Today is a special day. Today you are thirteen! It does not seem possible that you are turning thirteen. It was only yesterday that I was in labor with you for 15 hours...scared...and hoping that you would be healthy. It took forever for you to be born. I was exhausted and almost to the point of giving up, telling the doctor that I couldn't push any more. However, I found the energy to try to push one more time and finally you were born (only four minutes from Friday the 13th). As exhausted as I was, all of that faded away the moment the doctor handed you to me, my beautiful son. You had jet black hair and the biggest blue eyes. You were amazing, so tiny and perfect and beautiful and such a gift from God. I have been more amazed by you as you have grown. I thank God in trusting me with the gift of being your mother.
The past 13 years have definitely been the most blessed learning experience in my entire life. I am certain that I will continue learning from you in the years to come. You have taught me how to love unconditionally not expecting anything in return, how to enjoy the small things in life, how to be carefree. All the way home from our vacation today, my mind was flooded with memories as I was driving. The times we danced in the living room with the stereo blaring, the times you'd help me 'clean' with your mini-vacuum, when I found you hiding behind the recliner using nose hair trimmers to shave your head, playing grocery store and McDonalds with you in our basement, your first day of school as I cried my eyes out putting you on the bus, watching you play tee-ball (picking weeds), then baseball (hustling behind the plate as catcher), cracking up at your spot-on impersonations, watching you act as the third parent for Austin (#firstbornprobs) and watching you comfort him when times have been difficult. The list is endless. Thank you! You have made my life worthwhile. You have been one of the brightest lights of my life.
Someday I hope you look back and read this letter with a different perspective than you do today. As you begin your journey as a teenager I want you to know a few things.
1. Stay close to God in all times. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, talk to Him. When you are feeling blessed and thankful, talk to Him. Change is constant and life is short. God will be with you through it all.
2. Dad and I love you. There are going to be times that it may seem that we are 'lame' when you ask to do something that 'all of your friends' are doing and we say no. Please know that every decision we make is out of love. We want the best for you and want to protect you.
3. Be a good big brother. Austin ADORES you. He watches everything you do and say, often imitating you. Be a good role model for him. When you make mistakes, admit them and then change your ways. He is going to be there for you long after Dad and I are gone. Make time for him. Nurture your relationship with him.
4. There are going to be girls that come and go in your life. There will be heartbreaks. Choose the ones that are special to you. Most importantly, treat them with respect, and respect yourself. Treat every girl as God's property. Treat yourself as God's property. Remember that you can talk to Dad and me for advice.
5. Be kind. Be a great friend to others. Be the person that people can count on and trust. Treat people with respect and give everyone a chance. Remember that everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
6. There are going to be some rough times as a teenager. There will be days when life is awesome, but there will be many that it seems the world is against you. In those days, I want you to remember, Dad and I have your back. Always. No matter what. Take it slow, you don't have to grow up overnight (even though you keep reminding me how many years until driver's training or college).
I am so proud of you! You bring joy to my heart and I love being your mother. Every day is a blessing and the best is yet to come.