Today you are 11 years old. I woke you up at 6 am for lacrosse practice with a kiss and a bunch of balloons. You opened your eyes and said, "Mom." The most beautiful word in all the world. I laid down next to you for just a moment and put my arms around you. And I couldn't help it, the tears came. Because I remember another December morning, before the sunrise, eleven years ago when I held you in my arms. It was just you and me in those moments before dawn, just as it was on the day you were born.
I know I tell you all the time, but I love you so much. I am so proud of you. You continue to excel in school. I can't believe you are in fifth grade. You have such a nice group of kids in your grade and have loved every minute of your experiences at Jacksonville. But change is on the horizon. We have spent the fall applying, visiting, interviewing and shadowing at middle schools. You have handled this process with your usual maturity and incredible insight. And although the future is still unknown until the acceptance letters come in February, you know where you want to be and I am confident that the school wants you too. What school wouldn't want you? You are bright, creative, diligent, friendly, kind and a good friend. I am so excited for you and this next chapter of your life. I know at times it isn't going to be easy, but I will be right here if you need me.
You continue to try new things like computer game programming, yearbook club, and robotics club. This year you played soccer, basketball, tennis, lacrosse, swam on swim team, and ran cross country. I love watching you play sports, always a team player, helping a teammate up when he falls and giving a pat on the back when a goal is scored. But it was running cross country, where I saw you shine. The Mighty Milers allowed you to find your stride, literally. And I was so happy to be on the journey with you. I was able to run some trail runs and 5K's along side of you. Well, that is how the season started. By the end of the season, I was following behind you. Watching you run with a new-found confidence that made me so happy. And we both got a little teary that day when your name was announced as first place in your age group after a 5K. I hope my body allows me to keep running with (behind) you, because, Baby Boy, there is no better feeling in the world then getting to watch your child's success and confidence grow literally with each step.
You know I could go on and on. I am your biggest fan. You are my perfect boy. And nothing makes me happier than when you give me a hug and say to me, "I love my momma." When you put your arms around it reminds me that even though you are no longer a little baby, (one more inch and you will be as tall as me), those four words are spoken so naturally and with such sincerity and love that I know a part of you will always belong to me. Because you are all the best parts of me.
I love you,