Terrific Twelve

Dear Rerun,

You have made it to your twelfth birthday alive.  I consider this a major accomplishment on all our parts, considering the last two years that we have gone through.

When you think about it, these last two years can be measured by your birthdays.  Two years ago, your birthday dinner was one of the last “normal” events that we had.  School was on its “two week break,” and we had plans to celebrate your birthday at school the way we had the year before – with pizza and treats for lunch for the whole class.  Your teacher even commented that “we will celebrate Rerun’s birthday once we are back at school.”

Of course, that never happened.

Your birthday last year was marked by your beloved Ms. B and your case manager Ms. C stopping by our house with small presents, a “Happy Birthday” poster, and balloons.  You went back to hybrid school just a month later, but with only half the class there at a time, plus being there only two days a week, belated birthday parties were not on the agenda.

This year, you are in middle school, which means the era of pizza lunches for the class has passed.  And I’m kind of sad about that, because you loved it so much the one and only time that we did, and you asked if we could do it again.  It absolutely sucks that two birthdays of your life have gone by without getting the pomp and circumstance that we would have given you.

So we’re planning a kids’ party, but you have to share it with your brother (sorry, these things aren’t cheap) in a few weeks, and the family party will also be in a few weeks (when you request a cake from Auntie, buddy, you’re on HER schedule, not mine).  But today, you are twelve, and we will have dinner out tonight because we CAN.

I wish I could quantify what the last two years have done to you.  Academically, I think you’ve come out ahead of your siblings – all praise and thanks to Ms. B for that miracle – and your transition into 6th grade and middle school has been shockingly smooth.  First, you have really bonded with Ms. SC, your new one-on-one para.  Second, I’ve gotten a few phone calls from your teachers because Rerun, I am telling you, sending you to Tad’s former middle school was a gift for me.  Already having a working knowledge of the campus, the staff, and the classes has made this so much easier for the both of us.  And third, you are doing really well in class.  Your first semester report card was all A’s.  You are determined to plow through your work every day (mostly so you don’t bring home any homework), and I’ve talked with your math teacher, buddy.  It seems that you might need a challenge next year.  We shall see.

However, you are extremely Too Much Online (a side effect of the school giving you your own Chromebook), like to find the easy way out when it comes to putting in effort (if you aren’t being watched), and the early schedule that the middle school is on means that your evenings are a lot rougher (i.e. unmedicated) than they used to be.

And still, you are bright, curious, and hilarious.  You, we have discovered, possess a sense of humor not just for slapstick, but for the absurd.  Jokes that go straight over Tad’s head land squarely right in your brain and tickle your funny bone.  Showing you select Monty Python clips has been hilarious for both your Dad and me, because even if we have to explain something slightly more obscure to you, you don’t lose patience with it and you appreciate it.  Appreciation of the absurd can’t be taught, and you have that in spades.

Your brain is driven by one question: “how does it work?”  This applies to math, science, engineering, experiments – you want to know the hows and whys of very practical things.  I saw how you responded to the pre-tech elective class during first semester, and I think we know where you are headed.  At least, if you can stay focused and don’t get frustrated, and have teachers who are willing to answer questions and be flexible with you.

You also fight way too much with Thumper.  While some of that can be chalked up to normal behavior between brothers, DUDE.  He’s three years younger than you, and he struggles with verbal communication.  Fortunately, he doesn’t mind it too much if you’re bossy – unless it comes to video games.  (Could you please just let him have his own fun?)

Rerun, you are brilliant and exasperating.  I love you so very much.  I hope you never outgrow giving me a hug and kiss at bedtime.  I also hope that you are always willing to sit down with me for a cup of tea and a scone and some Instagram videos.

Happy 12th birthday, Pookie Bear.


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