You are my oldest. Every birthday you have is also my birthday as a mother. Sometimes I feel like I need to apologize for that. I have never had a child your age before. You are the experiment. You get to be the one fights for privileges like staying out late and getting a phone (definitely not yet!) because we haven’t set any standards yet. Luckily you are both a good talker and a good listener.
I was a wreck after I had you. I wanted to make sure that I did everything right. Naps were non-negotiable. I even left Disneyland to take you back to the hotel for a nap — You slept in the stroller on the way to the hotel and wouldn’t sleep once we got there.
Then there was the time that you were crawling around with a toothbrush in your mouth and face planted. You cried and cried, until I finally called your pediatrician late that night and explained that your toothbrush had scraped the back of your throat. The poor sweet man told me to give you some tylenol and put you to bed. I’m sure that was the only call he received because of a toothbrush injury. You were fine after the tylenol by the way.
When Dad got home from work we’d sit on the couch everyday and watch you play. Everything you did, and do amazes us.
People see AJ and remind me to “soak up every moment because it goes by so fast.” It does, and I do. But I’ve never wanted to always have a baby. As precious as they are that’s way too exhausting – an 11 year old, that can take care of himself, does chores, and is fun to talk to, that I could keep around for awhile.
This year you’ve grown up. I can see the man you will become physically, mentally and spiritually. Life is a little more complicated now. Friendships are not as straightforward and expectations are high. Sometimes it feels like a long list of to do’s: Clean your room, get ready, empty the dishwasher, practice the violin, go to baseball practice, foot ball practice, do your homework, help me with AJ. I’m fairly certain that when you see that harried look in my eye you hide upstairs with a good book and manage “not to hear” when I call- you are a smart one.
I hope the to do’s bring you joy, and if there are some that don’t we stop them and find others that do – except for chores, you don’t have a choice on those and hopefully someday they’ll bring you joy.
Sometimes I don’t know how to hang out with you. You don’t want to do science experiments or crafts anymore. You’d rather stay home with friends than go on an “adventure”. I don’t know what to do with the crazy amounts of goofy energy and the sometimes loud, obnoxious noises. But gradually we are finding our way. Ditching school for lunch dates, an occasional board game, concerts and museums. I can’t talk sports with you very well but I can talk books and I’m amazed at how you think.
In this life you will find a million reasons that you are alive. If those reasons fulfill you, excite you, and give you purpose, gather them up and hold them. But I hope that you will always remember the first reason that you are alive. Because you were so incredibly wanted by your parents.
Your birthdays have a curious effect on me. Each time you add another year to your resume I strip something away from myself. I realize how much in life is nonessential. I have mental lists of things I want to teach you, but they can be summed up in these six essential things:
Study the scriptures
Our Savior’s atonement is the only way to overcome and become.
And most of all, learn how to talk to God. Because HE knows you better than I do and he will help you when I can’t.
Watching you fills me with joy and excitement. You will be and do good in your life.
Love you forever,