Happy 10th John Paul: A Mom’s Love Letter

What good is it to call yourself a parent and not embarrass your kids every once in a while?


Today is big man John Paul’s tenth birthday. And, as I do with all my children, it’s time to get sappy. JPizzle, this letter’s for you, bud.

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Dear John Paul,

You were the kid that almost wasn’t. True story. When I was just five months pregnant with you, I was in a horrible car accident. A car t-boned me, going 65mph. My car spun across the road, airbags deployed and all I could think was, “Oh Lord no. Please keep this baby safe.” Fortunately, a dear friend was right behind me and sped me off to the hospital. I could’ve cared less about my 8,000 bruises or my nearly broken fingers. All I wanted to hear was your heartbeat.

And there it was. Steady and strong. And I wept. It took your dad and I a long time to conceive you. So long, that I feared we might never have more children. {insert God laughing now} So, on the day many in our country rejoice in the choice afforded them by Roe v. Wade, I rejoice because God gave me life through you.

And, boy, do you deliver on the life front. At last count there were seven ER visits under your belt. Gratefully, none have happened in the last year.

You love to talk. Ask questions. Find out about the world around you. I’m not sure if your brain ever shuts off. Ever. It’s pretty awesome, actually, because I can count on you for long road trips. You’ve just earned yourself the shotgun seat for life, big man.

The artwork you create is nothing short of amazing. You can thank your Papa for that gift. You freehand anything you see, there are books and books and books stashed in every nook and cranny in our house, all full of your drawings. Your latest? The logos from every NFL team. I know, I’m shocked, too.

You are crazy good at math. That’s definitely not from me.

I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid funnier than you. Your one-liners are classic. Case in point. This past weekend, we were talking about great San Francisco 49er players. Of course, Steve Young’s name came up. Dad said, “He’s Mormon, right?” You replied, “Steve Young was a woman?” We’re still laughing. Or, there was the chore checklist on the fridge, where you check off your chores as completed and then write any notes to me. In the “Mom I need your help with…” section, you wrote, “picking my nose.”

I know, I can’t make this stuff up.

Watching you on the athletic field is pretty fantastic. Your poor mom was a band geek, so sports are a bit of a stretch for me. But, in the last year, I’ve learned a scary amount of working knowledge of kid-pitch baseball, lacrosse, soccer and basketball. I also get lots of head shakes and “oh Mom, forget it’s” because my learning curve is slightly on the steep side. Be patient with me, okay?

Life is your adventure. It always has been. You see the world through a different filter. You LIVE it. When we walk back to the van after a basketball game, you make it a train game with your siblings, complete with “chugga chuggas” and “woo woos.” You want life to be fun and everyone around you to jump on the next rollercoaster. Man, you are gonna be a trip in college. Aaaand, that’s about the time my prayer life is going to hit high octane speeds.

I’m betting there isn’t a more competitive person on the planet than you. You might even rival Johnny Football. No lie. It doesn’t matter whether it’s XBox, a friendly neighborhood game of Hang Man or Freeze Tag or the baseball championship. You play to win and when fate doesn’t go your way? Look the heck out. That passion will serve you well. I just know it. For now, we’re going a pretty good job of keeping Kleenex and the front door time-out mat in business.

Ten is a huge milestone. You and your dad did it up right in New York City┬áto celebrate. I will cherish those photos and stories for the rest of my life. I hope you do, too. This year, so many great things are in store for you. We’re seeing glimpses of a young man, but I still spy the sweet six-month-old boy with curly blonde hair who loved to snuggle in my lap. To be honest, I think I’ll always see him.

You make a mom proud. Just don’t make her go back to the ER, ok?

Happy birthday, JPizzle. We love you!



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  1. Shandra on January 22, 2014 at 8:21 am

    So sweet! Happy Birthday, JP!

  2. Jo Anne on January 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    You have made me cry at my computer two days in a row! My sweet little man is turning 10 in May so last night he and I started brainstorming places he might like to go on his surprise birthday trip. So fun. Looking forward to it already!

  3. Lisa Schmidt on January 22, 2014 at 8:39 am

    So much loveliness here. Enjoy this special day!

  4. Donna P. Pugh on January 22, 2014 at 9:01 am

    You are building GREAT family traditions! We love to read about them! Happy 10th, John Paul!

  5. verdinalouisa on January 22, 2014 at 9:52 am

    What a guy! What a Mom!

    Happy Birthday, John Paul.

    Love you all!

  6. Elise on January 22, 2014 at 10:23 am

    What a gift this letter is! Love it.

  7. Nicole on January 22, 2014 at 11:23 am

    What a special letter to a special young man. I hope his birthday is a happy one!

  8. Violet on January 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Blessings to the wonderful family I enjoy reading about. Go With God.

  9. […] second had a big birthday – TEN! – this week and I shared a sappy love letter (because that’s what mom’s do) and the skinny on our family’s ten-year-old trip. […]

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