A Letter To My First Teenager


Thirteen years ago, I was expecting you.

A baby boy. My first born. My first son. When I dreamed of who you would be, it was a player. No, not the kind that dates several people at once. The kind that would play baseball, football, soccer and basketball. Now you can barely dribble, let alone do it while moving. Football consists of tossing one around in our backyard without pads or a helmet.

When I picked out your crib bedding, it had baseball gloves and bats on it. Now, you won’t even watch a game with me. Your tee ball career began and ended in one short season. You had no love for the game.

You do, however, pick up drumsticks, sit behind a kit and blow my mind!

You’re comfortable there and you play as much as my head will allow it. You can pick up on a song quickly and keep the beat. It’s not baseball, but you definitely love it.

When I dreamed of what you would do, I saw you running like the wind to score a winning goal or touchdown. You do love to run, but not with a ball in front of you or in your arms. No, instead you just run up and down hills and through woods in the shortest shorts, in an effort to cross the finish line first. I am always the loudest on the sidelines of the cross country course.

I was told you were a boy and my sports enthusiast heart pictured a little guy who loved sports as much as his mom. Well, I was wrong.

Instead, you like to stay in your room and read all different kinds of books. You let your imagination take over. You sit at your desk and write. You wrote a novel before you were 11. It won’t win a Pulitzer, but it was yours and yours alone.

You love to ride roller coasters. Actually, you’re obsessed with them. You research them and build them in your mind. You possess hundreds of, what I would call, “pointless facts” about them. For you though, these facts are as important as breathing. It’s hard to believe there was a time in my life that I didn’t know what a hyper, giga or strata coaster was. I’m still learning several other terms you say, and I’m grateful you are patient with me as I try to take an interest in your interests.

Instead of swinging a baseball bat, you swing your hips while singing on a stage.

You like being in plays and musicals, pretending to be someone you’re not and you do it so well, if I do say so myself. You’re on a stage in front of your peers with your head held high. You display the kind of confidence some people search their whole life for. I don’t think you know how rare it is for a boy your age to both know who he is and be confident in it.

Thirteen years ago, I didn’t know how smart you would be or that your work ethic would put mine to shame.

I was and am a hard worker myself, and I like to think you got that from me. However, your brain was not a gift from me, but what a gift it is! You’re on an entirely different level. Your mind and your desire to succeed is lethal and will take you far. You put 100 percent effort into every aspect of your life; school, after school activities, church and even just playing a video game.

That being said, anytime you want to quit yelling at the TV and the people you’re playing with would be fine with me.

You’re quieter these days.

I miss when my car was constantly filled with your voice. I even miss your lightsaber sound effects. You keep your head down and in your phone a lot. You’re displaying all the traits of a typical teenager. All the things people warned me about have come true, despite my hopes they wouldn’t. While I list all your accolades, don’t get a big head. I could just as easily list all your annoyances and negative behaviors, too. I’m told by people much wiser than me that your attitude is typical. It’s even normal, but thirteen years ago, I couldn’t picture you as a teenager. Now you’re a teenager and the boy I dreamed you would be is a far cry from who you are.

For all things I dreamed you would be, you turned out better than I ever could have imagined.

Thirteen years ago, I didn’t know what the future held. Now I know it consists of laughter and tears, and will probably continue in that pattern. Your first thirteen years gave me the joy of getting to watch you become a big brother three times. It gave you an ADHD/OCD diagnosis, and it gave me the privilege of watching you overcome it. It gave me a passionate, lean, God-filled, curly-haired, young man.

Thirteen years ago, life gave me you, and I have been figuring out what life is truly about since. Thirteen years ago, I had no idea all you would become and how you would surpass all my expectations.

Mostly though, I had no idea how fast thirteen years would go.  




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