A Letter to my Son on his Eleventh Birthday

Dear Boo,

Yes, I know you think you are getting too old to be called “Boo”, but in my mind and in my heart you are my little man even though you can almost look at me eye to eye. When did YOU get so big?


I know this past year has been a tough one for you – so much frustration in the fall with a disruptive classmate and disrespectful teammate and then a move halfway through your last year of elementary school – that’s enough to beat anyone down. But what I love so much about you is, despite the bluster and denial, you step up to the plate and give your 100%.

Especially when it comes to a rack of ribs.


If you keep that up, you will go a long way in this world.  If you hang in there, you find yourself surrounded with as solid and fun group of friends as you had in preschool, and as you found when we moved to Wales and then again when we moved back to Illinois.

You are a kind and good and gentle boy, which makes you loved, and that can make you a target for boys who don’t have the same confidence or positive outlook. Wearing your heart on your sleeve (and your feelings right up front) as you do makes it tougher on you, and I hope that you can learn to hide those feelings just enough so the mean kids don’t focus on you and you can still radiate the goodness that is you.


I know the gift of  patience doesn’t run in our little family, but I ask you to be patient with yourself. (And with us, as we are still learning this parent thing, too.)

You have the sharpest wit (maybe too sharp, sometimes, when applied to your sister) and are not afraid to be goofy (and let us call you derpy) and you make me laugh every day.


You are a deep thinker, too, and I love that we can have real conversations. When went to see the film McFarland, USA, in watching previews you surprised me by being as interested in seeing Woman in Gold, a movie about a woman who fought to reclaim a piece of artwork stolen by the Nazis, as much as you are looking forward to seeing Disney’s Inside Out.  The conversations that we had after seeing the movie were both thoughtful and eye-opening –  because at some point, without my knowing it, you changed from a little boy and are becoming…well, not a man (despite the Axe body wash) but a fuller version of who you will become.

It filled me with awe.

It made me proud.

It made me a little sad, too. I can’t really call you my baby any more, can I?


Mmm. Yes, I think I still can.

Happy birthday, big guy. I’m happy for the person that you are becoming.

And that your hair has grown up along with you, too.

Love you.


  1. Reed Browning says

    This is a lovely, lovely letter.

  2. Happy Birthday Samuel Chase. Love you

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: