Friday, June 28, 2019

To My Oldest on Your 11th Birthday

Dear To The Kid Who Asked To Be On Vacation For His Birthday And Then Changed His Mind (but mom already paid for the hotel-which doesn't offer refunds, so we're still going to be gone for your birthday),

You're 11!!! 11 brings a lot of changes: middle school, a phone, screen time privileges, new friends, more responsibilities, staying home by yourself. It's a bit overwhelming as a mom to be perfectly honest. Yet you continue to handle each change with (semi) a calm and coolness I wish I had. You give me the ability to make me think I'm doing okay at momming.

You've done a lot of changing in the last year. You went from my easiest child to my most difficult, all thanks to these pre-teen years. Your comeback skills are strong--for every time I tell you to watch your tone and what you're saying, in the back of my mind I'm thinking "ooohhh, that was a good one!" Someday I will tell you that. But for now, it's a challenge. There are far more tears than I thought I'd have to deal with for an 11 year old boy. You have yet to make me cry through it all, so I guess that's a plus.

You require more freedom and time alone and also bedtime hugs and tuck ins. You want to do things yourself and still know we're right there. You run and play and still want mom when you get hurt. You're in between a child and teenager. I fully realize why these years are challenging for both of us. I'm lucky though. I'm not overly concerned about anything. I worry, sure, but nothing to lose sleep over.

For an 11 year old, you're smart, responsible, helpful, and caring. Anyone can see that being around my daycare has influenced you. You know how to change diapers, hold babies, help toddlers express themselves, and proper clean up methods (you can mix a mean bleach solution and spray the toys quicker than I can!). You're extremely helpful with anything daycare related and took over a helper role this summer. 

It's no question that our household would not run as smoothly without you here. You unload the dishwasher, do laundry, clean up the daycare room each evening, vacuum, cook (you make a kick ass grilled cheese and tomato soup meal), and more. You require reminding to do these things, but you do them, usually without complaint. The only thing you complain about is cleaning your room....which is probably why it's in a constant state of disarray.

I love watching you figure out the world. You're both a realist and a dreamer. The two combined make things interesting. You love to travel, explore, and read. You've become quite the talented drawer. We've got drawing classes lined up to perfect your  natural skill. You continue to work hard at playing the piano and added in violin this past year. I love to see your love for music coming out. The Beatles continue to be your favorite, but you listen to a wide variety of music. You've developed a fear of heights and a sense of caution about the unknown that you didn't have before. Cautious is the word that best describes you at this moment in your life. You found you love races and are currently training for your first 5k mud run.

I can't wait to see what this year brings you (and I'm nervous too). You're now at the age that I hope I have given you the confidence, knowledge, and power to cope with the stress of middle school. I hope I have taught you right from wrong and how to stick up for yourself and others. I hope that you continue to come to me with your problems and share them with me so I can continue giving to you and building on what is already there.

You're a great kid and I'm forever grateful that you are ours! You made me a mom, give me continual confidence as a mom, and don't give me a hard time when I miss the mark (unlike your brother and sister). For you I am forever grateful. I can't imagine my life without you in it. I love you! Happy 11th Birthday Maxie!

Love forever,


PS -- A few pics I came across that so very much catches the essence of you!

 I believe a lifetime ago, I captioned this "Where the hell is the olive???" More appropriately it captures you putting everything in your mouth. Do I need to remind you that it was just in your tenth year that you swallowed a Lego??? Yep, that special moment happened and you came to me terrified about the Lego that went down your throat.

 The cats pretty much annoy you now. They (mostly Doc) try to lay on your lap and cuddle with you and you kick them off. At one point and time it was the other way around.

 This picture is such an accurate portrayal of life. Playing board games (something you've done daily this summer), with your brother being goofy and you telling him to stop messing around. Sometimes you laugh, but no one can get to you quite like Harrison does because you're complete opposites.

 Notice your serious face taking in the world. I see this face all of the time.

There's no one you love more than your little sister (then and now, for now at least). The comber of her hair, the one she goes to when she needs help with something, and the one she'll cuddle with.