I haven’t written to you, or about you, very much lately. That’s because you’re growing up. I know you’re only 11 today but it feels like you’re an adult sometimes.

And then it feels like you’re not.

You started middle school recently and it’s already changed you. In some ways, I can see the teenager breaking free, where you push us and want your freedom. But in a lot of ways this new chapter has also unleashed a maturity that is absolutely blowing me away.

We were fighting a lot this week; I have a huge deadline coming up and you’re trying to get used to your new school. Each day that I picked you up, we ended up in an argument. I made some random comment about how it felt like you’re ready to fight every time you get in the car.

Yesterday, you opened the car door, dumped your huge backpack and your huge binder on to the seat and stood hunched over in the pouring rain while looking me directly in the eye.

“How was your day?!”

It absolutely took my breath away.

The fact that you would stop to think to ask me how my day was just so that our afternoon would get off to a good start. The fact that you would remember what I had said you about us trying to get along better. The fact that you try so hard.

Damn, kid.

We’re both going to mess up a lot along the way. But that’s all I can ask.

That we keep trying.

Thank you for being my funny, sweet, smart, caring son. Thank you for everything that you bring to our family. I love you. Happy birthday.


This article has 13 comments

  1. sue at nobaddays

    Dear Declan. How are you SO big already? I’ve been reading your mom’s blog about seven years now, and it has been amazing to watch you grow. You are a remarkable kid, and you’ll be a remarkable man one day! Your parents are SO fortunate to have you. Happy birthday!

  2. zipper

    Such a nice post. Happy bday.

  3. Sunny Hunt

    Ugh! I’ve got something in my eye… Wow, that’s just beautiful. I hope he has a great birthday and your family has a great next year!

  4. Anonymous

    Happy Birthday Declan – I love you big time


  5. Julie Sutter

    Beautiful photo, beautiful post. Made me a cry a little; I’m not a mom but I sure have one and probably needed to ask her a little more often how her day was. Probably still do. Thanks for sharing. Yay for 11.

  6. Anonymous

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now. Ever since you traveled to Ireland – a place I’ve been and have always wanted to take my family. I have an 8 (almost 9) year old and I find myself relating so well to every story you tell about your son. I get a preview of what’s to come and a reassurance that we’re all just doing our best as moms. Thank you – you have a beautiful family!

  7. Aimee Giese

    Oh y’all – thanks so much!! xoxox

  8. J at www.jellyjules.com

    SO nice. You know what? I have found that, from when my daughter was a toddler (maybe even earlier), things just go better if we have a little time to connect. Things get crazy for her at school? Everyone is touchier. Things get crazy for me at work? Everyone is touchier. My husband is crazy at work? Everyone is touchier. Sadly, at least in our house, the answer has never been simple, like reading together before bed. It takes more time, like a Saturday afternoon or something. Then again, I guess that’s not sad, and spending time together on a Saturday afternoon is a good thing. Not always easy, but important in our house.

  9. monstergirlee

    I know I said this on twitter but I had to leave another comment here after reading your wonderful post, Happy Birthday Declan.
    The maturity that your (and my) boy are starting to display at this age is a little mind-blowing. Somehow all the repitition and reminding seems to be sinking in, and they just keep getting cooler and neater. Yeah, I said your son is neat. I’m a dork.
    (see you all soon friends!)

  10. Zakary

    Middle school is so hard, I keep trying to remind myself that Zoe is still just a kid.

    I hope he had a super Happy Birthday. xx

  11. William

    Very nice letter.

  12. Alexis Marlons

    Declan is so big now. Happy birthday sweetie.

  13. Ulla

    I came across your reievw as I’ve been scouring the internet for a good deal to order my son a few more. First, I’d like to point out that these need to be washed a minimum of a few times before using (organic cotton products don’t absorb very well until they’ve been washed a few times). I’ve been using these for a week and they work really really well for us. I opt to leave my son without pants on to make it much easier to get to the bathroom in time and not having to try and get pants off in addition to the trainer. Also, because these aren’t waterproof if he’s wearing pants then the compression from the pants will definitely cause his pants to get wet if he does have an accident. Without pants I can see if he wets the trainer but it’s not well contained and I avoid the accident getting on my carpet! He’s only had 3 accidents in the last 4 days which is pretty good. I bought these primarily for home use only I definitely would not recommend using these for going out (unless the little one rarely has an accident), nor would they be ideal for nap/night time (they’re not absorbent enough for that in addition to the waterproof issue). My little man is 38 pounds and the size large fits him a little big but he’s rather slender (his weight is mostly because he’s so tall) although I think the medium would have been a little too snug for him to pull up and down easily. Overall, I really like these trainers (we’re home a lot because I homeschool my two older children). They work well for our needs.

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