Hayden is 15!

I am woefully behind on my birthday letters to the kids, so I’m hoping to catch up sometime over the next couple of weeks and deal with the fact that they are neither sequential nor timely.  That’s just the way it is.

What a difference 10 years makes!

Dear Hayden:

Is it nuts that I am old enough to have a 15-year-old when I swear I can remember being 15 myself?

That might be a good thing in that I can still recall how crazy-confusing it was to stand on the precipice of adulthood, and it might be a bad thing for those exact same recollections!  One minute you are a child who embraces childish things, and the next you are being asked to take a foothold on the mountain of responsibility that comes with growing older.  The tough part is that around this age you feel like you have one foot in each world and that can bring an overwhelming pull of frustration, or emotional overload, or an over-inflated sense of ego…or all of those at once.

It’s hard to balance eating Lucky Charms and watching Spongebob with surges of hormonal interests and mountains of advanced Geometry, isn’t it? It’s difficult to have the heart and mind of a child while grown-up expectations begin appearing at your door.  I know that sometimes (although you would never admit it), you would like to be able to sit on my lap as your younger siblings do and enjoy the simple freedoms that youthful dependency bring. Know that I would love to wrap you up in a huge hug and kiss you all over your face, but I get that that kind of stuff isn’t “cool”. Instead, I give your hair a quick tousle or I extend a lingering pat on your back and hope that it’s enough to communicate how very much I love you.  As your mother it’s difficult to accept that you will soon be responsible for the management of a motor vehicle on an open road when I still can’t get you to put your laundry in the hamper.  As your mother it’s difficult to have to look “up” at you, when I can recall so many more years that it was me looking down upon you.  As your mother I am trying my best to remain mindful of that whirlwind of adolescence and young adulthood when it reveals itself in your words or your actions. I promise to rely on the memory of my own 15th year to lend empathy and support and supersede my feelings of annoyance or worry when they arise.  I hope I’m doing a good job.  I’m trying.  I really am.  (Between you and me though, boys are very confusing)

Then again, the person/boy/man you are gives me confidence that you are on the right path, whether I’ve led you to it or not.  You are compassionate and kind to your smaller siblings.  You are the cool older brother that Eliza adores and the partner in crime that Weston needs.  I am able to count on you for help and I truly enjoy being able to talk to you about more grown up things.  I admire the way you fully commit to the things you are passionate about, especially tennis.  Your calm demeanor belies your competitive heart.  I am proud of who you are and who I can imagine you will become.

Keep on keeping on.
I love you so much!

Hayden turns 14
Hayden turns 13
Hayden turns 12
Hayden turns 11

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