This truly is a success story of a kid that went to hell and back and lives today a better person because of it.
At the age of 14.
See, we talk now. And laugh off how insanely hard those couple of years were.
His laughter...I actually can remember VIVIDLY the first time I actually heard him laugh again after such a loooong time. It was in Fifth grade, his dad was home about a year and half from the deployment, and we had decided we were going to stay for the long haul in the middle of nowhere. Life became safe again to him, and I heard him laugh from the other room.
I stopped dead in my tracks, got thoroughly confused as to who's laughter I was hearing. Then I smiled and cried...but for completely different reasons than the ones I had cried for the last few years.
And well now? As an 8th Grader. And after moving across the country to the midwest...It's insane that we ever went through that. Who he is now, is who I remember before all of that. That silly happy little kid, that...well...the kid I felt I lost for a few years.
So with that long introduction (and with tears and snot dripping down my face)...here's my right now for you:
*You are doing great in school. This is the year I got the call from a teacher saying "Your kid just came up to me and said 'I think I got it.'" Yeah, kid I think you do. You've got all A's and B's
*You are in band and play the trumpet.
*You LOVE playing the trumpet... you just taught yourself how to play Greenday's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
*Have I mentioned you love playing the trumpet? You play "Taps" for us every night around 9 pm. (your siblings think it's kind of annoying...secretly your dad and I think its hilarious)
*You have a few really GREAT friends. THIS alone makes me cry. To watch you with friends, is wonderful.
*You really love to do art as well, you draw really well.
*You love little kids (this is something I've known since you were a little kid) Now it's very apparent that you have an extra sense of patience with little toddlers. You are great with little kids.
*You are very aware of when others are being left out or bullied, you go out of your way to make sure they feel included.
*There have been instances where I'm just floored with your maturity of a matter at hand. Perfect example would be when someone accused you of making fun of them, we talked about it, figured out the individual just didn't want to be there so he picked you as the scapegoat so he could leave. We decided together as a family that you would go to this person's home and apologize for any misunderstanding or any impression that you might have given off that would have come across as making fun. This individual said you hadn't, (much to the caretakers amazement that he lied), and you then invited him again to come back if he wanted to because it was great to see him there. I don't know too many adults that can or would do that.
*You don't care for chocolate. This I don't understand but tolerate.
*You love music. Anything from instrumental, to modern day you appreciate it and like to pick out the parts of each musical instrument. Imagine Dragons are one of your fav bands.
*You are a great baby sitter.
*You are finding Spirituality all on your own. You ponder and study scriptures, say prayers, and help out with family home evening. You have just been released from being Deacon's Quorum President. (a responsibility in our church held by a boy of the age 12-13) You have grown much in the last two years.
*You stand up for yourself now. Last year a kid started picking on you, I got the phone call saying you had fought back. I told them I was proud that you had stood up for yourself, then we figured out how to make it so this individual wouldn't bother you anymore...we have a wonderful school system here...oh and btw you told me you are kind to that kid now when you see him in the halls.
*You tell me often you love me. As a matter of fact you tell all of us you love us often. It's always heartwarming when you tell me and your dad...but when I hear you from another room tell your siblings randomly it makes me feel like I haven't failed as a mother.
*You have a great sense of humor.
*You laugh ALL.THE.TIME now.
*Your teachers and counselor at school have also seen a ton of personal growth in the last two and half years. (so it's not just me being your mom saying all this crap)
*I couldn't be prouder to be your mom.
Don't get me wrong you're still a snot nosed teenager at times with normal teen mood swings and short fuses...but we don't care, we Love you and are so lucky to know you and know where you came back from.
Happy Birthday kiddo.
ps: I know there's a lot of people who have rooted for you in the past that are very happy to see how well you've adjusted to life and who you have shaped out to be.