Sweet Sixteen, Indeed: Happy Birthday John Paul!

I’m *about* a week late to getting this published on the blog. LIFE. I mean, it’s been written in my head for a long time. Does that count?

It’s birthday letter time. Here we go.

Dear John Paul,

What an exceptional year with you. When you were a baby, you were such a stinker (in the best of ways), but I had no idea how that would translate to the teenage years. Oh, if only I could go back and tell 2004 Kathryn how amazing life would be as your mom sixteen years later.

You are wicked funny. We can always count on you to play a joke on us, make us laugh or lighten the mood. Except, of course, when the Jets or the Mets lose. You’re pretty inconsolable then. You’re still Gianna’s favorite sibling. Nobody makes her laugh like you do.

Your hair. Should I say more? The higher the hair, the closer to God? You wear it well. Keep it that awesome, okay?

The intention and hard work I’ve seen you hone this past year has been impressive. You dove into sports and grades, friendships and service. And you do it all with humility and a decent amount of mischievousness. I love that.

Your artistic ability just continues to blow me away. You remind me, in many ways, of my dad. He just knows how to draw. It’s a talent and a gift and one I pray you always use to glorify God. I’m particularly partial to your latest chalk drawing of crosses and sacramentals.

2020 is a big year for you. You’ll begin your college search in earnest (will it be the Naval Academy or Texas A&M?!), you’ll get rid of those braces and you’ll be confirmed in May. Most notably, though, was that you earned your driver’s license and I rejoiced. Another driver in the house!

I may never fully embrace your love of sports, math or Jets stats, but I sure do love YOU.

I think, above all those things, what I cherish and admire most is your willingness to be open to God’s plan for your life. These past few months I’ve seen a man begin to emerge. One who is faithful to God, to his friends, to his service at school and church and to his family. You are noble, John Paul. You are not without fault, but you strive every day to be who God wants you to be. It’s my greatest desire for you, to fall in love with Him and the path He has set forth for you. Thank you for pursuing it with intention and joy. You are a precious member of our family.

I love you more than Blue Bell and Chick-Fil-A.



  1. Rozella on February 2, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Happy happy birthday to John Paul. I always enjoy reading your loving letters. These are such treasures to your children.

  2. Jenny on February 2, 2020 at 9:30 am

    How is he 16? I remember when you offered me his monogrammed JP backpack when my JP was a toddler because yours had outgrown it at age 10. He’s so handsome!! p.s. tell him Joey asks when “the cool teenagers are coming back to play football with us” fairly regularly

  3. Sophie on February 6, 2020 at 6:49 am

    Aww, that is such a beautiful letter. My son is almost 15 and I can so relate to the emotions here. I wish John Paul a very happy birthday.

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