Well, it is official. We now have two full-fledged teens in the house.
Heaven, help us.
This is the last of our "first" pandemic birthdays for the year. Not going to lie, son--- this week hasn't been the most stellar one to endcap it with a birthday. We currently have no water running in our home of 6 people, 5 dogs (currently), 2 cats, 2 rabbits and are still continuing to defrost from single digit temperatures this past
year week. In many ways, going out with a bang sure seemed to fit, I guess.
I sure worried about you a bunch this year. Sixth grade was a difficult transition for you and I was anxious that seventh would find you equally unsettled. Never in a million years would I have envisioned that you would find your footing in a year of so many physical changes, isolated from favorite friends, behind a mask, attempting new sports for the first time ALL in the middle of a pandemic. You challenged yourself with growth in ways my 12-yr-old self would never have been brave enough to do. Dad and I are just so stinkin' proud of you.
This year, your personal MVP left middle school and you forged on alone to figure it out. Hew to middle school sports, you were quick to discover (much to Mom's sadness) that your body type is absolutely perfect for football. It is just incredible the power that belonging can have on a person. For the first time in months, that angsty smirk taking residence on your face gave way to the dimpled smile I adore. Even if you were trying to hang on to that scowl on the field, you were terrible at it. Your bravery and joy helped me to learn to embrace my own in something new.
Dad and I know very little about raising a son through the teen years. Just like Molly, we are learning as we go. Our vocabulary is constantly adjusting, you remind me on the reg that I am quite basic, often a "Karen", mostly clueless, oldie from a completely different century. Everything about your parents is just so 1900s of us. Yet, when we pause and share with you that your words hurt our feelings, you immediately and genuinely apologize. This hormonal façade is diligently attempting to hide the mushy ball of gabey-baby love living inside. It really is unfortunate that your parents know you so well and see straight through to your core. Such a beautiful heart in there!
You are growing into such a good, young man, Gabriel May. You are kind to friends, loyal, funny, artistic, musical and tenderhearted. There is not a little kid in your life that doubts you hung the moon. You have such a gift for making people feel seen... even if it is to let them know that they are frustrating you. Lean into that gift, Son. It is such a special gift and so treasured by those in your inner circle.
One day, when the mirror of self doubt is put down, I am confident you will finally be able to see all the awesomeness that we see. Puberty is tough... especially when you aren't the fastest to grow. For now, I'll take the angst, the ridiculously loud gaming with friends, the big opinions, eating of all the snacks, your expertise on everything and a good deal of funky smells. It's all a part of the journey son, and where you are heading is nothing short of incredible. I am so grateful to be along for the ride.
Love you so, birthday boy.