A Letter to My Son on his 14th Birthday

Another birthday has come and nearly passed, and I bet you thought I’d forget your letter for your 14th birthday  – not because I didn’t remember, but because I’m so ridiculously disorganized this year that I’d not squeeze it into the day.

(You would very nearly be correct. But here it is.)

You have changed so very much, in so many ways. I look UP to you, now that you’re seven inches taller than me (and you can stop gloating, because it doesn’t surprise me.) I also look up to you in how you so handle things so much more…steadily, and without anxiety; now, you just knuckle in and get the things done, and we don’t even realize it until after the fact.

I respect how you shoot straight with me (“Mom, the test I took today might not be the result I was hoping for” – congrats on that 100, by the way) and how you can remain unruffled when you exasperate me, providing a logical response instead of a defense (like when I found Christmas cards for your SIXTH grade teachers in a binder this past November – your response was “well, I helped you with your teacher gift list this year.”)

14th birthday

I admire your focus and your dedication to your passions. (Ok, I really just mean soccer, which you live and breathe.) You put in the extra trainings, you work through your injuries (ice, soak, stretch, repeat), and you get itchy when you are too long away from a soccer ball. You may not know what you want to be when you “grow up” (and that is totally fine with Dad and I because we are in no rush for you to grow up) but you know who you are and what you love.

It is fascinating to watch how your mind works – it is complicated, and deep, and we can hold honest discussions about politics and people and the world…and then you break into a silly accent or a typical teen pose and remind me that you’re still my kiddo.


Gone are the days of the mismatched outfits, where “but it’s an Adidas shirt and Adidas shorts, so it matches” and looking like a homeless child with a bad buzz cut. Now you spend more on hair product than I do (and probably as much time getting it just so) and are particular about what you wear and how your hair looks. (And yes, you really CAN go three weeks between haircuts.) Heaven help us, you are a teen.

And I think it’s pretty freaking amazing.

14th birthday

It’s likely your little sister embarrassed you at school with another public hug, and probably shouted happy birthday, but she loves you so work on being as kind to her as you are to others.  And yes, I’m still going to ask for my own hugs, and no, the one-armed bro hug does not fly with mom.

Mostly because I know you have it in you – you gave me a proper, sincere two-armed hug when I bought you that pair of cleats you thought Dad would say no too. The clerk even called you out on how genuine it was, and you responded “shoes are my love language.”

Kid, you make me laugh every day. Your sarcasm gets sharper every year and we love you for it. You drive us crazy, but you’ve turned out all right, and I can’t wait to see what this next year has in store for you.

Just – try not to give me any more grey hairs, or covering them will cut into your pomade addition.

Happy 14th birthday, bud. We love you.

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