Twelve Years Old

Dear Tad,

Today you are TWELVE.  You are 12 years old on the 12th – this is your “golden birthday,” and you’ve already had so much birthday fun with your friends.  As frustrating as it was to try and get a hold of your school friends to try and invite them to your party yesterday, it was sincerely gratifying that you had built these friendships and wanted to share your birthday with these friends.  (Next year, we’ll plan ahead a little better and get contact information BEFORE school ends.)

You keep growing taller, and you really do look like a young man.  Until you slouch and give me a silly grin.  Then I know that inside, you’re still just a little kid, still trying to figure life out.

And you’re on the verge of some big changes.  You cried so hard at the end of the school year, when you had to leave your beloved elementary school and the teacher relationships that you’d built up for five years.  Even the promise of a school year with best friend Danny isn’t enough, when you are leaving everything you know behind.  When we drive past your new middle school, you sigh loudly.  “I miss my OLD school,” you say pointedly.  Every time.  I wish you could have had one more year there, but you are getting caught up in the tidal wave of grade changes.  I promise you that we will make the best of it, even if I’m nearly as stressed as you are with this jump to middle school.

Summer camp was really good for you, in that regard, because you walked in knowing no one – except your brother, and you weren’t together – and you left five weeks later with tears in your eyes, saying good-bye to the counselors who had been coaches, cheerleaders, instructors, and buddies – the same counselors who voted you “most likely to become a shark expert.”  I know you will do the same with middle school, if everything that we’ve been promised in your IEP comes to pass, and you get a schedule that doesn’t stress you out too much.

But even with things changing, many things will stay the same.  You will get to start art class again soon.  You still have swimming lessons.  You still have a lot of work to do in speech and ABA.

And I know that as you go forward, you will continue to just be yourself, charming all who meet you along the way, with your vast and arcane knowledge of sharks and your passion for all things Batman.  You’re growing so fast, and yet there are some things that are just unchangeable about you.  And I love you dearly for that.

Happy 12th birthday, Tad!


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