During Holy Week, my oldest turned twelve. With the crazy of the Triduum, my parents joining the church and us getting ready for a week-long getaway to South Carolina, I just didn’t have the time to write my usual “happy birthday” letter. But, today is just as appropriate. We’re finally celebrating with all his friends – yes, fourteen 12yo’s are about to invade my house – this evening. While I’m still standing and somewhat coherent, I thought now was a good time to write that cute boy a letter that will surely embarrass him.
The day you were born, I was ready. Eight days past ready, actually. But the best part was you were born on your Papa’s (my dad’s) birthday. When we called him to share the news I said, “Well Dad, I didn’t buy you a present this year, but I did make you one.” He still tells people that story. Not only do you share his birthday, but his name, as well. My two very cool Williams. I’m a lucky momma.
This year is your last before the teenage years. That’s not possible, right? But it is and I am so proud of you.
You are my rule follower. You also expect the entire universe to follow the rules. Perks of being the first-born buddy. Your dad thinks that will serve you well in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. Speaking of Aggieland…
Nobody loves it more than you. I mean, HELLO, you’re the only family member to have met Johnny Football. I think that officially makes you the coolest kid in the house. I will never forget that day. Words really don’t express just how excited and proud I was of you, how you handled yourself and the impression YOU made on so many people. Yes, you.
You know all there is to know about collegiate athletics. You often start a sentence, then look at me and say, “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you, Mom?” Mostly you’re correct. I still love that athletics is one of your favorite pastimes You’ve really come into your own on the basketball court and the golf course. It will be fun to watch you in the coming years perfect that love of the game.
I’m not sure there’s a more voracious reader than you. You often read books for the third, fourth or tenth time because you love them so much. Your Kindle can’t keep up.
Oh my, and that giggle of yours. It kinda starts small and then it takes over. It’s still my most favorite sound in the world.
Even though it’s been twelve years since birth, you still twirl your hair on the top when you’re concentrating on homework, reading or trying to fall asleep. How cool that your lovey is attached to your head. For the record, I’m jealous you got your dad’s hair. So thick and awesome. You don’t appreciate it now, but when all your 80-year-old buddies are losing hair, yours will still be intact thanks to some good genes.
You’re a bit of a perfectionist (sorry). My gene pool. Sometimes it hinders you, but we’re working on getting you to take some risks and make some mistakes. I’m quite certain the teenage years will have plenty of those.
There is one activity you do, though, that trumps them all. You practice your faith and it comes so naturally to you. As an altar server I have seen you blossom. You take a keen interest in Mass and I know that has been fostered by some great priests, seminarians and fellow servers. You’re fascinated by the saints, the Bible and the Catechism. Your sweet, sweet heart is always in tune to other people’s feelings. Unless, of course, those feelings are your sister’s, Anna-Laura. You two may be the death of me. Someday you’ll get along. It’s a dream I keep dreaming.
You’re horribly bad about leaving your socks around the house, forgetting to flush the toilet and saying, “Well, I didn’t make that mess.”
All these things just make me love who you are and who you are becoming. Our conversations are changing, you’re growing up and I’m loving the direction God is taking with your life. May you always know how much you’re loved and honored here.
And remember: we love you, no matter what.