Double Aces

Dear Eddie,

You are eleven!

I think I start each of your birthday letters this way, but it’s always amazing to me how much you have grown and how far you have come since my last letter. Eleven has proven to be a BIG deal.

This year you finished cub scouts, elementary school, swimming lessons (that you didn’t even have to actually go to because Coronavirus), and all things “little kid”.

You got a real watch for elementary graduation, had to suffer through the “sex” talk given by your awkward, but well-meaning mother, and committed to becoming a trombone player in middle school.

Middle school!

You are a mix of excited and nervous for middle school, and if I am honest, I am too. I am super excited for you to try new things like band and art classes that are not just once-a-week specials like in middle school. I think you will enjoy making new friends, having a variety of teachers and classes, and finding activities that you want to be a part of outside of the school day since you love being social and you love to learn. I also happen to know some of the staff at your middle school and know that you will have some great learning opportunities.

I have anxiety for you too. Middle school is a tough time of your life even when school goes smoothly. You are growing up and your body is pretty objective about what it has to do: grow hair and smell bad–among other things.

But your brain and heart are more subjective. You will lose childhood friends as you realize you aren’t actually interested in the same things. Those losses will hurt and confuse you. You have already started noticing girls, but it’s going to get a little out of hand in the next few years, as in you will find yourself thinking about about them, being confused by them, and being hurt by them.

Your brain will tell you to do one thing, your heart another, and your body will do whatever it wants. That will confuse and hurt you too.

You will hurt others with your words or lack of words.

You will probably make your mother cry more than once.

You and I are already noticing it. In the past few months you have told me, “I don’t know why I acted like that. I am sorry.” We talk it out, hug it out, and love each other through it.

You are almost as tall as I am, your feet are larger than mine, bu you are still the kindhearted, helpful, little bit naive kid you’ve always been. I know we have to nurture those traits in you and remind both of us of them when adolescence steals your sense and joy.

I told you as I tucked you in on your birthday that I like you even more now than I did that very first day, and it’s true. We struggled when you were a newborn to find our way together. But now we have great conversations, enjoy reading together, and both laugh at the word “nut”.

I’ve always been a bit of an 11-year old boy, and you’ve always had a bit of an old soul. We make a really good team.

We can also annoy the shit out of each other, but that’s part of loving someone with all your being, right?

I hope you always remember that you are my best Eddie, my rainbow baby, my Hufflepuff who wishes he was a Gryffindor, my partner is ridiculousness.

The next few years are going to have some rough times, but it is my goal to also make space to create fun, joyful memories together too.

I love you, Eddie. I am so very proud of the kid you are and the young adult you are growing up to be.

Love you forever and ever,

Mom

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

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