Our son is 12 today, and I fail to remember all the things. No, not that his lunch is a peanut butter sandwich with Chips Ahoy cookies, apple juice, and Doritos or that he needs an extra $20 for ski club on Tuesdays, it’s about remembering the things that were important once, years ago. I don’t recall the sound of the cry he used to utter in the middle of the night when he was hungry, or the different cry for when he needed a change. I can’t remember his first word. I can’t for the life of me remember it. And while it makes me deeply sad, it also reminds me that with his growth there are also things he will fiercely hold on to and things he will also choose to let go.
And this year, he has held on to many things, but he has also let go of many. And throughout this pre-adult just past childhood age, he has handled growing with grace and wisdom that are astounding. He has let go of a few friends that were not necessarily good for him right now-and that’s hard, especially when you’ve grown up with them and grown to love and respect them. He has let go of a few unrealistic ideas that the world has presented to him as truths-things he knows now are not necessarily true for every gender and every race. He has let go of that 11 year old need to be “right” all the time, and is open to more perspectives and world views. He has let go of an impatience-one that he had with Pearl but doesn’t seem to exist anymore with Isla, and has lessened with Pearl.
I’ve written in the past that it’s tough to be “Surrounded by Sisters” but he has not let go of his sentimentality. He’s also held fast to his love for reading-one that he truly explore this year with the likes of a literacy lover as a teacher. His mind was blown at the start of the year with choice reading. Since then he has read Long Way Down, the Harry Potter Series, and is now in book three of the Hunger Games trilogy. We have also witnessed him retain his love of snowboarding. He excelled so much in a year that he is on the trick mountain! He also continued to be a good friend: helping those in need with learning how to ski, being patient with friends that don’t have a love for gaming as much as he does, and understanding that if you are attracted to someone, being friends is really important first.
Holding on to childhood is something Leo has been grappling with a lot-and deep down I hope he never lets fully go. Having a childlike love of life is something I wish for him to continue to explore and see the world in all of its wonder, to not be dismayed at the challenges, but to rise up against them and have a sense of confidence that loving life and exploding each moment will take you further than wishing for adulthood. He, again, wrote a speech for Student Council and created a campaign, but once again, came in second place. He also applied for Robotics this year and did not make it, which really was a disappointment after spending a few summers at Kettering. He was, however, selected as a Buddy for a student with disabilities and recognized as a Hahn Hero. With each failure there is learning, with each honor there lies expectation. One doesn’t exist without the other.
We are so lucky to call Leo our son. He is the best brother! We are full of gratitude and love for him and his sense of wonderment. As I continue to grow forgetful, I know his growth will be a constant reminder that what once was, doesn’t last but each new stage provides beautiful beginnings of memories. If I am forgetful, I hope it continues to be the things that may not mean as much to him in the long run. And if I do forget about that ‘one time’ or one thing, I know he will always remind me with his loving actions, his strong imagination, and his courage to be adventurous. Happy birthday, Leo. May your twelfth year around the sun lead you to cherished experiences and lasting memories!
IMG_2030 (white helmet, green khaki blue coat, thumbs up quick at end of jump)