You’re 12! Happy Birthday John Paul

Starting off 2016 with a birthday letter. Hooray! John Paul, this one’s for you.

Dear John Paul,

Your last year before the teenage era hits. That just doesn’t seem possible. But, I’m so grateful we’ve made it this far with only 9 ER visits.

This year, I’ve seen a little teenage swagger appear. You’re getting a little taller – although, not as tall as you’d like, a little sassier, a little funnier and a whole lot faster.

You had another great cross country season. It sometimes shocks me that your father and I produced someone who’s so wicked fast. The running bug even won out over football, king here in Texas, so I know your love is legit. 

Sports. Sports. Sports. Life of a boy mom, right? I know more statistics about the Mets, Jets, Spurs and Aggies than I thought possible. And, also, how in the heck did we get such a New Yorker fan in the house? You had a blast watching the Jets play the Texans last fall. Actually, you left in tears because you are über-competitive, but still.

Speaking of competitiveness. Whoa. I’m pretty sure there would be tears if you lost rock-paper-scissors. Not kidding. If your team loses or runs out of time, there are tears and a house warning to “steer clear of John Paul.” I’m holding tight to the truth this competitive streak will serve you well, if channeled in all the right ways, as you get older. For now? I’m buying stock in Kleenex.

One of your favorite subjects at school is religion. You take it very seriously and most recently asked us if we could start taking you to daily Mass 1-2 times a week. Our answer has been yes, because when your middle schooler asks if he can go to Mass at 6:30am, you say YES. You assure us the priesthood is not in your future, “I like building things too much. I want to be an architect that runs.” Fair enough.

If ever we need a hearty laugh in the house, we all turn to you. No one can make us laugh harder, or faster, than you. In fact, you are Gianna’s immediate laugh button. She absolutely adores you and does the crazy hand flap when you start running toward her. It’s pretty awesome.

You have a creative streak in you like your mama. Finally, a kid that has a trait from me! I can often find you at the computer, with an NFL football player’s photo on the screen, while you busily sketch on paper. Your art even won you a spot at the Travis County Youth Show where it will go up for auction. That’s happening later today and you’re convinced it’s the best day of your life. It’s your birthday and you get to win money.

I’m seeing glimpses of a young man emerge. That’s both humbling and terrifying. I love seeing how you are similar, yet different, from your older brother. It’s a reminder, however, to cherish all the days. You’re growing up and it’s been such a good ride, my man. You make me proud. You also test every skill in my motherhood arsenal, but one kid has to do it and I’m super glad it’s you.

Happy birthday sweetheart. I can’t wait to tear it up at your Star Wars party later today. May the force be with you!



john paul, blog_8241


  1. Nicole on January 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

    My son has that same sweatshirt 🙂

    Happy birthday! Looking forward to your share of the birthday party goodness!

  2. Teresa on January 22, 2016 at 10:00 am

    First of all Happy Birthday to John Paul! (btw, I love his name!) What a wonderful son you have, you must be very proud…(it sounds like it!) Just some of the little things you said reminds me of my son, Ben. He went to mass almost everyday when he started High School..I felt kinda like a bad mom, as I sometimes didn’t go with him…(trying to get ready for work, lunches…etc,not really an excuse) So, my son has taught me a lot, about what is important. I have always thought that Ben would be a priest, but his heart is set on the Franciscan Minors. Which is one of the hardest orders to go into. Last night E we sat down and discussed is future, and what we need to do for him to be ready to go in to the monastery. Was really hard as a mom to actually give up your son, but God does have great things for him. They grow so fast, enjoy this time……Can’t wait to hear about the party….my son’s room is all Star Wars! Even at the age of 22! May the Force be with you…..
    God Bless,

  3. Mary on January 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Happy Birthday to John Paul! 🙂

  4. Jen Buckley on January 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Boy, he and my Ralph would make fast friends…and both turning 12! Happy Birthday, John Paul!!

  5. Connie on January 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Daddy John is smiling down from heaven @ his namesake! <3 you John Paul Harris Whitaker!!!!!

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