To Canton As Your Turn 12

Dear Canton,

Happy Birthday Sunshine! 12 years ago you burst into our lives and now you begin the trek toward adulthood, it has been a joy each and every day.

As I write you a letter each year it is important to reflect on the milestones and growth you experience. This year has been like no other.  A few months ago you could easily rest your head on my shoulder and now I have to lift my chin for you to fit under it. You are only going to get bigger, but I hope I can always hold you close. You didn’t get a big birthday celebration for 11 and you won’t have one for 12. While a lot of the world has had to deal with anxiety, hardship, and tragedy we have been so lucky here within these walls. We have been together all day every day for over a year, while some of those days tend to blur together, many stand out, holidays, report card days, and when you create something magical like your self portrait or compose a song in band.  May you continue to grow, be flexible, find joy, be proud, and be present in each moment.

You have been a truly incredible brother. There are not many tween boys that would make sure to include their 5 and 7 year old sisters in daily life. You have looked out for them, made them laugh, helped them create, and just loved them, in a pandemic that is no small feat. You have taught them Minecraft, launched them on the trampoline, and perfected reading the Pigeon books. May you continue to be a role model and cherish your sisters.

You have learned to begin to understand the privilege you have, continue to use that for good. The world has changed a lot in these last few years and you have begun to understand how much you have and the obligation to make the world better. It is not always easy to do the right thing, but it is always the right thing. May you always have empathy and be a light in the world.

You have made straight A’s all year! Even though you have pretty much always done that to do that, doing it while completely changing school is a big freaking deal. You transitioned from a warm loving fifth grade teacher to learning from a screen in your room. In the third quarter you had all 100%! You have grown tremendously in writing and will be taking Algebra I as a seventh grader! I know you desperately miss theatre and live band but we have enjoyed watching you sing and dance each day. You have certainly thrived “Under Pressure”. I am in awe of how you handled the challenges of this past year. May you continue to have grace and a song in your heart.

One of my favorite parts of this year has been eating lunch together with the girls each day, something that would not have been possible any other time once you entered school.  Your schedule has changed a few times this year but lunch together always made each of us gather and reflect, and whenever you got out early and could join us for 1-2-3-4 it was a great day! I also love that we play Monopoly Deal together most days of the week, this time together is precious and I will never forget it. May you always put yourself and family first and treasure time together.

My firstborn, my only son, there is so much better inside me because of you. Your hugs heal me each day and your smile and laugh is the sunshine needed in the dreary moments. You are a gift. I am so thankful for you. As you continue your path leading more into the world please know I am always right behind you. I will always be here when you turn your light around back on us or fall or get lost along the way. I cannot wait to see what you do next!

Cheers to 12 years!


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