Exuberant Eleven

Dear Rerun,

I can hardly believe it, but you are eleven years old today.  Since the school shutdown began last year just before your birthday, this entire last year has been consumed by what you weren’t able to do.  It’s been a tough year for all of us, but especially you.

First of all, we owe your beloved Ms. B so very much.  Without her, I honestly don’t know how this last year would have gone.  She has been a consistent adult presence in your life, and the couple of times that we have been able to see her in person has meant so much to you.  She’s helped keep me sane as well, because I know that there is no way I could have kept up with your homework on top of what your brothers were doing.

Second, I worry about what a year at home has done to your personality.  I really felt that we had a breakthrough moment right after summer camp last year, when you were so sad about it coming to an end.  It was if we were right on the verge of making a social leap forward… and then school stayed remote, and you have had no chance to make any friends through a Zoom grid.  It was a lost opportunity, and now you are saying things like “I never want to go back to school.”  Not negotiable, son.  You need to work on getting along with your peers.  I’ll give you a pass on getting along with your siblings, but you really do need to gain back the social skills you have lost.

Third, you are on YouTube way too much – yet another side effect of online school.  Fortunately, your interests are rather harmless and annoying, but you’ve become as bad as your brother when you’re trying to play games instead of paying attention.  Good thing Ms. B can turn tabs off remotely on you.

Finally, my sweet big boy, I really wish this last year could have been different for you.  I read last year’s letter and we just had no idea what was coming our way.  You have been a real trooper in this past year – plus you learned some important skills, like how to ride your bike.  In this coming year, I want you to learn skills like making and keeping friends.  I am hoping to find a way to make that happen, and soon.

I love you dearly, Rerun.  You are too smart for your own good, too sassy to escape punishment at the hands of your older siblings, too bossy with Thumper, too clever to make me believe that you’re too stupid to learn, and you love very hard.  You never do anything by halves, kid.  Everything is black and white to you, and this year has been tough because of your perceptions.  But we love you oh, so very much.

Happy 11th birthday to my own personal “evil genius” who still likes a good cup of tea and a funny dog video.

Please keep giving me hugs every night.  I love you more than you can understand.


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