Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Letter to a 12 Year Old Boy: Brighton’s Birthday Letter 2015

Oh, you cute thing.
Well, Big B, it’s finally here.  You anticipate this day for months— plan and scheme a thousand birthday scenarios until the big day arrives.  And even that day, you want to go over and over the plan to relish in it.

[A run down of this year— Thursday night— Family dinner at On the Border with Emily, Friday— 5 boys to spend the night {Scavenger Hunt, Nachos, Laser tag, and Jurassic World} and Saturday— Family presents and Caramel Cake after dinner]

Your toddler days are a consistent picture that comes to mind— your wandering around the kitchen on Park Arbor with hands full of magnetic train cars clung to your chest, talking to me and asking me, “What are we going to do now?” — or next, or tonight or tomorrow or next week.  That hasn’t changed— you may not ask me as often but you are certainly asking yourself— anxious to get on to the next minute, the next thing.  I am finding you are a young man on the move and this expresses itself differently as the years go by.  At 10, 11 and 12, I picture you “at large” in the neighborhood, on foot or on your bike, seeking interaction-some social time with friends, young and old.  I am praying that your love of people and love of relationships will bless you in many ways as you invest your love for God in these friendships that are significant to you.  I pray that people and relationships always stay the main thing for you as you frame them within God’s plan for your life.

First world problems
But you made sure they got it right next time.
I enjoyed watching you face your fear regarding our big hike at Zion this summer— how you strongly contemplated it. {That part maybe I didn’t enjoy so much}  I was reminded of a few years ago when you told me,  “I can’t be strong, brave, or courageous without the love of my Momma.”  The memory didn’t help me figure out how to boost your courage without melting into a heap so I let your Daddy handle it.  You went very reluctantly but you did it and the satisfaction on your face afterwards made me smile deep on the inside.  I loved the tangible expression of God’s providing for you in the form of a water bottle from a stranger.  You asked—out loud— and He provided. I learn from your faith.

Once you made it to the top, you decided going down on your bottom might be the better option.

Riding Bryce Canyon with Daddy

Always up for a contest!
I do love to hear you pray- even when I know you are praying what I want to hear but especially when I sense your prayers are heartfelt and coming from somewhere I don’t get a glimpse of any other time.  You don’t forget ongoing requests and pray for things I didn’t even know were near your heart.

Crunching knuckles and sniffing that blanket....
B, your heart is tender— towards many things and that endears you to me in so many ways.  You pull for the underdog.  You still look for the one being left out and draw him in— not every time but it still characterizes who you are.  You know when feelings have been hurt or when a teacher is having tough time.  You know if I have cried even if it’s hours after it has happened.  You can just tell.  Because your heart is tender, it means you are easy to hurt.  We are learning this delicate balance of your emotions and pray we are parenting you well.  I’ll never forget a time this summer when you were hurt— in your heart— and it was a RARE — almost never— time your daddy told you to sleep in between us.  I was mad and sad because you’d been hurt and I had to explain this to you— that sometimes madness and sadness come together.  After a few minutes of my tossing and turning, your hand found my face in the dark and you patted me assuring me you’d be okay and that you were sorry I was sad.  Even in your pain— that was very real and warranted— you were tender towards mine.

I find this sometimes--you’ve just dropped them, right there, on to something else.  And this is the kitchen.
I love to hear you play-- and that you like to play.
Always up for Mexican food-- all that Cholula when you were 2 paid off for me.
One of your many notes all year long-- always encouraging and always thanking me for something.
I love when you want to hold my hand.

Emily, will you give me a head massage?
I also see your tenderness in your quick confessions and repentance.  This will become more beautiful and meaningful as you mature but it still gets my attention and calls for affirmation.  Your desire to be “right” with someone and “right” with the Lord drives you, I think.  It’s a humbling thing to admit your wrong doing in the moment.  There are sometimes it takes longer than others but, mostly, you give the Holy Spirit a willing heart.  This blesses our whole family and I pray it will always be a growing part of your life— this humility and willing surrender.

Neighborhood buddy

Getting to read the Christmas story to these two for the FIRST TIME.  What a gift.
Some Harbinger friends

Seeing RJ’s baseball card for the first time
You endured your first bone breaking this year!  Even if it was just a pinky, it was a big deal!  I just wish you could have waited until AFTER baseball season!!  ; )  However, I was terribly proud of how you handled it— that is code for “I am proud you didn’t FREAK OUT and MILK IT for all it was worth.”  My heart clenched at the thought of the pain you were enduring and again, this momma got some deep satisfaction watching you deal with the long afternoon of pain.  I barely heard any complaining, except we couldn’t meet friends for dinner at Joe T’s.  As as bonus you got to wear GYM SHORTS to school while you had a cast on!  Because we were out of baseball season, we trekked to Georgia to see my nephew AND my niece’s boyfriend play college ball.  It was a bummer RJ’s games were rained out in Savannah but Jason came through with getting you the bat boy position for the Georgia Southern double header.  You had a great weekend, cast and all.

All this for a pinky!!

Being bat boy for the Georgia Southern double header.  Thanks, Jason and Hunter!
You tried to play with your cast-- not sure this was such a great idea-- but later, someone else made this decision for us.
You made it through another year of camp— always so reluctant to go but always having a hard time leaving your counselors.  You set out for the 10 mile bike race in Wichita Falls this summer and wound up doing the 25 mile ride!  You had a great season of Saints YMCA football this fall playing defense for the first time as your daddy was the line coach.  I think I enjoyed watching you play basketball the most this past year.  There’s something about watching you “get after it” on the court makes me happy.  You got the “Marksman” award this year.  I was shocked every time a 3 pointer made it through the hoop!  You got your Thursday boys BLACK CAP this year.  You are now officially “Security”. Oh-and you’ve survived almost a year with our first teenager in the house.  A girl teenager, at that.  Way to go, B.

So proud of you!!

Playing football for the first time as Daddy as your coach {That’s a good looking pair right there.}

Ready for you two to be back in the same class!

So what now?  What can I leave with you on this your 12th birthday?  How do I focus on just one thing?  Honestly, I know you will have some not so fond memories of you and me together— I am guessing mainly over school— our days at home together where you like to push every known button I have and drive me to the brink of CRAZYVILLE {or maybe just my closet}.  If you are reading this years later, I bet you chuckle admiring your own strategies to age me even faster than it’s happening.  Just hope I have selective memory when you want me to watch your kids for a week.  We’ve had some hard days— and I know they aren’t over.  We both regret them.  Sometimes you are in the wrong and sometimes it’s me but what I love about you, B, is that you are quick to make things right.  With humility, you just confess it all and just get it out of the way.  You ask for forgiveness— unashamedly grabbing hold of God’s grace AGAIN.  I love this.  I learn from this.  You have NO doubt that what Christ did for you on the cross was enough.  And that there is plenty for you.  You don’t let the sin weigh you down.  Once you realize it, you confess it and ask for forgiveness.  Because of this, I’ve seen some things change in you— I am even watching some now in the process and it makes me proud.  So my prayer for you this 12th birthday is that your heart will stay soft, stay pliable, stay teachable— for always.  This keeps us opened up and ready for whatever God has up His big ol’ sleeve and I can tell you, B, it’s worth it.  Whatever you have to do— or NOT do— to keep your heart from hardening, give it all you’ve got.  Put forth the effort to remain moldable, penetrable clay before Him.  He is making you into someone INCREDIBLE.

I love you and am so proud to call you mine.

Goodbye 11, Hello 12!


Emily said...

I love this boy so much! Glad you caught the "head rub" moment, that is one thing that I will remember often when thinking of B. Great job at capturing the essence of B in this letter.

Sarah said...

Sweet, sweet, sweet! I have loved watching him grow up all these years...! And these post, what a treasure!

Alyssa said...

I echo Emily. B is such a blessing and such an encourager. Love his heart!