That happened in a hurry. I mean, it didn’t, but then it did. You moms of littles, who have become bigs, know exactly what I mean. Our oldest turns 16 today and that means…
Sappy birthday letter from mom.
I’ve thought long and hard about what to write for such a milestone birthday. There are all sorts of memories I could share, or sage advice, but above it all I guess I just want you to know this one thing:
You’re loved big here.
I love you when I’m screaming, “Brake, brake, braaaaaake!” as you round the corner in the minivan. Sorry, I’m working on my reaction time. I love you when you’re sharing the latest NBA trade news or March Madness bracket buster. It’s highly possible it will forever sound like Greek to me, but thank you for continuing to try to explain it to me. Never stop doing that, okay? I love you when you forget your homework, forget to take out the trash or forget to put up the dishes. It drives me insane, but I love you. I love you when your room is a mess, your shoes are stinky or your laundry is piled in the corner. It means you’re still living under our roof and I am eternally grateful for this time with you.
You are the linchpin in our family. You’re the first to do everything, the first kid we consult on any number of issues and the one who made us parents. But, I pray all those firsts don’t bring you too much pressure, but rather an immense amount of joy and pride.
I remember when you used to nap on my chest while I watched re-runs of ER when you were a newborn, thinking that 16 sounded so far away. My sweet self was more worried about getting a full night’s rest. Now, you’re the one getting in a tight 12 hours while I’m up!
High school is going just as fast as everyone warned us, but that’s okay. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. Your life is full of friends and pick-up basketball games in the neighborhood, 4-H events and homework, chores and ESPN. I feel like you’ve hit your stride your sophomore year. You’ve grown a foot (no really) and are maturing into a funny, gregarious, thoughtful, faith-filled young man. Dad and I have been impressed with your discernment on some big issues. It gives me hope that even though I don’t dare go in your room without a shovel, you are absorbing some of these life lessons with grace and humility.
A&M is still at the top of the collegiate list and it makes me smile that your closet is almost entirely maroon. Should that be where you land, Aggieland will have scored a pretty awesome kid. Completely unbiased opinion, of course.
4-H is still tops. You’ve really thrived in your leadership roles this year. What we once found ourselves “strongly encouraging” you to do, you’ve now taken ownership and are doing all on your own. That’s such an incredibly gratifying thing to see. You’re seeking out your gifts and finding ways to use them. Please don’t ever stop doing that. I mean, stop hip checking your sister, but keep going with the rest.
Our favorite nickname for you is still JFK. That hair. It kills. It reminds me of your dad. I’m pretty sure Luke is well on his way to having the same hair.
You tried some new things this year, you had some missteps, some eye rolls, some big wins and some tough losses. But with each one of those life lessons I’ve seen this mature young man start to emerge. What I thought I might fear, though, has never come to fruition. Teenagers have their moments, just like their parents, but by taking the time to get to know you as a growing adult, I’m falling more in love with being your mom.
In a few short weeks, you’ll be receiving the sacrament of confirmation. It’s exciting and humbling to see you take it so seriously. I see a man of faith brewing behind those handsome green eyes of yours. If I’m bursting with joy, I can’t imagine God’s great love.
It’s time for us to help you spread your wings a bit, for the time in the nest is growing short. I’m leaning into the person you’re growing to be rather than mourning the little boy I will forever remember. The coolest part is that I have you here now – growing taller, gaining in confidence, acquiring knowledge, learning life lessons, sharing family jokes and loving God.
It’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.
Love you buddy,
p.s. For all my living days, I will love that you share a birthday with my first #1 man in my life, and your namesake, my dad. Happy birthday to the Williams!