As you turn 16, I watch you venturing out into the world, my heart filled with pride for the young man you are becoming and with fierce mother-love for that part of you that will always be my little boy. You are an amazing kid and it is so lovely to have you around the house.
You have no idea how much I appreciate and enjoy your sense of humour, your easy-going nature, and your extraordinary patience, especially with the two 11 year-olds in the house. They appreciate you most for your willingness to play video games with them and your ability to pass gas on demand. I hope that as time goes by they come to understand how lucky they are to have in you someone so kind and so generous. Our home is a happier (but stinkier) place with you in it.
I have seen so many of your strengths reveal themselves through your participation in team sports, especially rugby. Over the years, I’ve watched you practice in July heat and in the bitter chill of November rains; you never complain. I watched you stand on the side lines for most of your first season of club rugby, the most junior and least experienced player on the team. That year, I never heard you complain either. I’ve watched you focus on the drills at practice, working your hardest, determined to improve, to excel. And even after the hardest sessions, I’ve watched you stop before leaving to thank your coaches.
In games, I’ve watched you score beautiful tries and impossible penalty kicks. And while I am happy that you are becoming such a skilled player, what really counts for me is watching you encouraging your teammates. What counts is seeing you playing hard until the last second of a game, even when a win is beyond imagining. What counts for me is watching you stop to check on a fallen opponent before joining your team to celebrate a victory.
You have heart, my love. You have courage and loyalty and determination. You have compassion and humility. I see it on the rugby pitch. I see it here at home and I know you show it at school. I see it when we’re out in the wilderness, with our backpacks on.
And it’s these qualities that will bring you contentment and success. These qualities will serve you well throughout your life.
As you turn 16, I want you to know how grateful I am to have you as my son, and how very much I love you.
To whom would you like to write a love letter?