Posts tagged ‘Family’

Arriving to 11

To My Son on Your 11th Birthday,

Every morning when I drop you off at school I stay in the car and watch you in the rear view mirror, as if this will magically make you safer as you cross the street and on to the school grounds. After you have gone out of view I start the car and drive away, wondering what’s going to happen to you today and whether you will tell me anything about it. You’re at the age now where you’re not so interested in talking to me about the minutia of your day, and yet will notice if I don’t ask.

It is strange to realize you are eleven years old. When I began writing this essay I struggled to describe where you are right now. Every day you seem bigger, more self-assured, but also more distant. You are leaving the life of a little boy and are now on the precipice of that weird middle kid age. You are inching closer to your teenage years and I am not ready for that. You have always been my little helper, and seeing you become more independent, and your social circle becoming more dominant, is joyful, inevitable, and a little bit heartbreaking.

Your biggest priorities at the moment are hitting and catching a baseball, and winning yet another match on Fortnite. Acquiring pizza and candy will always be important but those two first items are the primary components of your life. Our summer together was dominated by baseball. You played another season of Little League and was even chosen for the All Star team. During your select team tournaments you performed extremely well while facing some very difficult opponents. You learned a lot about how intense kids can get on those base paths as some of the games featured collisions with a few overly aggressive players. Through all of that you remained a steady presence on the field, a solid performer at every position you were assigned. Your team lost more then they won but you still enjoyed playing the game, win or lose. You’ve made some great friends and it is an excellent social event for you.

With school the story remains the same: you are an intelligent, conscientious student who sometimes gets bored with the material. You always do what’s right and help your teachers and classmates whenever you can. You have added band class this year and now you’re playing the clarinet. I know this has taken hold for you because, without having to be asked, you will play for me the song you just learned. You’re even trying to figure out how to play some really important music like the theme to Star Wars.

When I can get you away from that bright flashing screen we have a wonderful time together. There are enough well-established traditions between us that the connection is easy to maintain. We still have our rituals such as going to the Scholastic Book Fair and having pizza together, attending baseball games and hockey games. Yet, the pull of your social circle is relentless and I know eventually you will want to run with that pack and have Dad pick you up later.

Even so, I feel proud of who you are and our connection. Your energy and enthusiasm, your silliness and sincerity remind me of how lucky we are to have this family. Despite your sister’s pestering, she is still your best friend and you love her far more than you will admit.

Today is the day that we celebrate you, my bright and handsome son, for you are 11 years old. It has been 11 years of joy and laughter and discovery. I am so very proud of all you have become.

Happy birthday to you, my Best Boy, my Duncan Philip.

November 21, 2022 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

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