. I’ll never forget it.

Every teacher, everyone you met as you grew, recognized what I knew—you were a genuinely secure child. Happy, zealous, but refined and always mature for your age. I trust that you have always been happy. You threw yourself into life!

My mother used to call me her little "imp."  Looking at this photo, I can tell why.

My mother used to call me her little “imp.” Looking at this photo, I can tell why.

The grade school years at Bagley—my favorite. All the spelling bees and awards. The fun times. Remember when I dressed up as a witch and scared all the kids—egg and flour mask, peanut butter warts! Fun times!

The somewhat trying years in junior high and the developing excellence at Ingraham High School. You not only grew academically there, but it was in high school that your Faith began to really grow. You bucked the system and aligned yourself with the small but fervent Christian element in the midst of the secular, anti-Christian, amoral neo-paganism prevelant then and now. How I swelled with pride when you wore all those great Christian t-shirts to school and plastered pro-life stickers over all your books!

To my knowledge, you had no enemies. I believe your friendliness, your conviction, and your enthusiasm led most kids to respect you.

Remember the Baccalaureate you organized? The school didn’t want to offend non-Christians, but you persevered. The problem was to come up with a speaker who would deliver the proper message while being someone that couldn’t be rejected! You found him and wouldn’t take no for an answer! A black Baptist preacher in snakeskin cowboy boots; a former football player who spoke eloquently about moral absolutes. For love, against hate; for brotherhood against racism. Yes! I’m sure I embarrassed you that day, a little, since I was the only one who jumped up and yelled “Amen!”

Me, bucking the system.

Me, bucking the system.

I believe you are a fairly well-balanced person and I hope you will remain so. You have accomplished so much. Your hard work in high school earned you scholarships for college, without which advanced study would have been far more difficult. Seattle University has been extremely generous to you and I know you will remember when you’re a great professor to be generous to Seattle U. Remember to always be grateful for the splendid education you’ve received—you really are in your element at a Catholic university.

I believe that you could be anything you choose to be—which reminds me! If you ever write a book about your life, you should title it I Think I Can, after one of your favorite childhood stories—the little blue engine who kept saying “I think I can, I think I can.” You did think you could, then and now. Don’t let age deter you or hold you back: if you think you can and work at it—and pray for it—you will accomplish all you desire.

Remember two last things (I could go on indefinitely, but I won’t). All good things come from God through His Son. If you accomplish nothing else in life, be faithful to Him and He will give you all the rest in Eternity. And remember, next to Jesus, we love you best!

With love always as you continue your search*,

Mom and Dad

* Written on the occasion of my senior year Search Retreat at Seattle University, during which each retreatant received a bag of letters that had been written to him or her by family members, friends, professors. It was all just a little too much: dimly lit retreat center room, probably a fireplace, candles on the floors, and tissue boxes scattered around the room.

2 thoughts on “May 2, 1994: I THINK I CAN

  1. Dom,
    These journal entries and posts are like everything I’ve seen or heard you do. Extremely real and very cool. I eagerly await future posts.
    Rick Wagner


    • Thank you, Rick.

      They’re the real deal…and even though I’m NOT always the real deal and am guilty of being inauthentic to myself or others, I guess I always TRY to be. It’s nice that you noticed that in me during the short time we knew each other.

      Happy to share–and thank you for following!



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