Starting off 2016 with a birthday letter. Hooray! John Paul, this one’s for you.
Dear John Paul,
Your last year before the teenage era hits. That just doesn’t seem possible. But, I’m so grateful we’ve made it this far with only 9 ER visits.
This year, I’ve seen a little teenage swagger appear. You’re getting a little taller – although, not as tall as you’d like, a little sassier, a little funnier and a whole lot faster.
You had another great cross country season. It sometimes shocks me that your father and I produced someone who’s so wicked fast. The running bug even won out over football, king here in Texas, so I know your love is legit.
Sports. Sports. Sports. Life of a boy mom, right? I know more statistics about the Mets, Jets, Spurs and Aggies than I thought possible. And, also, how in the heck did we get such a New Yorker fan in the house? You had a blast watching the Jets play the Texans last fall. Actually, you left in tears because you are über-competitive, but still.
Speaking of competitiveness. Whoa. I’m pretty sure there would be tears if you lost rock-paper-scissors. Not kidding. If your team loses or runs out of time, there are tears and a house warning to “steer clear of John Paul.” I’m holding tight to the truth this competitive streak will serve you well, if channeled in all the right ways, as you get older. For now? I’m buying stock in Kleenex.
One of your favorite subjects at school is religion. You take it very seriously and most recently asked us if we could start taking you to daily Mass 1-2 times a week. Our answer has been yes, because when your middle schooler asks if he can go to Mass at 6:30am, you say YES. You assure us the priesthood is not in your future, “I like building things too much. I want to be an architect that runs.” Fair enough.
If ever we need a hearty laugh in the house, we all turn to you. No one can make us laugh harder, or faster, than you. In fact, you are Gianna’s immediate laugh button. She absolutely adores you and does the crazy hand flap when you start running toward her. It’s pretty awesome.
You have a creative streak in you like your mama. Finally, a kid that has a trait from me! I can often find you at the computer, with an NFL football player’s photo on the screen, while you busily sketch on paper. Your art even won you a spot at the Travis County Youth Show where it will go up for auction. That’s happening later today and you’re convinced it’s the best day of your life. It’s your birthday and you get to win money.
I’m seeing glimpses of a young man emerge. That’s both humbling and terrifying. I love seeing how you are similar, yet different, from your older brother. It’s a reminder, however, to cherish all the days. You’re growing up and it’s been such a good ride, my man. You make me proud. You also test every skill in my motherhood arsenal, but one kid has to do it and I’m super glad it’s you.
Happy birthday sweetheart. I can’t wait to tear it up at your Star Wars party later today. May the force be with you!