My dearest Tanner,
Today came and went more quickly than I would have liked. But then again, so have the last twelve years.
It’s kind of a big year, you know? Turning twelve means the start of junior high this next school year. It means your last year before the official teenage stage. And you are moving from primary to the young mens program at church. You will receive the priesthood and I will watch you every Sunday from our pew as you pass the Sacrament in your white shirt and tie.
I am having a hard time getting a grip on it all. This past year I have felt a pull. Nothing that you would ever intentionally create, but I have seen a change in you. I have seen you take on responsibilities that I am in awe of. And naturally, you have wanted to prove yourself in handling things on your own.
I will never forget when you rode down to the neighborhood store on your own the other day to pick up formula for Brooks when we discovered that we had no more and Dad was gone for the day. Your eyes lit up when you knew that I had no other option than to send you because of the fact that Blair and Owen were sick with the stomach flu and I was tending to them. I will never forget how you declined my debit card and told me you would take your wallet and use your own cash because “it will just be easier” when really, I knew it was because you were nervous to fuss with it at checkout. I will never forget when you got back home and told me about talking with the cashier and being shocked at how much the total was because you forgot to look at the price tag – you said that’s something you don’t have to do when I am with you. I will never forget how your face beamed with pride when I opened the front door and you were standing there, formula in hand because the shopping bag broke during your ride home. And I will never forget how you picked up your own treat to enjoy when you got back.
What you will never know is that pull is the most bittersweet thing I have yet to experience as your mother. You are my first, the one who made me a mom, and you and I will have all of the firsts together at the same time. So while you had your first adventure completely alone and independent, I had my first. For that 25 minutes, I worried. Hoping that you looked both ways when crossing the road, that you would ride carefully, that you would remember your manners when at the store and talking with the cashier and that you would get back to me safe and sound, that no harm would come to you. And I know this is just the start of it. Because that pull and space between us will and is meant to grow. Just like you are meant to.
Tanner, you are growing into one of the finest young men and you are the exact picture of the son I always knew I wanted. Your ability to push my buttons is unlike any other, but the speed that you have me from mad to laughing is one of your greatest talents. The bond you have with your youngest brother brings me to tears and having another man around the house who does things for me is a perk that I never saw coming. And thank you for always taking out the trash when your father is gone because I really hate doing it.
Please remember to be patient with me. This parenting thing is hard and I long for the days when you fit on my chest and I still rocked you to sleep. Show up for your brothers and sisters and remember to have patience with them – like it or not, you are the oldest, a natural leader and they adore you no matter what you may think on the bad days. Remember your manners and be humble. And never stop kissing me on the cheek every time you leave me. Because it makes me feel needed and that is the one thing that a mother needs to keep going.
Happy Birthday, Tanner.
With every part of me and more,