Dear Camp, Jane, Danin and Skip,
I haven't done this in a while--write to you--so I'm doing it now. There are so many things I want to tell you--and even more--so many things I want to remember about you that I'm terrified I will forget. As you well know, I am not a worrier. I worry about things far less than I probably ought to. But for some reason, I do worry that I am losing my memory--that it will continue to get worse and worse until I can no longer remember all of the things I would never have wanted to forget.. I'm paranoid about it. I have been ever since my book club read two books about memory loss. But anyway...
These are some of the things I want to remember:
Camp. One minute ago (literally) we were arguing. You got your phone taken away a week or so ago, and I just told you you wouldn't be getting it back for a while. (You continue to struggle with being disrespectful to Dad and me and we continue to have to fight you to get your assignments all turned it and on time) You want to hash it out, but I am not going to. You are a lot like me in many ways. You want to talk everything out until all the words--so many words--become suffocating. I know now, from experiencing this with you, what Dad has felt all these years. I have suffocated him with my words so. many. times. I am sorry you inherited this trait from me. For what it's worth, though, I think my words are are also one of my greatest strengths. Maybe they'll be yours as well. It all depends on how we use them. You may likely also have inherited your tendency to be disrespectful from me. I was grounded for much of my childhood for being disrespectful. Unfortunately for you, this does not mean that your actions will be excused or go unpunished. What it really means, is just that maybe I can better understand you and still be confident that you will continue to become an amazing man. Because you will. I am sure of it. You already are amazing. When I think about you, I am amazed that you are my son. I love the person you are. You are such a good, fun, talented kid. You bring so much joy and fulfillment to my life.
You are 14 now which means you've started going to dances. And man, you love them. I encourage you to ask a lot of girls to dance--especially girls who wouldn't otherwise be asked--and I hope you are taking this advice. I think you are, and I love you for it. You have a distinct style. Last summer, before this school year began, was the first time you did your own school-clothes shopping. It was so surreal to see the 80's style jeans and shirts you came home with. Am I really old enough to be seeing styles cycle through again? And I've always said you can tell a boy has started liking girls when he starts combing his hair. Well, you've been liking girls for a while now. ;) At this point, you have a very specific hair routine. You come into my bathroom--always MY ( I mean Dad's and my) bathroom-- and put your whole head in the sink. After you wet all of your hair, you use my coral and blue World Market hand towel to dry it, and then you blow dry it and walk out with your head tilted to one side so that it dries just the way you like it. I got you your first cologne for Christmas and you wear it pretty faithfully. I asked you if girls ever comment on it and you said just about every day. Right now you and Lauren have a "thing" (at least you did last time I read your texts). I reviewed our rules with you about not holding hands or kissing until you're sixteen. Sarah says there's no way your not holding hands if you have a "thing." I hope she's wrong--not because holding hands is bad or because if you are holding hands it means anything--but because I asked you if you were and you said no. I want you to be honest with me, and I want you to feel comfortable telling me stuff like this. And, truth be told, I do think you should wait. That what our leaders teach us to do and I believe it is really good counsel. And believe me, Camp. No one was ever worse off for waiting.
You loooooovvvveee to have your back rubbed--and your hands, too. You would have me rub your feet as well, but that's where I draw the line. I only do that for Dad. Whenever it is your night to have me lie with you, you have me rub your back. When it's not your night, you will often still try to get me to do it, so i'll try to avoid going into your room because of it. If by chance, you do catch me tiptoeing out after checking on Skip or whatever, you'll whisper quickly, "Mama. Will you rub my back just for one minute?" And I'll groan and tell you no, and then you'll keep asking until sometimes I agree to a few seconds of it. Sometimes, as I'm finishing, you'll stick out a hand to be rubbed as well and I'll groan again. I'm sorry I have done this so begrudgingly, Buddy. I hope that despite how much I do not enjoy massaging people, I do love that you ask me to do it. I do love that every Sunday, you'll try to find your way next to me on the bench in hopes that I'll rub your back. Does it hurt your feelings when I turn your down? Often, you'll take my left arm and put it around your neck as a request. I hate you for it and love you for it at the same time. ;)
You've become very athletic and are an important part of the teams you play on. You go around shooting imaginary hoops and juking imaginary defenders just like Grandpa always has. And I looooovve to watch you play sports. It wasn't that long ago that Daddy and I were watching you in one of your Boys and Girls Club basketball games and you were so distracted and disengaged. We knew you were thinking about Harry Potter. You're not thinking about that any more. Your head is definitely in the game. Track is coming up soon and you are so excited. I am excited too. You just got your new white and black track shoes and you have worn them around the house all day.
You talk to me. You tell me jokes and about funny things that you see and about conversations. You take me through plays that happen in your games. You retell me things you learn at school and elsewhere (Like youTube :)) I love all these words. Thank you for them!
You are confident. This is one of the qualities I most admire in you. It is the one quality I wish I could give to my 14-year-old self. It is such a blessing and a gift. You are comfortable with yourself and that makes you a leader. Erin told me when you were very young that you were a natural leader. I hate to admit that I couldn't totally see it at that time. But I definitely see it now. She was right. You ARE a leader. And like Dad and I have told you, that means you have a very large responsibility. You have the power to either lead others to good, or lead them to bad. I hope you always take this responsibility seriously.
You are such a good kid. I know this because you are my son.....and because I read your texts :) I see that you want to be good. You want to do what is right. You are definitely a normal kid with weaknesses and temptations, but you are on the right track and I am sooooo grateful. Please continue on that road.
Even though we argue a lot these days and experience a fair amount of conflict, I hope you know how much Dad and I love you and how proud we are of the person you are becoming. What a cool kid you are! We have people telling us that all the time, and we know it to be true. Love you, Baby.