My sweet son,
As I sit and write this, I'm thinking about this last year in the world and what a crazy ride it has been. I could have never predicted when the pandemic began that we would still be dealing with it 18 months later nor could I have guessed that the reason we're still in it is the inherent selfishness of a lot of people. Like, a surprising amount of people. A year and a half into a virus that has already mutated more than once, we're still arguing about vaccines and masks and the efficacy of physical distancing. It's a hot mess, m'boy.
Pandemic aside, it has been a good year for you. You made it through your first year of middle school the last school year with little to no issues, and now you're on to seventh grade. I know you wish that you could have made it through the whole year in-person at school during sixth grade, but you made the best of remote learning Wednesdays and everything that went with it. Truth be told, I enjoyed having you and Lottie home once a week so we could get some time to chill and reconnect. Plus, sleeping in makes everyone happy. I know it's difficult to be one of two teens in the house, and sometimes, things can get dicey between you and your sibling. In the end, I know that you two will always have each other's backs when it matters the most.
You have a knack of coming up with the best random facts to share with me. Most of our conversations start with you saying to me, "Did you know...?" and I usually didn't know. We end up having some wonderful and insightful discussions, and you always stun me with your intelligence and ability to see beyond the surface of a thing. Then again, sometimes you tell me statistics about butts, and then it's easy to remember that you're a teenaged boy. Overall, your sense of humor is pretty sophisticated, and I love when we catch something very subtle that makes us laugh and you give me the side eye to let me know you think it's funny, too.
One thing that I love about you is your willingness to show your appreciation and gratitude. If it has been a bad day or even a bad week, you find something positive to be thankful for. It's a nice reminder of how truly lucky we are and that it's important to take a step back to recognize it.
You were fortunate enough to take three vacations this year, and you had a ball on all of them. You got to drive down to Destin with a friend and his dad to stay in their condo. The weather wasn't super cooperative, but you braved the ocean and spent time at the pool. That was also the first big road trip that you have taken that you would remember, the first one being when you were six months old. It was bittersweet for me to watch you drive away on a vacation without us, but I was thrilled that you had a chance to go. Walt Disney World is one of our favorite places to visit,as a family, and you and Lottie got to explore some on your own in April. Riding Expedition Everest eight times in a row might have been your favorite part of that vacation. We also went to Tybee Island in Georgia and had a relaxing beach visit. During that trip, we spent some time in Savannah, and I love that you're as into the history of a place as Dad and I are.
Thank you for staying true to yourself as you grow up. I know it won't always be an easy road, but I think you're up to the challenge. I love your tender heart, your love for all animals, and your ability to see the best in everything. Don't ever let anyone tell you to toughen up: just be yourself. Be sure to always see the best in yourself, too, because you're a pretty incredible human being. I'm so proud to be your mom. Happy 13th birthday, Dallas Simon.
Love you the mostest,