Today, you are 12. TWELVE! I think I wrote my last birthday letter to you on your 8th birthday. Can that be right? I’m not sure; I’ll have to go back and look to be positive, but I think that’s probably right.
I’ve wanted to do it every year, but when I sat down to do it on your 9th, and your 10th, then your 11th, I just couldn’t. What I would have written would have been, “Buddy, Daddy and I are doing our very best. We love you so much. Love, Mommy.”
It was a really rough few years, buddy, I won’t lie. I mean, I don’t have to, because I know YOU know it, too. It wasn’t just hard for you, me and Daddy … it was hard for the entire family. And your teachers. And sometimes, like, general passersby. We tried a Christian counselor and, later, a psychologist. But in the end, after a lot — a LOT — of compromise and a lot of patience — EVEN MORE OF THAT — we’ve finally come out the other side.
I’ve never doubted that your heart is solid gold. You’ve always shown moments of tenderness that astound me, and you’ve been a wonderful big brother to Amelia since the day she joined our family. You continue to show her the most attention, play one-on-one with her the most often, and be the most proud of her accomplishments of any of your brothers.
Your temper DOES occasionally still get the best of you, but those times are now the exception rather than the rule. You’ve adjusted to middle school better than I ever dared hope, and you are a real social butterfly — you constantly ask to invite friends over to our house and you’re always being invited somewhere, whether it’s a weeknight or weekend.
You’ve also really come into your own on the soccer field … I’ve lost track now of how many seasons you’ve played with Hoover Soccer Club, but you possess a real natural gift for the game. I love watching you play every Saturday and I’m so proud whether you score, assist or simply play your heart out each week.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of the wonderful young man you’re becoming. You’re a natural leader and my hope and prayer is that you use that gift in the most honorable ways. I can’t wait.
You’ve come a long way, baby.
I love you,