Monday, June 13, 2016

Mothering Monday: To My 16-year Old Son

It's been awhile since I have written updates about my children. They are changing so fast that I need to take a snapshot of their lives.

To my 16-year old son,

This has been a big year for you. I can hardly catch my breath as you make big changes in your life. In two years, you'll be graduating from high school and moving on with your life. When I look at you, I still see your chubby baby face.

In fact, I kind of see all your ages in your face. There was a time when you were obsessed with Bioncles and you played games on PBS kids. Do you remember how you chewed pencils and paper and it drove your teacher crazy? There was a time when we realized you didn't recognize your hunger, thirst, and sleep signals and we had to teach you how to recognize and respond. You are the one child who has the strongest memories of living in Sweden, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. I know it was hard on you to move and experience such dramatic change in your life. I know it has made you reserved and shy-- you have never been the kid with a million friends and you probably never will be. You are also the kid who has had to deal with the majority of our parenting mistakes as your dad and I fumble our way into parenthood. Sometimes you are a great big brother and other times, not so much.

As I see you grow and develop, I am proud of you, the decisions you make, and the direction you are headed. The things I want to remember about you from this school year are:

  •  You started to learn how to drive. A month after your birthday, you took your written driver's test and got your permit. You started Drivers Ed in January and have been steadily going to classes and practice driving. You are pretty calm, even when your dad and I aren't. In July, you will take the driving test and if you pass, you will have a car and be on your way to independence. You like to drive as often as possible, even though you first told me you really disliked driving. 

  • You started your first year of the Science Research Program. It is an intense program. In one week last summer, you read 10 academic research papers and reported on them--all so you could relax during your summer. You have focused on this program with an intensity and enthusiasm that thrills me. Seeing you doing something that you clearly love and have a real talent for is the most exciting thing for me. You found a mentor and you have already started your research. You LOVE to code and you are largely self-taught. In preparation for your competition, you spent hours on your poster and presentation. After some feedback, you redid the entire poster, just so that it would be right. Your hard work paid off and you placed 3rd at your first competition. I cannot wait to see how you do your Junior year. 

  • On your own initiative, you decided to improve your cursive handwriting. You asked for a workbook and then spent a few minutes everyday practicing. Now, your handwriting is legible and even looks nice! You also put in a lot of prep time for your AP, Regents, and SAT exams. This meant taking practice tests, using apps, and going to review sessions with teachers. I didn't push you to do any of that. You recognized that you had to prepare and you took the necessary steps to do well. At this point, I don't even care about your scores because you put so much effort into the preparation.

  • You have also faced some challenges with your health. For most of the year, you have dealt with constant headaches. Your pediatrician calls them Chronic Childhood headaches. We've ruled out a tumor, thank goodness. It has been a journey of trial and error trying to find medication that works. Truthfully, I don't know how you have managed to function so well, considering. You do get grumpy and I need to be more patient with you. Sometimes it messes with your sleep. It certainly did a number of your performance during the Cross-country season. I really hope we can figure out the right treatment so you can have a more normal existence.

  • You talk to me, a lot. I really appreciate that. You share some of the challenges you experience at school and your feelings about the sometimes less than ideal environment in High school. I know I can talk to you and you listen.

  • You are pretty great to your youngest sister. Sometimes I get a big chuckle when I see you watching  a baby show with her or when you read her a story.

  • You love playing games online, on your DS, on your phone, etc. But then, you have always loved playing games. 
  • You have a cat that you adore. You take great care of her and she responds to you with as much affection as a cat can show.

As you look to your future, just remember that your Dad and I are watching over you. We love you and really want the best for you.



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