Happy 13th Birthday My Boy! I love you to The Moon & Back!

My Dearest Soren!

First off, I won’t write an essay as I’ll tell you a lot of this to your face, but I’ll write something here, so you can look back in the future like you do at my “old lady Facebook posts” which I love to show you – like your first day of preschool back in Boston or your first goal in soccer or your first missing tooth.

It is hard to believe at times that you are now 13 – a real teenager. It seems like yesterday, you were this tiny baby boy everyone was so excited to meet.  Wait, it’s hard to believe you were in my belly and your father was ordering a frigging “Pupu Platter” while I was in labor for two days. Oh wait, I’ve got another story – got ahead, roll those beautiful green eyes, I know I’ve told you this many times but when you are a dad one day you’ll appreciate it. When you were crowning and the Dr. came in the room and asked me if I wanted to feel your head and I replied (very seriously “don’t I have to wash my hands first?”  To think that wasn’t even CORONA time. 

Fast forward many years and here we are about to embark on your THIRTEENTH birthday! While I wish you nothing but an awesome birthday for you and an awesome year, too, I know this year continues to be a hard one for us all. We live in the time of a looonnnggggng lockdown here in the Netherlands, no fun birthday parties like last year’s Karting party, no Oeteldonk carnival, no special events, the country is full of unrest due to “some people” who have made bade decisions to cause havoc. Your Oma Cora just passed last week which was sad for all of us. Over the years, you were tasked with a lot – having to grow up in many countries, changing schools despite not wanting to yet again, starting over with new friends, learning a new language, new houses and new people. I also realize this means you’ve had people you care about enter and exit your life – some at your choice and some not. You’ve had to leave sports teams you really loved, One day, you’ll look back at these experiences and know that you’ll make it through this and like all the other challenges you’ve overcome – stronger. My boy, over the last thirteen years, you have experienced far more than any child your age should have experienced, and yet in the words of someone far wiser than I.  On far too many occasions you dried MY tears, snuggled up beside ME, held MY hand and gave ME the strength that I was lacking. Even now, you still do and I am grateful for that! Right now at 13 we look eye to eye – I know this is the year which you’ll over take there, so now I’ll look up to you both literally and physically.

You’re not perfect, you and I both know that, and there are times when you drive me crazy, and I know vice versa!  🙂 When you fight with your sister, or when I see the state of your homework minutes before it’s due or when you refuse to back down in an argument or insist you know best, but I would NOT change it for the WORLD.

Academically you are doing well despite this independent home schooling in DUTCH (as mum doesn’t speak Dutch)  yet you still have no idea just how clever you are or how far you can go in this life if you apply yourself correctly. I cannot wait to see what the future brings you as you embark in middelbare school. I challenge you to Surround Yourself by People who Make You Better – Seek friends and acquaintances who are as smart or smarter than you and kinder than you, wiser than you, stronger than you. You will learn from them and you will rise to their level, if you are not already there. Don’t get dragged down! I tell you this a lot and I’ll tell you this again – don’t pretend to have confidence and look cool, and then sit at home alone wishing you were so confident. Be strong, put yourself out there – make friends and be a great friend.

Again, I won’t make this a novel, though I could, I talk enough to you daily – probably so much you keep those wireless headphones in to tune me out 🙂 I type that jokingly but I know partly true – I’m always here for you to talk – just say the word and I’m all ears. But I’m also going to keep asking, about your day, life, friends, school, troubles or worries just in the event you want to talk – mom is all ears!!

PS Notice I didn’t mention or tease you about girls 🙂 I’m trying!

Love your biggest fan,

Your Mom!

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