About 7 kids ago I thought I knew everything! There was a lot of “hypothetical parenting” going on. Then, 13 years ago I met this guy. We have been happily living just on the edge of my comfort zone ever since.

Today he turns 13! I’ve been down this road a few times now. I know that thirteen is the beginning of learning yourself. I know it can be back talk and rule bending. It can be friend changing, heart breaking, rumor mill, homework tears… hard. And yet it is a beautiful time to reach your kids where they are and be what they need in spite of what they want.

Thirteen is talking alone in a bedroom because the problem is just too big to share with the rest of the house. Thirteen is excitement over a new boy or girl (that now thinks your cute) so you start to play it cool, remembering your deodorant on your own for the next couple weeks.

I know thirteen. But this one has always been the wild card.

He is already a master negotiator, and he usually knows exactly what he wants. He is loyal to his few close friends, they have been around for years. He is gentle with his younger brothers and number one antagonist to the older half. He knows when and how to balance his behavior but has never had a filter. Still, he is thoughtful and kind. He has a natural ability to build relationships with the elderly. His relationship with my grandfather’s brother, Gus, was beautiful to watch. He is mostly respectful, brutally honest, and his sense of humor makes your face hurt laughing. If you were thinking it, he already said it out loud.

I know thirteen, and if I know him we’re in for a wonderful ride. Happy Birthday!



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