To Blake On Your 13th Birthday


We have several birthday traditions in our family. There’s the birthday balloon in your room when you wake up (note: thankfully I have a teen so I can run to Harris Teeter tomorrow morning). And, since I started writing this blog, each child gets a birthday letter.

Dear Blake,

That 18-month old in the photo may look different than you do now at a strapping 5 foot 4 inches… but you’re still the same in so many ways. I remember this day so well. We were at the park and I was pushing you in the swing. I said to you, as parents often say to toddlers without really expecting an answer, “What are you thinking about in that swing?” And you replied, without hesitation, “Crackers.”

You were always the talker. It made your toddler and preschool years easier because you could always let us know what you were thinking. The talking also made you incredibly persistent, because you assumed once you told me what you wanted, you should have exactly that. As you grew older, your talking turned into some pretty funny one liners They were usually at bedtime and always with this intro:  “Mommy, I want to tell you something.”

So here is a compilation of your observances during your first year of preschool, a decade ago, when you were 3.

“When I was a baby, God rang your doorbell and said, ‘Here is your baby.’ And you said, ‘Thanks God. I think I’ll name him Blake Randle.’ ”

“Mommy, I’m going to marry you whenever Daddy is on a business trip so you won’t be lonely.”

“I don’t know why Santa goes down the chimney. I’m m never going down any chimney, not even when I’m a grown up.”

“I had a good day at school today. I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“I was going to marry Aubrianne today, but Lydia brought in cupcakes so I’m going to marry her instead.”

“They keep telling us at school to make Christmas decorations and I tell my teacher, ‘We have enough at home, we don’t need anymore.’ But she keeps telling me to make them anyway and I don’t know why.”

And my very favorite, “I’m going to kiss you on your heart, so I will always be there.”

Blake, I want to tell you something. You are always in my heart. You share that space with your sisters and your dad, and I remain so grateful that you are still the talker. I love hearing about your day, your adventures, your hopes, dreams and even disappointments. Our conversations are everything to me. As you enter your teen years, I know you may not share everything, but I do hope you keep sharing and I promise keep listening. I love you more each year, if that’s even possible.

Always remember how much you are loved. By Daddy, Leah, me and Brooke.

Because Brooke is so very proud of her brother and her best friend. I’m certain of that. Now please sleep in as late as possible tomorrow so I can run out and get that birthday balloon.

Love, Mom