Friday, May 13, 2022

Dear Henry: A Thirteen Year Letter

Dear Henry,

It’s been a while since I wrote you a letter. Last year I didn’t write you. I thought I may be done with these after the conclusion of elementary school, but here we are again! Today you are 13 – a teenager. On top of that, it’s your Golden Birthday, so you are 13 on May 13th.  A once in a lifetime event! How could I not write to you to document such a momentous occasion??  So here we are, back on the blog.  For at least one more letter from your Mama.

It is interesting to write you now, as a teenager. I don’t need to write down my thoughts so I can share them when you are old enough to understand. Now I can just tell you, because you aren’t a baby anymore, or even a little kid… or a big kid. You are a teen.  Which blows my mind and if I am being honest, slightly breaks my heart. Not because I don’t love you as a teen, because MAN, I do. But at the same time, my heart hurts just a little with how fast time moves. I ache a little wanting to hold the younger version of you. Not to replace who you are now, because I never want to let this go either. I just want to have you with me at all the ages, all the time.  Because you are the light of my life. My greatest joy – the one thing I love more than all the other things put together. So whatever your age, I love you in that moment - and I ache, just a little, for all those moments past with my very favorite person. So if I try to pick you up today, just let me - so I can believe I can still hold you, if I really tried. 

But let’s focus on the now, because I LOVE being your mom in this moment. Long ago, back when you were little and I carried you everywhere, I didn’t know how I would feel about these teen years. But here we are, and turns out just like every other year, I love this time with you. And yes, these days are sometimes hard. Growing into the adult you are going to be is a bumpy and sometimes bruising road. School is hard, friendships are hard, emotions are hard. And I know sometimes these middle school years are rough. But every single day, I am so proud of you. I love being in this space where you are grown enough to talk about deep and complex things. To laugh with us about the same jokes and enjoy the movies and shows together that used to be beyond your years. To share music with, to ride roller coasters with, to debate with on all things big and small that interest your curious mind. In this time, the land between childhood and adulthood, I see glimmers of the man you are becoming, and flashes of your first 13 years that have shaped you into the creative and thoughtful soul you are. And I have never been more proud to be your mother.

Now, let’s do a little rehashing for the record books. What has happened since your last letter? Well, you started middle school last year, and are wrapping up 7th grade now.  It was not a typical middle school experience, and it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that you are 2/3 of the way done with this school. Last year you spent most of it remote due to Covid. You did not enter into your school until last March.  I think that time, March 2020 to March 2021, will always feel like a little bit of stolen time to me.  You were on the cusp of this place you are now. And yet we got to hit pause and spend that time together.  This year things have slowly returned to normal(ish). You returned to school, masked but in person, last fall. Seventh grade hasn’t been your favorite, but you have made it through and done well. You have picked up archery and guitar, and enjoy both. You still love coding and gaming.  You have grown a love of history, especially world history since over the past 100 years. You love roller coasters and amusement parks, and are making sure we put our season passes to Kings Island to good use this year.  You adore your family and friends. Luke, Darcy, and Wes are all still so important to you, and we are so happy you have them. You are oh so funny and so creative.  You make me smile, every day, with your kind heard and sweet soul.  

I feel like I could talk more about who you are now, documenting your life and our favorite memories, but that feels different these days - now that you are older and your life is your story to tell.  So, I will let those stories be yours, and I will focus on my prospective. Over these two years I have loved watching you grow. I have loved traveling with you, watching new shows and movies with you, talking about things you are learning or questions you have. I have loved watching you and your Papa laugh and enjoy things together. I have loved watching you love Sunny, and Oscar, and Crouton and Howie.  Every day, on good ones and hard ones, I have loved being your mom.  Thank you for going easy on me – I feel so lucky you are mine.


Happy golden birthday, my sweet boy. Your Papa and I love you so.


PS. Here are a few more pictures, because we haven't share any here in a very long time :)