A teenager? That's so lit!

Dear Alex,

Today you turn thirteen.  Thirteen!!!!  How and when did you become an official teenager!?!?!?  I know it's cliche, but it really does go by quickly...the days are long, the years are short, and all that.

As has become tradition when you have completed another year of life, I like to take some time to reflect on your personality, your accomplishments and yes, even your struggles over the past year.

In the truest notion of becoming a bar mitzvah, you seem more like a man than ever
At some point you stop changing so quickly.  When you were a baby we would see changes weekly, but now a whole year has gone by and your personality, your quirks are still Alex with all that is wonderful and all your imperfections (and I wouldn't have it any other way).  I think what has changed this year is how I react to you.  I will always be your mother and I will always "parent" you and raise you to be a decent human being.  However in the past year, it has become increasingly easier at times to be your friend.  Like when we discuss what's going on in the world, when we laugh at stupid puzzles games on NPR shows like Ask Me Another, or when we sit together in complete and companionable silence (shamefully) staring at our individual electronic devices.

Because you are acting more like an adult, I worry about parenting you as an adult.  I talk to you a lot about drinking and drugs.  Not because I think you are anywhere near trying, but because I want to have an open line of communication before anything happens.  I try to talk to you about relationships and girls too.  While you are receptive to discussions about the former (booze and drugs), you refuse to listen or respond to anything I have to say about the latter.   You are not ready to even talk about it; it's okay - I certainly do not want to rush your childhood.

Yes, you are still a child in many ways, including your sponge-like ability to learn new skills
This year you continued to work on the things that you love as well as tackle some completely new skills. In no particular order, this year you have:

  • studied to become a bar mitzvah
  • continued to master playing guitar
  • learned how to play lacrosse
  • grown as a basketball player
  • learned how to speak Spanish
  • sought progress (if not yet perfection) in your organizational skills
I am in awe as always, it is not easy to take on as much as you do.  

As Dr Seuss wrote "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!"
That personality of yours.  The emotional intelligence and kindness and empathy that you continue to exhibit.  That mildly introverted, want to be extroverted, old soul who gets on great with loads of individuals, but still hasn't figured out how to exist in a crowd for cocktail party kind of chat.  The kid who will laugh hysterically at base humor (Don't Mess With The Zohan being a recent favorite) and also laugh in an erudite way at idiosyncrasies in language.  Whose voice and ear for music are a tremendous gift.

Who cannot remember to hand in his homework.  Who is also wheeling & dealing with his teachers for an exception, instead of just doing his work in the first place.  Who loves staring at his phone just a little bit too much for my liking.

This kid who is the best friend and the best brother and the best son.  Who is thankful for all he has.  Who is privileged, but recognizes his privilege and asks for nothing more.  

Happy thirteenth birthday!  I do love you with all my heart, I hope you always carry that love with you to boost you up.

Love,
Mom

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