One foot in each world

Dear Alex,

Today you turn twelve.  I know it seems cliche to write that I remember being twelve myself, but I really do.  I remember how sixth grade and middle school is a really big deal.  Something about getting yourself between classes and packing your backpack and even walking out of school and deciding if you are going to go home or somewhere else.  It is a step change in the amount of independence you have.

I think, no, I know that you love this independence.  This perhaps most defines your twelve year old personality.  And I'm trying, I really am, to let you be this mini-adult.  Give my kid his freedom.  This is the "foot" you have in the soon to be a teenager, growing up too fast world.  I let you choose and spend time with your friends, go where you want to go.  The good news is that for the most part, you just go to each other's homes, spending time playing computer and video games.  

But there is also this intense need to be liked (in the form of social media likes - times have and have not changed). The new and ever growing forums (Instagram, Snapchat, random and weird texting apps that have come and gone) make me nervous.  I want you to always be nice and receive nice.  Meanness will stay with you for a lifetime as it all is recorded for posterity.

And there is also responsibility.  In the form of packing your backpack, remembering when you have homework or needing to study for a test and without your mommy and daddy really getting a chance to know your teachers.

So there is the other "foot" that must remain in the world of a child.  Where I still make your lunch every morning, where I have to yell at you to do your homework, where I check your texts and your posts and make sure that you are both behaving and being treated well.

It is exhausting guiding you through this transition into adulthood.  I do it of course because you are my child and this exactly what parenting is.  But I also do it because you are so worth it.  You are intelligent and kind and perseverant. You have a love of learning when someone teaches in an engaging way.  You don't complain much.  You are ever grateful for all that you have.  You never ask for anything.  You are a good friend.

In this last of your preteen years, I hope you continue to let me into your world, and not try to have both feet in the world of adulthood quite yet.  It is a privilege to be your mom.

Happy birthday, Alex!



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