Last Friday, you turned twelve. You have been pretty excited about it and all the milestones that come with turning twelve. I'm left wondering when exactly twelve years came and went. It doesn't seem to be slowing down, either.
You are shooting up right before our eyes, and I am often tempted to measure you at night before you go to sleep. I swear, you are taller every morning. It is killing your big brother that you are taller than him. But you don't make it an issue, you don't rub it in. When people comment on that fact, you just shrug your broad, lanky shoulders and smile. Like it's no big deal.
Would that everyone had a brother as good as you, Chase.
The big excitement of this year is that you are now old enough to get your own gun.
It should not surprise any of us that the gun you picked is a replica of an old gun -- a collector's item -- and not necessarily one we can pick up at the local sporting goods store. It had to be special ordered, purchased through a federally licensed firearms dealer, and brought across state lines with lots of red tape and paperwork. This is pretty typical of you, Chase, as you have always prided yourself on being anything but ordinary.
You are one of a kind.
And we thank god every day for that fact.
This year, you also entered another milestone - that of middle school. It nearly tore my heart in two to watch you saunter so easily to the bus stop with your brother. Watching the two of you walk, the happy banter between you going back and forth, brought back a flood of memories. Memories of the two of you in diapers, playing together - best friends, even then. I can't count the hours spent watching your two heads bent together over a set of legos or sitting exhausted on a park bench, wondering if you'd ever run out of energy.
Which you never did, by the way.
And here you are, taking more independent steps away from me with grace and ease, and growing into a very fine young man in the process.
You are still such a sensitive little soul, and I hope you never lose that. Your kindness for the underdog in every situation has drawn friends to you that others wouldn't have the patience for. You don't mind the quirky kids, the ones with the special needs. In fact, you are so good at looking beyond their limitations and only see the best in them.
Quite frankly, you see the best in everyone.
Your quest for knowledge is as alive as ever. Gone are the days where you need anyone's help to satisfy your thirst for information. Quite often, it's me asking you about something, and without fail, you are always spot on with the right answer. Your brain is a sponge, kid.
And I have no doubt that should we ever find ourselves in a survival situation, I will live through it because of you.
Chase, your heart is pure gold. You love unconditionally and without guile. You draw others in and love them wholly.
There is nothing I love more than your lone dimple in a big smile - it lights up my world. You are so special and you have taught me more about kindness than anyone else ever could. You make me a better mom. You make me want to be worthy of the trust god placed in me when he made you mine.
I love you, kid. Happy twelfth birthday.