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My dear Christopher,

You are now 13. You are noticeably taller than myself and you act surprised every time you notice it. Your voice is lower than it was last year. I wonder how much deeper it will get. I wonder a lot of things about you.

But mostly I know you are amazing.

I have watched you over this past year. You have handled the pain and trial with strength. You have struggled to find who you are in this family as the oldest male in the house. You have been my greatest asset in overcoming the obstacles I couldn’t see past. When my heart had been broken you made sure the kids were fed and had their naps. I didn’t even know what time it was. You shared your broken heart with mine. The life that we knew had crumbled and we were all left to pick up the pieces. You were amazing!

You heard God speaking to your heart in your brokenness. I held you as you said through your tears, “I think God wants me to minister to young boys whose fathers have left them.” I don’t doubt that. God takes our trials & brokenness then redeems it for His purpose. He brings goodness out of something that seemed so bad.

You have grown so much. I think the thing I appreciate the most about you is your honesty. When I ask a question like, “How can I improve in my relationship with you guys?” You tell me exactly how I can do that. You don’t seem to hold anything back. I may look sad when you say such things, but it is because I know it is true, but I respect you so much for your honesty.

One day I was having a tough time. You grabbed me in the hallway, wrapped your arms around me, and prayed for me. That was a wise, loving, and manly thing to do. Thank you. Thank you for being quick to pray for me.

Thank you for your kisses, hugs, cuddles, and pleas to be with me. I know I seem put off by it sometimes, but I realize what a gift it is to have a big boy that isn’t afraid to kiss his mama in front of his friends.

Oh hey, here’s another thing I’m proud of you for. You get up 3 times a week for your job. You’ve never complained. Even when you made your way through several inches of snow only to never have the bus arrive. You waited for 20 minutes and I’m sure you weren’t dressed warm enough. You are not a money waster. You are generous with what you have. I love that about you. I love that you gave me money so your little brother & sisters could give you a gift, but let’s not tell them about that.

I love that you listen to Dave Ramsey and are on board with us getting out of debt.

I love that you have embraced art. Your drawings are amazing!

I love that you have been faithful in ballet for 7 years now. SEVEN years! Wow.

I love that you can talk to me about the girl you like and that you let me tease you about it. I like that you know there’s nothing you can do about it so you just go on being friends.

I love that you are friendly, outgoing, and not afraid to talk to strangers. You make friends quickly. Quicker than I am able to.

You are 13. You are at an age that none of us want to revisit so enjoy it. Be wise with your time as a 13 year old. You will, no doubt, do foolish things. Be quick to recognize when you do them and wise enough to not do them again. Choose your friends wisely. Do hard things. Don’t follow the path of least resistance. That means to not follow whatever seems the easiest. The easiest isn’t always the best. Make choices that will benefit you later down on the line even if it makes things harder now. Work hard. Talk to Jesus. Seek him. Ask Him about all the things that hurt in your heart. Draw near to him. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I love love love you. I love you forever, I love you for always, as long as I’m living, your mommy I’ll be. I love you to the moon and back.

And please, for the love of our neighbors, could you mow the lawn soon?

Love,

Your mama

p.s. I posted this on my blog with a picture of you. I didn’t edit out that little booger in your nose. Sorry.

p.p.s. You probably know that already since I probably didn’t have time to write it in your journal first. Probably because I can’t remember where it is and my room is so very messy.

one more thing: you probably shouldn’t use the word “probably” so often in such a short amount of time.

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