My dearest Tanner…
It was the last night we were on the road to Nashville. We arrived in Memphis at 2:00 AM, exhausted, and trying to find a hotel. The one I had in mind was showing as booked by the time we arrived in the city. After circling for some time, we parked in the empty parking lot next to that booked hotel so your father and I could discuss options. I was so tired. And we had all five of you – exhausted and all hoping to lay down to go to bed soon.
We had traveled almost 1600 miles at that point. With you and your siblings along with the UHaul hooked to my car, chasing, and running from storms and tornado warnings the entire way from Arizona, I was emotionally and mentally exhausted and so was your father. I was ready to make everyone sleep right where they sat. Right there in the car. Just for a few hours.
Your dad and I stood outside of our cars looking up other hotels, making calls, no luck. Everyone was booked. As your father and I grew short with each other and the situation, I looked over, and through the window, I could see your head bowed and arms folded in prayer. My heart swelled at the sight. And I was immediately reminded of where my focus should have been.
We took a few steps over to the open door of the car as you finished. You looked at me and said, “Mom I think you should just go in and ask them if they have a room. I know online they say they are booked, but just give it a try.”
I took a deep breath and agreed. Arriving at the front desk I asked if they had any rooms. The concierge turned to his computer, a few moments of scrolling, and responded with, “We actually have one room left”. I could barely get through checking in and paying for the room. By the time I walked through the double doors back to the parking lot towards you all tears were streaming down my face. The comforting spirit I felt in that moment was overwhelming. And it was because of your example, Tanner. Your testimony.
I’m sure if I were to comment on how much you have grown over the past year, I would risk sounding redundant. Every year there is growth, but is it possible for someone to grow as much as you have in yet another year? Yes, physically. Absolutely. You stand taller than me now, your hands are bigger than your dad’s, you own the largest shoes in the house, and you have a manly strength that seemed to come from nowhere. No one prepares you for watching your baby boy turn into a man, but you are doing it right before my very eyes.
However, there is even bigger growth that has happened than meets the eye. And it has everything to do with the kind of person you are, Tanner. From your self-discipline to your spiritual maturity. You seem to do it all with ease. And it is a gift. It will be one of the things that will serve you so well throughout your life. Never stop strengthening those abilities.
You are so loved. Beyond measure. Thank you for the example you are to me and our family daily. You are one of my greatest accomplishments and I will never know what I did to deserve the honor of being your mother.
Happy birthday, my sweet Tanner.
With all of me and more,
(Take a look back at Tanner’s 13th birthday, 12th birthday, 11th birthday, 10th birthday, 9th birthday and 8th birthday)
birthday letter, motherhood