You're 15. 15 and one day actually. There was no time for your birthday blog what with the one 5K race, eleven baseball games, one basketball clinic and one basketball tryout this weekend. I've been in the car for 72 hours and blogging while driving is frowned upon by most folks.
Yesterday, I could have slept until the late hour of 6:45 am, but something stirred me awake and I looked over at the clock. It was 5:25 am - exactly the time 15 years ago when God sent you to the world and turned me into someone new. And just like that moment 15 years ago, I was tired, but I was filled with wonder and gratitude at the miracle of you.
And you are still a wonder to me. I can't count how many times over the years that I've heard, You just wait. When he's 10, he'll drive you nuts. When he's 12, he'll start the attitude. When he's a teenager, he'll treat you like you're the dumbest person on the planet. You've no idea how hard it will be. You.just.wait.
I'm still waiting. I really don't have any idea how hard it will be. I am reluctant to say it aloud for a few reasons. I do have a tendency to worry about what might lie around the corner for us. Especially when things are going so well, when you and your brothers are thriving and strong, I tend to brood on what challenge might be lurking in our future. I'm trying really hard not to do that as often. Most importantly, I am not a mother who thinks her kids are perfect. You are not. You do drive me nuts quite often, but it's usually with things I can laugh about not too long after the fact.
And spending time worrying and waiting for when you will turn into the so-called typical grunting, disrespectful, irresponsible, obnoxious teenage boy? Well, ain't nobody got time for that.
Because these days of ours are full. Not only are they full in the literal sense, but they are full of joy and full of fun and full of laughter because of you. You are central to the joy in our family. We rely on you for the happy and the crazy and the silly. You fill us up with good things.
When you were away for almost two weeks this summer at golf camp and your mission trip, Kyle came into the kitchen, gloomily slumped against the counter and said, "Joe's been gone forever. Everything's boring without Joe." You make them laugh like no one else and though I yell at you three to shut it down up there, the giggles rain down the staircase and fill up my heart.
Every morning you wake on time and before you walk out the door on time, you change the channel from ESPN to The Today Show for me and you come over to hug me good-bye every single day. My heart fills up with joy.
When we are in a strange town looking for yet another ballpark and I am frazzled and yelling at Siri, you say, "I got you, Mom" and you always figure out how to get us there. I calm down and my heart fills up with joy.
Just last week, I drove a car full of teenage boys to practice and back. You put on my sunglasses, turned your hat backward, rolled down the windows and blasted Gettin' Jiggy With It for all the evening commuters to enjoy. Your friends (not an obnoxious, grunting, disrespectful teenage boy in the group, by the way) followed suit and there were some pretty impressive moves and so much laughter that I thought I would have to pull over. Your joy floated out the car windows and my heart filled up.
Thank you for the joy, Joe. After 15 years of loving you, my heart is bursting full of it, but I'll make room for more. Keep it coming, buddy.
I love you and am immensely proud of the man you are becoming.