Ben, at 12 your underlying maturity and sensitivity to people does not surprise me, but it does make me so very proud. Whether you are joking (but not really) that everyone at church was underdressed or explaining how you helped a friend with something hard that even you didn't know how to do, but you figured it out together, my heart swells.
At 11, you didn't even like this cake, but no one at that table that day would have ever known that because your sisters made it and they were excited, so you were too.
At 10, you could disappear and just be with yourself. I don't know a lot of adults who can do that.
From long before 9, your sense of humor has been amazing and makes me laugh constantly.
You don't ever want to do the family things we make you do. You are sure to let us know. But once you know there are no negotiations about participation, you throw yourself into whatever it is. And I admire this trait, so much.
You have always been able to tell a story whether a re-counting of the day's events or something completely made up right there around the campfire with flare and interest and continuity.
You love chocolate. All things chocolate, not white cake with strawberries. But you smile and enjoy if it is important to the people you love
The year you told me not to worry, you would always be my baby.
(Sometimes I worry that you intend to live with me and let me mother you for all time, but we'll cross that bridge someday.) More importantly, that day had been hard for me and you nearly made me cry with such kind words from such a small boy.
Put Ben to bed and Ben would stay in bed. Right about this time in our lives, that was unimaginably important.
I'll forget the tantrums and potty training for today, and maybe I'll choose to believe that there were no terrible twos for you. If there were, it was certainly a mild case.
Those eyes, that smile. How could you be anything but charming?
Well, we all have our days.
We all have our days. Not sure you were happy about this one. But it fits the theme, that transition to the world came with reluctance, but since accepting your life here, you have embraced it. And we are so lucky you are ours.
Seen here getting a pre-flu shot pinch from his brother as practice for the main event.
We love you.
We enjoy your sense of humor and your ability to embrace whatever you are doing--no matter how much you protested doing whatever it was to begin with. The day you threw a fit over going to the park for an hour to play knockerball, you were the last one off the field and the fullest of smiles. When we go on a walk that you never wanted to take, you generally find yourself rolling through the leaves and jumping and exploring and having a better time than any of us.
Please son, stop leaving your socks around the house.
You know the dog likes to eat them. And you know he is going to throw them back up. And we all know, you will not be volunteering for the clean up.