You are thirteen. A man-child whose feet are the same size as mine.
You eat a whole pizza and then sleep with a stuffed animal.
You are ready to see the best in all people but still expect the worst.
You have big skills: trigonometry, sight-reading, cake-baking and identifying dinosaur bones, but you’d like me to read you the same children’s book every night.
Does it feel like a switch inside, toggling back and forth between adult and child? Is it a wrenching back and forth that hurts, or is the change in you more fluid?
I cherish you: the you who is deep and unchanging. Compassionate. Generous. Willing to see both sides of every argument.
I cherish the you who is becoming, striving and growing.
And I cherish the you who is disappearing: confidence in my ability to manage everything from spilt milk to forest fires (going), an unshakeable sense of safety (going), baby teeth (gone).
It is your arrival that made me a mother 13 years ago. It is you who bears the burden of all my theories. It is you who proves my theories wrong and sees behind my eyes the fear when all I have to clutch is grace.
I pray for grace for you, my son, that it may overwhelm you every day as you strive and fail and rise again, learn and lose, and grow and love. Happy birthday. I love you.