Easter and a Birthday: A Letter to My Teen Son

Happy Easter, y’all! What a glorious day. What a glorious savior. I pray your Lent was fruitful, your Holy Week blessed and Easter full of triumphant joy.

It won’t happen often (if ever again), but our oldest has his birthday today. On Easter! How crazy awesome is that? He’s used to having the “Lent birthday” so it’s such a nice surprise to have the celebration fall on today. And, even sweeter is that he and my dad share a birthday. There will be sweets, songs and lots of smiles at our house very soon.

The birthday letter, let’s get to it.easter_0469

Dear Will, 

You’re fifteen today. I don’t even know how that happened, but it did.

You started high school this year and I’m already understanding how quickly these years are going to fly by for all of us. So many moms have told me, “don’t blink.” I’d say that’s spot on. I hope you’ll forgive us for all the mistakes we’re making. You’re the guinea pig, big man.

It’s true, when we sat down with the principal last spring to set your freshman schedule, I started to panic. The fear and panic of “are we doing this right” set in. And then I exhaled. You’ve handled your tough academic schedule better than I thought you would. I wouldn’t say time management is your BFF just yet, but you’ve got time. I hope. As we sat down this weekend to review your sophomore schedule, I was really impressed at your maturity and class selection. I don’t think you were impressed at our input, but, progress. A&M sure will be lucky to have you.

Thank you for telling me all those 8,000 random sports facts. I don’t understand a good half of them, but I’m honored you keep telling them to me anyway. I’ve learned more about Steph Curry, the Clippers, Madden football and basketball brackets than I thought possible. It’s even more fun to watch you carry on intelligible and highly curated conversations with grown men about sports, too. You can totally hold your own. Color me impressed. If only you took biology this seriously…

It’s true. I can no longer avoid the driver’s ed conversation. This time next year you’ll have your license. Oh Lord, get me a paper bag and a sackful of rosaries. I’ll need both. Stat. Until then, Dad says he’s excited about teaching you to do donuts in the church parking lot while I’m just praying you don’t rear-end an off duty police officer. Long story. I’ll tell you someday. Just don’t go fast on ice. 

I believe it finally happened. You’re officially the same height as me. We were doing yard work the other day and I looked over and we were eye-to-eye. You grinned. I did not. It also makes disciplining you a wee bit interesting. I think I’ll bust out the step stool from now on.

The most challenging thing for both of us this past year has been figuring out how to do the teenage dance, together, without rolling our eyes, yelling and feeling like complete failures. I am trusting we will find our groove. God has given me glimpses of the person you’re becoming. The adult conversations we have, the same concerns over world events and societal changes, the inside jokes, the side glances that end with a nod of understanding – they all make me stop and tell God, “thank you.” Almost all the inside family jokes we share are because of you. I mean really, come on lady. Who else can make that funny but you? 

Of all the kids and all the parents in the world, He gave us one another. It’s a total joy to see the kind of man you’re growing to be, literally and figuratively. Well, it’s not always joy, but mostly. My prayer life is deepening, my gratitude growing and my pride increasing at this new chapter. The teenage years are not for the weak. Yes, I miss you climbing in my lap to read you another story, standing at the front window to catch a glimpse of the trash truck, or snuggling in deep to eat a Hershey’s bar with me while we watch HGTV, but I know one thing. This new chapter is the culmination of all those moments. We invested in your childhood so we can enjoy you enter into adulthood. And that’s a phase I hope to enjoy for a very, very long time.

Happy birthday, sweetheart. I love you!




  1. Claire on March 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    My anniversary is today (it also coincided with Easter back in 2005), and I read on another blog that Easter won’t be on the 27th (and Good Friday won’t be on the 25th, which is usually the feast of the Annunciation) again until the mid 2100s.

  2. Nicole on March 28, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Happy belated Easter…and happy belated bday to Will. Wow. 15!? Cannot believe it’s been that long. Seems just the other day we were at FFA…you expecting your first…and Charity and I coming to make a quick visit to see you at the hospital. 🙂

  3. Laurie on March 28, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Every word of this is the truth. Parenting teenagers, the oldest being the guinea pig, the physical and emotional growth of this stage…I’m just so glad to travel this road at the same time as you!

  4. Karen Kleiman on March 28, 2016 at 11:15 am

    A very Happy Birthday to Will!! He’s such an amazing, handsome, God-centered, loving young man. You should be proud mama! It is an adjustment to look eye-to-eye (and in my case, up) to our ‘baby’ boys. It’s hard to see them step out on their own and not need us so much. Tho’ I love the way you said it’s the culmination of all those precious moments before that we (moms) will always treasure. They are good young-men, bright, challenging, independent-thinkers, with good hearts (even if they don’t always show it) and we are blessed. I find myself wanting to keep Cameron ‘young’, trying to fit him into this place where I think he should still be. But, like you’re doing, I have to take a step back, let him step out and pray and trust! They are gonna be ok and we are going to love and treasure them in a whole new way! Congrats to Will and big hugs! Hope we can catch up in person soon (and maybe even get our big guys together again too)!

  5. Debbie Chaney on March 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    The trash truck – I think of it EVERY time I see anything Whitaker! Congrats on raising a very fine young man!

  6. […] if you’ve forgotten how much you’re loved, here’s sappy letters from 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 and 7 because the rest were pre-blogging […]

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