Dear Jackson: 14 Years (Whaaat?!?!)

Dear Jackson,

Today, we honor and celebrate you on your 14th birthday. I’ve been practicing saying that number for the last several weeks, and it still hasn’t gotten any easier.  Fourteen. 14. FOURTEEEEEEEEEEN.  My baby is fourteen years old, and you must know – it’s kind of freaking me the freak out. You are well on your way to becoming a man, and as all of the mommas around the globe can attest, that’s never easy for us to handle.

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It’s been a good long while since my kisses fixed bobo’s; I haven’t rocked you to sleep in ages; and heck – you can even stay home by yourself without burning down the house (so far, anyway – thanks for that). But – I know you still need me, and that softens the blow a little. Obviously, you’re unemployed, so you need me for food and clothing – but when I say you need me, I mean it for much more than that. There are still a few years left of training you for this life. Teaching and raising a teenager is new to me, and I’m still learning – and since you’re the first, you kind of serve as the guinea pig on how I do it. I know that’s not fair, but it’s the trade off of getting to be the oldest child, and there’s great honor in that. What I want to say is this – when the times come that we’re butting heads or disagreeing on your outfit choice, please remember that deep down inside I’m just struggling with letting you go. The day that I no longer get a say in what you do and what choices you make is right around the corner, so every time I challenge you, it’s because I desperately just want you to enter into this big, scary world as wise and prepared as possible. And for every time that I let my emotions get the best of me in this process – please forgive me. It’s because I love you tremendously.

I want you to know, Jackson – I’m so incredibly proud of you. You have risen to many a challenge and come out victorious. There are not many kids your age who could withstand being present at the birth of their baby sister. You were not only there, but you participated. You took care of your little brother when things started to get intense – helping to calm and reassure him that momma was okay. You held my hand and stroked my hair throughout the most painful of contractions. And you stood there – a proud, big brother when your sister entered into the world (a moment where Mom was far from calm and collected), and YOU, Jackson were the first to hold that precious young life. You are here with her and I during the day while you homeschool and you are not just my student – you are my helper. You tend to her needs when I need to focus on something else and you help out around the house. Taking care of a family of 7 is not an easy task, but your help makes it that much easier, and I am so thankful for your contribution to this family.

You’re turning into a fantastic young man. Full of talent, constantly feeding your thirst for knowledge, your imaginative head always in a book. I love that about you. I love that you fuel your passion for music and literature and history. Don’t ever stop questioning how the world works and what makes it so amazing. I truly cannot wait to see what wonderful plans God has for your life. It’s going to be big, I can promise you that much. And me? Well, you’ll always find me on the front row, cheering you on – and no matter what age you are, I’ll probably still be trying to pick out your outfits, so get used to it.  😉

I love you,

Momma

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