Four score minus sixty-five years ago

How on earth did this happen?  How did one of the most awesome people I know get to be so old? Who turned the cute kid with the long blond ringlet curls into such a kind, caring, chivalrous, young man with an awesome sense of humor?

Zachary has amazed me this year, handling tonsil and adenoid surgery with grace, working on getting his emotional wonkyness under control and helping me understand it better, and getting great compliments from the mom of the young woman who currently occupies much of his time and thoughts. 

The two of us have had some epic times together this year. Most memorable, perhaps, was our roundabout trip to the movie theater during which we talked about lots of crazy and funny stuff, that ended in sitting in a pitch black theater for a very long time until we investigated and found that the projector wasn't working. And the second attempt to see a movie, which began with a glitch in getting the film started, but thankfully ended in us actually seeing the movie. 

It is amazing to watch my child turn into such a thoughtful, fun, intelligent, and just plain awesome young man. His creativity inspires me, patience with his siblings (especially certain aspie ones, even when it occasionally wears thin) astounds me. That the two of us can sit in silence, or in conversation, or in hilarity, and be at ease with each other delights me. 

So, Zachary, on your fifteenth birthday, I will write to you fifteen things I want you to remember:
1. I love you no matter what.
2. I know you're going to mess up, and I'd rather you mess up and tell me and let me offer help/advice/laughter (whether or not you choose to accept it) than mess up and think you need to cover up your mistakes. Mistakes are nothing more than learning experiences.
3. Our family operates on forgiveness.
4. Buckle up for safety.
5. Call your mother. Call your mother if you haven't spoken to her in more than ten days. Call your mother if you need help. Call your mother just because. Call your mother if you're too drunk to drive or your friend is too drunk to drive or you've somehow found yourself at Camp Calumet and need someone to pick you up after spending a few days there with you having all sorts of fun.
6. Being a friend doesn't mean going along with whatever your friends do. Think and act for yourself, from your heart, with your own good judgement.
7. If you want a tattoo for your sixteenth birthday, you now have a year to figure out what you want, where you want it, and to draw it (or have someone else draw it). 
8. Your mother will always embarrass you, even if she doesn't always mean to. It might just be payback for all the embarrassing things you have done, like the time you were two and took off your underwear without taking your shorts off in church during worship and then shot them at me rubber-band style.
9. Never ever lose your sense of humor. If you do. call me and I'll help you find it. 
10. Sushi is good. Gluten free sushi is better. Gluten free sushi with your mother is the best. We need to do that soon.
11. You are never alone. (Ok, that sounds creepy ... what I meant is that even when it doesn't seem like it sometimes, God is with you and will help you through ... and your mother is always there for you when you need her. )
12. When all else fails, laugh.
13. Pray at least twice as often for others as you do for yourself. 
14. Give thanks upon waking, before eating, and upon going to sleep. 
15. Be yourself. Always. Unless you're in a play. Then you should probably be in character, as the play probably wouldn't go as well should you remain yourself. 


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