eleven years

Did I just type that correctly? 11 years? Eleven? Hold on, December 2nd, 2001 + 11 years, that would be December 2nd, 2012. Yep. It's correct. ELEVEN YEARS!

It's always hard for me, these days that turn to months, and then next thing you are one year older than the last. Time doesn't stop for me or anyone.

Gunnar, you have grown so much this past year. I get flashes every once in awhile. Not flashes of when you were a baby or a toddler, no but flashes of what you will be like in the future. Just this week I was watching you and a friend play a card game, and I got a flash of you at 15 years old. Just for a second, but I saw it.

You are so responsible, not "keeping track of your sweatshirts at school" responsible, but responsible in a way that makes me trust you. I trust you to make responsible decisions and do what's right. You have this gift which I see so many boys your age lack, a gift of common sense. You are discerning when so many around you make stupid and dumb choices. I know the whole biology of your brain right now is not working properly. Seriously, I've read about it and done my homework. You are bound to do things "you have no clue, why in the world, I can't believe you would" type of things. But for now, you are so, so.... good. Good in a deep, deep, wonderful, in the core of your soul way.

Everyone who has met you, or come to know you, they can't help but comment on the goodness you exude. This year you are thriving in school. You've always been a straight A student, never have to study your vocabulary words, or study for a test. It always came natural for you. Learning. But this year you have this motivation. You have been blessed with an amazing teacher who "gets" you. I laugh when you pass each other books to read, or he sends you home to put something together for him. He inspires you. I have been hoping you would have this inspiration and motivation for learning, and I'm so glad you have it this year. I truly think you will remember this year. You will look back on this teacher, and your fifth grade experience with such fondness. And it makes me smile.

It makes me smile that you cannot get enough about social studies. You make me order you books from the library about the Revolutionary War, the thirteen colonies, you want to know all about the Native Americans. You are so hungry for information about the founders of this country. One example, you made me tape this miniseries on the History Channel called The Men Who Made America. They focused on Carnegie, Morgan and Rockefeller. And you couldn't wait for each week's recording. I attempted to sit with you and watch them, but I hate to admit it, they bored me. But it was so interesting to you! You loved it!

This year you've done two big projects for school. Both you were able to choose anything in the world, any subject you wanted! The first was an engineering comparison on the new Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. You and daddy worked so hard on those models to make sure they were just perfect in size.

The second project you chose to explore the sources of electricity. Yawn. But not for you my love. You delved into that with such enthusiasm. I can't tell you how many books and websites you researched on hydroelectric dams and natural gas.

The older you get, the more unqualified I feel I am to raise you. I think one of my greatest fears is that I don't have what it takes to give you all that you need and deserve. You're going to be twelve in a blink, and then a teenager in a minute. What will I do with a teenager? A teenage boy nonetheless. I don't know what I'm doing. That's me with full, complete, bare bones honesty. I have no clue what I am doing. But you are a wonderful person. And even though I may not be good at this, I promise to try as hard as I can. I will do the best that I am capable of doing. You make me try my hardest. I want to do the best I can for you. Because you deserve nothing less.

You are old enough to understand things that your brother and sister do not. You lock eyes with me and smirk when one of them is being ridiculous or silly. It's true you sometimes like to correct them, but mostly you smile at them and just find me or daddy to share in your "look" or expression. That expression conveys "I can't believe they just said that". All without saying a word.

You went to almost every home game USC played in this season. You were quite thrilled this year that the time of the game didn't affect if you were allowed to go or not. In past years if there was a night game we usually wouldn't let you go, except maybe once in awhile. But this year, you just knew it was time. And it was. It was your time. We are trying to give you more independence. More opportunities to show your age and allow you more freedom. I truly think you know we are trying, and you appreciate it.

Girls. You don't really care about them. Thank. Goodness. It's not that you don't notice if a girl is pretty. Or annoying. Or kind. You do notice. But they don't consume your thoughts. When other boys around you are caught up in the silly games and he said/she said, you stay away. You don't get involved. You have friends who are girls. But you stay away from the ones that will get the wrong idea. For instance, you forgot your math homework one day. After calling all the boys in your class, it was time to get the roster out and call a girl. Oh no! A girl?! I suggested a few names. You were just quiet. And then after a few minutes you agreed to call one. I knew the girl you called and I knew exactly why you were comfortable calling her. You knew she would not think you were calling her for any other reason than asking about math. You knew she wouldn't tell people you called her. You knew she was just a friend. You make me smile. Every. Day.

Eleven years ago today I became a mother, all because of you Gunnar. Because of you I am able to take this journey called motherhood. And I am so elated to have you by my side for this adventure.

I love you Gunnar. Welcome to eleven.