To My Favorite Teenager

To the boy who has my heart

The past three years have gone by entirely too quickly.  I fear that I have missed a very important part of your "growing up" stage as you made your way through your middle school years, and yet as an emerging teenager, I could only sit back and let you take this time to grow and mature as you became a young man.  I tried to give you the space you needed so as to not embarrass you by always being around.  Your boundaries were enlarged with friends we did not know, most we never even met (except for this past Halloween when they all showed up on our front porch), and some that we may never even encounter.   I hope that you continue to influence one another positively, holding each other up as you make your way into high school in just a few months.

All of this time you've remained the caring and polite boy that we raised as you grew into a young man.  And that's all I can ask.  Sure school has been academically challenging for you, and today at the 8th grade awards ceremony, the special recognitions were for other classmates... but it's when you come home each day and instinctively inquire about MY day before I can even ask about yours - that makes me smile.  When I overhear you taking the lead with your younger brother...guiding him.  Teaching him.  Being that all important "big brother" that he can look up to.  My heart swells with pride.  Certificates, awards, and honors are just pieces of paper that will fade and become crumpled.  It's the hard work that you put into your studies EACH and EVERY day...I don't take that fact lightly.  It doesn't matter if the grades that you've received aren't as high as others.  You've worked just as hard, if not harder than most.  That makes me proud of YOU.

Tonight as you made the choice to attend youth group instead of going to your "Moving Up Day" Dance...I'm so proud of you that you chose to follow that higher calling and that you find yourself listening to that still small voice that is speaking to you and guiding you to something that is so much greater than even I could ever dream for you.  When you find that, I pray that you will reach out and grab onto it tightly, never letting anyone lead you to the left or right, but always moving forward.

As you officially become a high school student in just a few weeks, remember that you are a unique individual.  I've said that all along.  Never, ever, let anyone tell you that's a bad thing.  You have something that sets you apart, and that is what will make others sit up and notice you for all of the incredible qualities that make you who YOU are.

I love you D,