With twenty dollars and a cell phone in your pocket, you were off to conquer the mountain, carving turns with your buddy.
As I drove off, I couldn't help but wonder how we arrived at this place. I am amazed at your independence, at your confidence and bright spirit. You are quickly growing from boy to man and though I hate to watch it happen, hate to have you taller than me, I am so very proud of the man you are becoming.
This has been a year of firsts for you....first girlfriend, first heartbreak..albeit shortlived, first kiss (I kissed a girl and I liked it..sung Katy Perry style over breakfast), first time shaving, first summer cutting the grass, first solo sleepover summer camp...quickly followed by first solo airplane trip. First year of junior high, first voice changing squeak, first out of state lacrosse tournament and first time you've really ever given dad and I cause to worry. I suppose it's all part of being a teenager.
A few of my favorite memories of you this year....
- Sitting by you at the Draper Temple Dedication and watching the Spirit touch you. I could almost feel your budding testimony well up inside of your chest and make your heart pound. Witnessing sweet tears pool in your eyes as you recognized the feelings of the Spirit and the truthfulness of blessings found in the house of the Lord.
- Watching you take responsibility for breaking the window at the Presbyterian church while playing wall ball. Pastor Lee told you: "On the outside, you look like just a boy...but you act just like a man". You developed a nice friendship with Pastor Lee over the summer. He welcomed you each time you came to play and you enjoyed learning about Hockey and old cars from him. I was so proud of you for having integrity, for owning up to your mistakes and making the effort to set things right.
- Having you ask me "Do you know what today is?" on the fifteenth of each month. I love that you remember and miss him as much as I do. It touches me when you share a memory with me or point out something that he would like or that reminds you of him. I love that you never complain about getting up at six in the morning on Federal Holidays to place flags in our neighborhood...you honor him by doing that, you know how he loved the American Flag and all it represents.
- Watching you become a leader on both your lacrosse and football teams. I was particularly proud of you in football this fall. Almost all of your friends were put on the same team together, while you were placed on a team where you didn't know anyone. I worried about your ability to fit in. I worried about your friends leaving you out. I think you were a bit worried too, but by the second week of practice, you had formed new bonds, created new friendships that still exist. I see the same thing as you play lacrosse for Team Utah. I admire your ability to make and keep friends from different schools, different backgrounds, different religions. This ability to accept and appreciate others, to enthuse them to good works, will serve you well your entire life.
There are so many things that I love about you, so many moments which have touched my heart this year. It seems silly to try to wrap it up in one single blog post. But I don't want to forget you at this age. I don't want to forget what a great big brother you are, particularly to your little brothers. How tender you are with them...and silly. I don't want to forget how you make me laugh every single day, how you are incredibly quick witted, yet kind in your humor. I appreciate that you don't make jokes at the expense of others. I don't want to forget how affectionate you are with your mom, how you give me strong hugs each morning and night, how you still say "love you mom" when I drop you off at school each morning...regardless of what your friends might think.
Dad and I laugh that you still get excited to go to the zoo, that your favorite christmas gift was your pet frogs and star wars legos. You are growing up my sweet son, but you are still just a boy at heart. How I love you.