Twelve years ago today, I didn't realize it would be the day that I would meet you. I went to work, as normal. Then, you decided to come fast and furious. We knew you were going to be special since all of the Cleveland area experienced a blackout that night. It was a warning, "Watch out for this one, World. He's meant to do great things".
This year, I was very scared for you. Last year, you had such a great year. I didn't want that to end. I have only heard horror stories of Middle School. It turns out, I had nothing to worry about. You thrived. This year may have actually been better than last (though I believe you will never have better teachers than you did in 5th grade, this year is very close). You have met more people and become friends with people who are more like minded. You have freedoms this year, and, for the most part, don't abuse them. You leave on your own and I just tell you when to be back. Every morning when you leave for school, I still watch you ride up to the corner and I get teary. This is the first year in your whole life that I didn't take you to school every day. All those years past, it wasn't because you couldn't make it to school on your own, I mean we live close enough, but I walked you because I wanted those few extra moments. I picked you up every day because I wanted to be the first person you saw after your long day of school. That's why I wait outside for you to come home. I am so excited to see you and find out about your day that I just can't wait until you put your bike away and come in the house, I need be outside waiting I can't tell you the feeling of pride that I get when I see you turn down onto our street.
This year has been a big one for allowing you more freedom. As a parent, my job is to help you become a functional adult. For this, a parent can't do everything for their child. So, we've taken a step back. Last summer, we started letting you ride your bike to friends' houses, without me checking in the parents to make sure they were around. Thankfully, you have trustworthy friends who let you know that you guys can't hang out because their parents aren't around. I'm also thankful you have friends that respect our rules of not being here when your Daddy or I aren't around. It made me so happy when your friend just showed up yesterday to hang out. I saw it as a sign of a fun summer to come.
Another area in which you thrived this year was academics. This was also another area that you were left to take responsibility for on your own. Each day, you come home and you immediately tell me if you have homework or not. I never have to ask you do your homework, you always just do it. You also take responsibility for studying for tests. You make sure you do the quizzes and study guides the teachers provide every day. You're also very proactive and have good communication with your teachers. Your grades have been fantastic this (and every) year. You have been putting more effort into your work, and it shows.
You have really matured so much in the past year. I can not tell you how great it is to know I can count on you more for things and give you more responsibility. You have learned to make more meals to help out your family. You have learned to mow the lawn, and do a pretty darn good job. You don't give me too hard of a time about doing random tasks that I need help with.
I am so proud of the person you are and the person you are becoming. I can't wait to see what this next year brings us. I am confident it will be just as good if not better than this past year. As long as we stick together, we can do anything! I love you beyond measure. You are my heart and soul.
Happy Birthday, Little Man. I love you with all of my heart. You are my precious gift from God. It's going to be an amazing year.
Love you always,