Well, I did not have any clue when I wrote your last birthday letter that I would be here once again writing to you in the midst of pandemic restrictions. You've been a trooper this last year. You've always been sensitive to change, and you knew that I was not dealing well with all that was happening. I'm sorry for the ways that I've made the last year even more difficult for you. You have made me feel loved and cared for, which is such a big part of who you are. You vacuumed, made me cakes, and wrote me sweet notes. I'm sorry that so much of this last year was about me. But it has never really worked for me to try to hide things from you, so instead I did my best to show you what it looks like to wade through uncertainty, to trust God when you feel like the world is falling apart. I hope that will be what you remember: not a mom who crumbled when things got hard, but rather that you can always trust that no matter what happens God is in control. It will never work if your faith is based on how well I live out mine. I have always encouraged you: Your faith must be based on Christ alone, and your relationship with Him cannot be guided by what anyone else, even your own mother, does or does not do.
And I see you taking that to heart. You are wrestling with difficult topics, always so observant of those around you. I love that you still ask so many questions. You catch me off guard, and make me think. I try not to give you pat answers, often, by asking my own questions you find that you knew the answer already, grounded in what Scripture says. You are having tough discussions with others, too. It shocks me to overhear the mature conversations you have with your friends, over video games! And your favorite class at co-op has been literature where you have waded through weighty books and subjects, like racism and communism. I must admit: I'm very pleased that you have taken to literature. A boy after my own heart.
Yet, you are like your dad, too. You look for ways to serve others, and I am constantly complimented on how eagerly your help with your friends' younger siblings. You do love a baby and you are tickled that Kelly's baby is a boy. You are already planning all the fun things you can do with him and teach him because, "Mom, 13 years isn't really that big of a difference." It makes me melt, for sure!
As always, I am looking forward to watching your growth in the coming year. You are still helping with children's church on Sunday mornings, and you transitioned to helping in Awana on Wednesday nights now that you are on to Trek. I was impressed with how easily you made friends in your new club, but I supposed I shouldn't have been. You have always been well-liked, and in many ways you are a leader in your guy gangs, both at co-op and Awana. You have so many friends, I sometimes lose track!
I want you to know that I am so proud of you, you are already doing amazing things. I am so grateful I have the privilege of watching you. Thanks for loving me so well. I pray that I do the same for you.
(aka Larapea, your latest of many nicknames for me. I will never get tired of that.)