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Happy 15th aka “Almost Street Legal”

John Paul is 15 which means the insurance rates just went up, again.

That’s okay, he’s cute so we’ll let it pass.

It’s time for the first birthday letter of the year. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Dear John Paul (the Great),

You’re halfway through with your freshman year and already I’m thinking, ‘where did the time go?’

I wish it was possible for me to adequately convey what a bright spot you are in our home. You are the funniest person in the house. I love how you grab a sparkling water from the fridge, pop the top and wait for me to look up and make sure you aren’t drinking one of my Dr Peppers. That never gets old, does it?

It’s totally awesome how you work ahead on assignments and never leave anything to the last minute (except putting up laundry). I guess I can’t have it all. You’re an activator, a planner, a perfectionist and fiercely competitive. Boy howdy are you a competitor. You give Luke a run for his money.

Sometime in 2022 I expect you to finish the 1,000-piece zebra puzzle you started LAST YEAR. We have all bailed on you because it is so hard, but you have never wavered. That kind of dedication is impressive. Put that on a scholarship application in a few years!

You’re still a hardcore Jets and Mets fan – shrugs shoulders – and steadfast in your loyalty. It just really fits your personality.

You must get the talking gene from your dad, because you never stop. WOO (winning over others) must be one of your top five strengths. In John Paul world there are no strangers.

We’re learning how to regulate things like screen time and fantasy football obsessions, but overall the transition to high school has been vastly different than your brother’s. Not better or worse, just different. It’s been fun to live ninth grade again through a different kids’ eyes.

I see so much goodness and greatness ahead for you. Yes, we’re slipping up and making mistakes (me included), but we’re growing up in all the right ways. I see so many glimpses of the faithful young man you’re becoming. And honestly, when I think of you leaving our house in a few years, I have to dismiss the thought. I cannot fathom our house without you in it.

You are sensitive and curious, meticulous and gracious. Your friends are blessed to have you in their lives, but I’m even prouder to call you mine. John Paul, never waver from who you are. God created such a spectacular person in you. I treasure the time you try to explain baseball strategy to me, even though I will never fully understand it. Or, how you talk about math like I talk about fonts and graphic design. Your loves and talents are many. Won’t it be fun to see how God uses you this year?

Through it all, you are a tremendous gift to our family. I love you so, so much.

Happy 15th big man. Drive slow, okay?

Love,

Mom

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