My Dearest Tanner,
It was last October. Your teacher and you had clashed from the very beginning of the school year and you had come home with your third in-class write up which meant you had to meet with the principal. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still had to make sure you learned the lesson – that correcting your teacher in front of the class was never a good idea, that talking too much will always get you in trouble and that just because we don’t believe it’s a bad word, saying ‘crap’ in your teacher’s classroom is against the rules.
But my insides ached for how upset you were. And in my world, none of the above constituted a meeting with the principal. So I called a meeting with the principal. #JustCallMeBeverlyGoldberg
As we drove to the school the next morning I could tell you were nervous. And you held my hand. And I told you that no matter what I had your back. That I would always go to bat for you. And I did. And we got through it.
Weeks went by and the topic of conversation every day when you got home was if things were getting better in class. Dad and I held you accountable and called you on your
crap mistakes because we know your personality and you definitely love an audience, but there were definitely instances where your teacher seemed to have it out for you unfortunately. I asked you over and over if you wanted me to go in and request a new teacher. One that you might click with better and who might understand you better. And your answer was always, “No. I can handle this. I can get through it”. And I beamed with pride. And I said I trusted you. And I told you that there was no turning back – if you were going to deal with it, it had to be for the rest of the year.
That was last Fall.
Two weeks ago Dad and I smiled as we watched you walk up on stage at the assembly and accept the Student of the Month award that your teacher nominated you for. It was big. Really big. Because of the struggle you have had to go through and the improvement you have had to make and towing the line even when you didn’t understand why. You are a better person for it. And we know that this has been the biggest lesson for you. And you have grown tremendously from it. And we are in awe.
Tanner, you have a strength that is so apparent. You drip with confidence and you have a personality that is bursting at the seams. And you exhaust me daily in the best and worst ways – your passion, your energy, your combativeness, your negativity, your positivity, your humor, your spirit – all of it. You feel things at the most intense level. And you are one of the most headstrong people I know which leads me to believe you and I will never stop going head to head, but no matter what. No matter what
crap mess you get into, know that I will always hold your hand. And I will always have your back. And I will always go to bat for you.
Today you turn nine. And it seems like yesterday I was in labor with you at only 21 years old. And I’m sure there are people that would say how scared they were, how they didn’t know if they were ready to be a parent, but I didn’t have those feelings. The minute you came out – pouty lip, curled toes and oh, those ears – you completed a piece of me that I needed. That I was craving. That I didn’t know how badly I was craving until you made us a family and I experienced what life was like as a mother. Thank you, Tanner, for making me a mother.
And I will continue to sing at the top of my lungs in the car with you, and replace table lamps when you break them (seriously Tanner, two in three months?! No balls in the house!), and I will continue to recite movie lines with you, and make fun of Dad with you, and stay up late on the weekends with you, and watch Jimmy Fallon with you, and celebrate each and every accomplishment with you and continue to do life with you because it has been the sweetest ride. A bittersweet ride to be honest. The older you get the more I feel the pull, but watching you become the young man that you are has been thrilling. Thank you for letting me watch.
Happy Birthday, Tanner.
With every part of me and more,
(Unfortunately, past birthday letters have been lost from the blog crash a few years back and have not yet been re-published, but here is a look back at Tanner’s eighth birthday and Tanner’s sixth birthday portraits)