Dear Sam,

It's almost impossible for me to believe that you are 12.  I have been thinking about you growing up a lot, because now it seems like you're solidly into 'not a little kid anymore' territory.  One of the things that fascinates me the most about right now is that I can remember being your age.  I have memories of years before that, but from 6th and 7th grade on... that's when I feel like I can remember everything that happened.  I think about myself then, what life was like, the feelings I had, and I wonder what you will see in 25 years when you look back on right now.

I was so nervous about you starting middle school.  I didn't start middle school until 7th grade, and even then I think I was a little bit nervous about it.  At the parents night in the fall and the orientation when we got your schedule, I found myself full of anxiety about you being in that big school.  5th grade wasn't really the easiest year for you, and I was really worried.  I realized later that I was also remembering all my feelings when I was worried about middle school and not wanting you to go through that.

Well, it turns out I didn't have anything to worry about.  Middle school suits you, it seems.  On the first day of school, you lost the paper I'd printed out with your locker combination and class schedule on it.  You came home and told me that you lost it, but you still found all your classes and remembered your locker combination!  There have been some hiccups with homework and schoolwork, but when your first report card came home, there was a vast improvement from your final report card of 5th grade.  Your grades jumped, and you even received a 1 in art.  Which is sort of the equivalent of an A, but apparently letter grades are out.  I am so, so proud of how hard you've worked, and how much responsibility you've taken for managing school.  You're not perfect, but when I look at how far you've come, I am astounded.

In October, we were able to move out of Grandma's house and into a little blue house down the street from her.  You have your own room for the first time in a long time, and now we have a little family, me, you, Scott, and Danny.  Scott has been the most amazing addition to our family, he takes you both to school and picks you up afterwards.  We have settled in pretty nicely, and on the weekends you go see Emily and Megan and have a great time there too.  We have a regular schedule and a rhythm and in the past year we have worked really hard to have more boundaries and structure for you and your brother.  It is so hard for me to say no to you guys or enforce things, even 12 years in, partly because things were so crazy and unstable for so long, and it was just the three of us.  Scott has been a huge help and support for me, and it has been sweet and wonderful and heart-filling to watch you both develop your own relationships with him.

I think my favorite moments are the in-betweens when we just get to hang out for a few minutes and talk about our days and what happened.  On Tuesdays I pick you up from Coding Club and we talk on the way home, and sometimes at night when you're going to bed or on Wednesdays when Danny has piano we get to hang out and talk.  You tell me about your days, what you did in school, and the book you are reading.  Sometimes, I try to read them too so we can talk about them.

This year for your birthday, you didn't have a party.  You told me you  just wanted to have a couple of friends over, but then you decided all you wanted was your family birthday dinner.  You, Danny, Me, Scott, Megan, Emily, and Grandma Edie went to Red Robin, then over to Pure Bliss, where you had a delicious cupcake and opened your presents.  You recently finally got your Nintendo Switch by reaching your goal to save up $100 towards it.  You got some games and Grandma made you a sweet hoodie.

I have some trepidation about the coming years - teenagerhood, hormones, increased responsibilities, more opportunities for trouble or being led astray.  But I think that in your heart you are a really good kid, and I hope that the family and support that we have built for you will help you to find yourself and grow without losing your way too much.

The first 5 months of 2018 have gone by SO fast.  I feel like I blink and suddenly a month has gone by.  I'm a little worried that now that we aren't struggling as much that time will just fly by, and I'll look up and you'll suddenly be a grown up.  So, for now, I'm just cherishing that you still let me hug you, that you still let me lie next to you in your bed at bedtime when I'm feeling extra tired, that you still want to play games and hang out with me.  No matter how big you get, you'll always be my baby.

Here's to another great year, and things just getting better and better.


Firsts This Year!

First Live Event of Note:  Dan TDM Meet & Greet and Stage Show at the Paramount Theater


Favorite Book: You're currently reading the Red Pyramid Trilogy and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and seem to be really liking them.  You also read a ton of 39 Clues books in the past 9 months.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Song: You still hum video game songs the most.
Favorite Board Game:  Fluxx, Unstable Unicorns
Favorite Video Game:  I asked you and you said "IDK" then sent me a gif of someone in a blue bodysuit shrugging.
Favorite TV Show:  You've been watching Futurama again lately.  You still love Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons and you have also watched all of Gravity Falls recently.
Favorite YouTubers: Alpharad
Favorite Food:  Pizza, mac & cheese, grilled cheese
Favorite Dessert: Ice cream, Oreos
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House:  Pokemon Go, Coding Club
Favorite Subject at School: Art
Best Friend: Ashaan, Aedan

Birth Story