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Sixteen Years Old

Dear Tad,

Today you are sixteen years old.  SIXTEEN.  I am not prepared for this.

And yet, you are taller than I am, you are shaving (though you don’t have a lot to shave and often miss spots), and your voice continues to crack and get deeper.  Oh, and I am flinging deoderant and acne patches at you.  You are definitely physically sixteen years old.

Emotionally, though… we are hitting that strange stage between childhood and adulthood, and you have precisely zero interest in being an adult.  This is a strange situation to be in, because your sister was passing her driving test just before her 16th birthday.  You drove a go-kart a couple weekends ago.  You enjoyed it, but it in no way motivated you to consider that you might be missing anything.

And you know what?  That’s okay.

You have spent the last three weeks at teen day camp, which your therapist, Queen Bling H herself, designed specifically because she knew that you needed something to do this summer.  You have been happier about camp than I have seen you in a long, long time.  You were beyond excited to be given the special gift of three extra days at camp (mostly because you missed it so much), and you got to have the “BEST DAY EVER” at the Funko Pop HQ store.

I wonder why it was the best day ever.

This year has been an epic struggle for you in so many ways, and yet you have come out of this online school year with the healthiest social life of all of us.  Between youth group, social group, bowling group, Young Life, and now camp, you have friends that you hang out with, go to parties with, and just have fun with.

And so, today you are sixteen years old.  We’re still not back to normal, and now you know it and are not happy about it.  I have no idea what this school year will look like, except to say that at least you will be in the building on the first day. (Fingers crossed and prayers up.)

In some ways, you are very sixteen.  You want to argue about rules and requirements.  You want to be allowed to do what YOU want to do.  You are deeply annoyed by your little brothers and pick fights with your sister.  And then you turn around and remind me, quite profoundly, that you have no intention of ever leaving home, because why would you ever want to do that, when you are happiest here?

So I will let you be happy here.  I love you so much, Tad.

Happy 16th birthday!

Love,
Mom

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