I love the opportunity to write a birthday letter to each of my baby’s as they turn another year old. It’s a chance to not only wish them a Happy Birthday but to reflect on the year behind as well as share my excitement for the wonderful things that lay in the year ahead. This is my letter to my son on his 13th birthday!
Entering into the world of parenting a teen for the first time is a big milestone and I’m composing this letter to Kye in September (even though he turned 13 in March!). Knowing I was behind on my blogging I really wanted to capture my feelings in the moment so I wrote this post about my thoughts and feelings as I enter into the teen years stage of motherhood around his actual birthday!
Happy 13th Birthday to my FIRST baby! It is hard to imagine my life without you in it and it’s even harder to imagine that one day soon (before I blink!) you’ll be a man. You’re entering into such a wonderful stage of life as you say goodbye to the days of childhood and enter into the years that will shape your future and the adult you will become.
Not only are you growing in your independence, sense of self and maturity but you’re physically growing too. It’s so crazy to look through these photos throughout the last year and see how on your 12th birthday I was still a little taller than you and now, on your 13th birthday, you are much taller than me.
You’re growing so fast that I buy you new clothes only to turn around a month or so later and need to buy you more in the next size up. You’re especially growing in your LEGS. My goodness child! It’s so hard to imagine the little boy you once were and that we ever had any concerns about your bone age delay. Guess the doctors were right in that you’d just be a later bloomer!
I’m sure in the year ahead you’ll only continue to grow taller and taller and I have a feeling even Britt will be catching and surpassing me in height here soon. You’ll also be entering into a big milestone this year with getting Invisalign. Much like you’ve been a little behind in your height development, you’ve also been slower to lose all those baby teeth. Now that they are all out it’s time to get that handsome smile you have even more perfected! I have a feeling that it’s going to really age you in a big way so I’m not too upset that it’s taken longer for you to reach this milestone 😉
People always talk about the pre-teen and teenage stage of parenting and how difficult and trying it is. And I’m sure we’ll have some bumps in the road. I know this year I’ve seen you draw closer in your bond with Daddy. The interests you share (live sporting events, putt-putt, grubbing out, video games) and that has also meant you’ve, naturally, pulled back a bit on our closeness. I know this is part of life. Part of you growing up. Daddy and Big Papa are BEST friends and I LOVE that you are forming that bond with him too. And I know distancing from me a bit is also going to open that door for you to bond closest to your future wife, which is the most important female bond you should ever have in your life.
But I’m also confident that we will always continue to share our special connection. The older you get, the more similarities I see in our ways of thinking and viewing the world and I know that is a bond that will always be there. You know you can always tell me anything and that I’m always here. I try my best to show up for you in the smaller details so you always know I’m here for the big ones too. Oh the number of times I’ve listened to you walk through your whole video game battles and triumphs haha!
You continue to amaze me with your well-roundedness. If there is one trait I think best describes you as a person, and one of the things I’m most proud of, it’s that. So many people specialize in ONE area and hyper focus on ONE thing and that just isn’t you. You love being active and involved in a variety of activities and pour your personal best into each of them.
If anything I’m trying to make sure to instill in you that ability to chill out a bit. I know I am awful at relaxing and struggled a lot in my teen years so push myself to be “perfect” and I hope I’m able to help you better navigate the delicate balance of doing your best while also not losing sleep over (or pushing yourself beyond your limits) to be PERFECT. Perfection is unattainable and we really learn and grow the most in the areas in which we give ourselves grace and recognize we don’t have to be “the best.” You are your own toughest critic and I hope you see your talents as what they are instead of minimizing them! You are incredible just for being YOU!!!
It’s been so fun to see the way you’ve put those God-given talents into everything you do. I absolutely love the way you’ve blossomed in middle school and I give so much credit to the technology teacher who has poured his heart into you with the morning announcements (Kye the News Guy!) as well as TSA. You’ve also loved FBLA and archery (another wonderful mentor is your archery coach!).
Most of all I’m so impressed with, and proud of, your moral compass. You keep God’s Word as your standard and use it as your guidebook. You share with us the things you hear at school and not only do you not participate in those types of things, but you also actively speak out against them. You’ve told groups of kids to stop cussing, you’ve stood up for others who are being teased (or even just offering that person a comforting word), and you’ve gone to the teachers when things happen that you recognize need to be handled by an adult. It is NOT easy as a teenager to stand up because so often (and this is def something you’re already experiencing) you stand ALONE.
But yet you aren’t going to lower your standards in order to fit in. And THAT is HUGE. Not only will it store you up those treasures in Heaven but it will serve you well throughout your life here on Earth. You are entering into the toughest years. Where Satan attacks the most. Where your faith can be harder to stand firm in and peer pressure can be at an all-time high.
I know there will be times that you will be tested. Where you will succumb to temptations. And I know that you know Daddy and I are here to help you navigate those waters. To help guide you and correct you when needed but also to remind you that you are NEVER doing it alone and that you are ALWAYS loved and will ALWAYS be lifted up! We all make mistakes, we all have moments of weakness, and it’s how we use those times to strengthen our faith and our walk with the Lord that matters most.
I know you are planting so many seeds in your life already. With your words and actions (and sometimes lack thereof!). I remember my own teenage years and I can look back and see the peers who were Christians and I appreciate the seeds they planted in my life that later lead me to put on Christ as well. I know you’re in your own mission field and are making an impact, even when it can feel like you’re all alone in it.
We had a big change this year with moving to our new church home and I know that has been a big adjustment for you and our decision to build a new home is also a big change. Change is hard, especially when you are in such a tender stage of life. You’ve really done a great job at jumping into our new church family. Playing an active role in services, in youth events and in lending a helping hand at any opportunity. And you’ve also done so well warming up to the idea of living on the new land and embracing what will be our new home. I’m excited to be on this adventure with you!
You are such an incredible older brother to your siblings. I know it’s tough with two sisters and with Spear being so much younger than you but this year it’s really been evident at just how much he looks up to and admires you. You do an amazing job in “playing down” to their levels and I love that having younger siblings helps to keep you young too. I love that you still enjoy LEGOS and playing army guys and will even still dress up from time to time and put together different pretend play scenarios with them in the playroom. I am in no rush for those little glimpses of childlikeness to fade and try to give you as many opportunities as I can for you to stay a child for as long as possible!
This last year has been filled with so many fun memories. You were impacted in a big way through the Covid-years as your 5th grade year was cut short, 6th grade was filled with mask-wearing and distancing, and even this school year has had some less-than-normal circumstances. I’m so thankful that life, for the most part, has been returned to normal this year!
We were able to still do a good bit of travel and theme park visiting even during the last few years but it’s been awesome to really be able to get back to our normal level of activities without worrying about guidelines and restrictions. In January we even got to go skiing and I loved getting to watch you perform at a sport you LOVE. It made me wish we lived in a bit of a colder climate so you’d get to get your ski on more often 😉
In the year to come I know you’ll continue to go through many of the typical teen age stages and I am blessed to get to have a front row seat in the story of your life. I know 8th grade will be amazing for you and I’m eager for you to get to have that “top dog” of the school experience that you weren’t able to have in 5th grade. I’m excited for the friendships you’ll make and especially love seeing the bond you have with Colt to deepen as you both enter the teenage years. I think having just that ONE core person who aligns with your same values is HUGE and I’m so thankful you and he have each other and Daddy and I are really striving to pour into that bond for you both.
I am excited for the fun family moments we will have. I think Spear is really on that verge of being more of a true playmate for you and my hope is that you’re able to have that brotherly bond in an even bigger way. Now that you are 13 we will be entering into the world of a phone as well as the ability to watch, some, PG13 movies. I know you may be annoyed with the rules we’ll have in place – limiting the phone use, not allowing social media, still monitoring the movies you watch, and not having sleepovers.
I know these parenting decisions will probably cause you to be frustrated with us at times, and even mad at us. But I also know this is the time in my parenting journey where I have to be okay with that. I have to be firm in the areas in which I know are best for you. The areas in which we need to guard and protect you. The areas in which no amount of begging or pleading will result in us changing our minds. I know that these will be the areas in which you won’t necessarily be able to understand the “why” behind now, but will come back and appreciate us for it later down the road.
As much as I love being the “fun” mom and I love being there for you to talk with and lean on, I also know that true parenting is about making those tough calls too. Sometimes it means letting you down and having to say no. I think this will test me a bit as it’s tough for me to see you feeling left out or upset with me, but I love you too much to allow Satan to sneak his way into your precious heart and mind! I will fight him with all I can and I will do my very best to raise you to fight that fight for yourself as well.
For as long as I can remember you have always wanted to be President of the USA and I do think this is the year where that will be changing. School will start focusing on your future path and you’ve really been asking a lot about Daddy’s job and what he does. I can see you really being a HUGE asset to the “family business” and continuing on the legacy that Big Daddy and the Parker men after him have set as a wonderful foundation for you to follow.
I think you have so many wonderful skills in so many avenues! You are so smart, you are (again) so well-rounded, you have excellent social skills and just have all the elements to really provide an open future for you. SO many doors will be opened and you’ll have so many great options in your future career as well as life path. We will ALWAYS support your dreams and be there cheering you on through all of those paths!
I am so honored and blessed to be your mama. I know being the first born you’re, in many ways, the “guinea pig” kid. You’re the one I’m learning with and the one with whom every first is experienced with first. I’ve cherished every stage of the little boy years with you and am honestly less sad than I thought I’d be about teenager life. I know you will continue to be YOU and that this stage of life will be even MORE fun together!
Yes, these are tough years for us both but they are also wonderful ones. Ones that you will always remember and ones where we get to enjoy you in a whole new way! Bring it on 🙂
I love you so, so much. Happy Birthday Kye!
Here is a look back at each birthday letter to my son over the years: