Monday, June 28, 2021

To My Oldest On Your 13th Birthday

My Maxie,

It's been 13 years since you came screaming into this world and our world hasn't been the same since. 13 seems like so long, but in reality, it feels like yesterday. You still have the same grin when you get an inside joke (or an adult joke these days). You like to assess the situation before you commit to it. These things haven't changed since you were a baby, but nearly everything else has.

Year 12 was a doozy. I'm sure I don't need to remind you. You went from regular middle schooler to being homeschooled in a pandemic. A request you made shortly after turning 12 because you didn't feel schools would be safe. This is just one of the many examples of maturity you have displayed. You handled everything thrown at you with a levelheadedness that leaves me in awe. Luckily, you have the best of friends around you. The same group of friends you've had since kindergarten! You still like to spend time with them and even us. With every Family Fun Day we enjoy, I have to wonder if this will be the last time you happily accompany us on a trail. Thankfully, we haven't hit that day.

Not that everything has been peachy. That teenage attitude has come roaring in a time or two, such as when the dog pulled you into a lake and you stormed off into the woods yelling at us. But those incidents are few and far between and for that, I count myself lucky.

You rarely say no to an adventure. You love to travel and go to new places. You're careful and calculated, but with a little nudging from your siblings, you do things. You love to learn and research. This has become your strong suit in homeschool and something that I hope you continue to grow in the future. Even though it was your brother who begged for a dog, Zeus has become your best friend. He sleeps with you every night, follows you around, and prefers you to be his main caretaker. For the most part, you do a fabulous job and take it seriously. Occasionally I have to frustratingly ask you if you would like to be without water for half of the day.

You continue to excel at art. There's really not a subject you don't like. Pokemon and Legos are still your preferred toys, as well as board games. You like being outside, running around, and swimming. You like (nearly) all food and have spent a lot of your year cooking, which we turned into part of your homeschool curriculum. This summer you took your first official paying job as my daycare helper. You slayed swimming lessons and decided on another week to become "an expert" at swimming.

Maxwell, as I sit here and reflect on you, I realize how much and how little have changed. Under it all, you're still that sweet, caring boy who loves to do and try new things, a foodie, and my kid that allows me to screw up at parenting and apologize for it. Being a firstborn can be hard, a lot is placed in your shoulders. I realize how unfair that is sometimes, but I also know you will be better suited for the world's surprises because of it.

Much like last year, I don't know what year 13 will bring. I know I can promise you adventure and travel, while we navigate another semester of homeschool. My hope is that you can return to your middle school for your last semester and graduate with your friends. I hope we can continue to turn your dreams into a reality. I hope there's happiness and laughter, growth and learning, and above all, love. I wish these things for you today and always. Thank you for making my life better, for changing me, loving me, and letting me be your mom. I know the teen years are supposed to be challenging, but you have gone easy on me up until this point. I'm always thankful that you're my firstborn because you pave an amazing path for your siblings. I thank the stars every day that you are ours.

We love you and love watching you become who you are! 

Love always and forever,

Your Mom