Tuesday, March 29, 2016

For My Son on his 13th Birthday

Hi Keegan, 

You are the light of my life, you know. 
From the moment I hung a blue sleeper on the front door for your dad to see as he came home, till the day you were born, I anticipated getting to know you.

Dad named you Keegan, which means Fiery One. I thought it was a mistake, as you lay quietly and gently in your bassinet or on the bed, looking calmly around, so still and small...but then week three came, and I think you had caught up on being born a bit early. All hell broke loose. By that I mean - you began to assert yourself on a regular basis, and to argue your point of view - kind of like a bear does in a trap.
You were still sweet. With your small thumb jammed in your mouth, and your curly, soft blonde hair, your wide and expressive brown eyes, and your strong, fat toddler legs carrying you all around with your blankie. 

But oh were you loud!!! 
I could tell my days as boss were numbered, unless I grew an iron will to match your own. 

Over the years we've had a lot of fun. Wagon rides to the park, dancing around the house to music, dressing up in odd costumes, snuggling on the couch. Watching episode after episode of Bob the Builder...and later, Scooby-Doo. 

Jumping off the deck into the snowdrifts. Jumping on the trampoline. Playing with batches of kittens. Saying goodbye to kittens when we had found them a home.  Watching you and Lauren swing on the swings, ride bikes, and chase each other around the yard, Cinder the dog hot at your heels.  Running through the sprinkler. The first time you climbed the big rock. The first time you jumped off. Teaching you to mow the grass. 

Our mother/son camping at Wilmore. Eating s'mores until we felt sick, and reading comics by flashlight. Watching the river dance with sunlit waves. 

Dragging you to school in the morning when I taught preschool, and later high school, and then dragging you away from your fun and your friends so we could finally go home. 

One thing you've had to deal with is being misunderstood. By me, by some teachers and family members. You never try to please people - you just are who you are. And you get very very focused on whatever it is you are doing. 
You've had harsh words thrown at you. You've been yelled at by well-meaning but exasperated teachers. Every time I saw you sitting out in the hallway, waiting to find out what rule you broke this time, my heart broke a little. Actually it broke a lot. 
You have always been very forgiving. I hope you continue to be. I think you will need to. 

(Grade 3)

I just love you so much. You are highly brilliant, smart and quick with your wit. You are hilarious and it's so tough to stay mad at you when I'm laughing. Like today, when you said, "maybe when I
become a teenager I'll finally get some respect around here." LOL

I'm incredibly proud of you. My computer whizz. Gamer extraordinaire. I don't quite understand your world a lot of the time, but I see how talented you are. I like that you always take time to help others with their technological woes. And you never act like you are better than anyone; you simply do what they need you to do. 

Today, on your 13th birthday, I'm talking about your strengths. I've already spent too much of our time on this planet telling you your weaknesses. I'm sorry for that. 

I pray for strength and courage for you this year as you face more challenges of growing up. I pray that you refuse to compromise. I pray that you practice putting others before yourself. I pray you stand strong and bold before all of the sick corruption of this world we live in. I know I can't protect you from everything. My great hope is you learn to protect yourself - by raising your shield, putting up the gloves, speaking out - whatever it takes. 

I feel sad that your childhood is drawing to a close. But I won't dwell on it. I know good things are coming. At 2 pm today, March 30, you will officially enter the teen years. You are going to be the smartest, kindest, funniest teenager I know. 

Happy Birthday, Keegan!
We all love you like crazy. Remember, we are your family and we've got your back. 
Hope this is one of your best years ever.
Love always and always, 

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

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