Exactly 45 days ago, you turned 14.
Aaannndd exactly 45 days ago, I was wallowing in a pity party for one, feeling wounded, and alone, and did not get a chance to write you this letter.
It was pathetic and I am so sorry.
Fortunately for me, you are so kind-hearted and easy going that I know I'll be forgiven before I even ask.
Chase, I think of all of us, this move has suited you most of all.
You have slipped into a new skin here in Texas as smoothly as putting on a warm jacket. You immediately decided you wanted to play football - a concern for me at first - seeing as how you had no idea how the game was played and had never done it in your life.
You know. A small hiccup in an otherwise grand plan.
I worried about it, I'm not going to lie. Knowing how the Football is king here in Texas (and deserving of the capitals), I worried it would be ultra competitive, and that your inexperience might hurt you or prove damaging to your confidence. Raising your sports-driven brother has shown me what the world of athletics can be like, and I was terrified of negative consequences for you.
Oh, silly me. When will I learn that you know your own heart best of all?
You have dived in with your natural enthusiasm. You boldly explained to your coaches that you had NO clue what you were doing, and studied the playbook hard when they offered it. You researched YouTube videos and asked help from your brother. You took your inexperience and turned it into a prowess on the field that is so fun to see. I love watching you play.
Football has been the BEST thing for you.
Case in point: We were at one of your very first football games. Your team had finished playing and you and I were walking together through the stands. No less than a dozen times were there cheers and congratulations from your classmates as they shouted your name and praised your efforts on the field. They shouted your name! That means they knew it! All these people already knew who you were and liked you!
I looked back at you, my mouth agape, and asked you why you didn't tell me you had all these friends.
In the classic Chase way, you grinned and shrugged your lanky shoulders. As if it was no big deal. Tears filled my eyes and love filled my heart because in that moment I knew: You were going to be all right here.
And you've been more than all right: You've thrived. You've grown. You've broadened your circle and found strength in new ways.
Chase, I am infinitely proud of you. You have a heart that is ten times your size. And, believe me, your size is considerable. Just a few months ago, you officially became the tallest Halverson - surpassing your father and (long ago) your older brother. You were pretty proud of yourself, but yet made sure that your brother didn't feel slighted. You reminded him of how tall he was, and that he might pass you up one day.
Kid, you are always thinking of others.
And it's one of my favorite things about you.
Chase, I love your creativity, your enthusiasm for life, and your pursuit of your passions. You inspire me to dream big. You never take yourself too seriously and are more than happy to let others have the spotlight. You work hard and have more discipline than anyone I know.
Except when it comes to the treats. You have a sweeter tooth than anyone in our family and I swear you must have a hollow leg. Because I don't know where else all that food goes that you eat. Seriously.
I love you more than this feeble letter can ever say. Thank you for making our life so stinkin' interesting. Thank you for always being so easy-going, for your big plans, and the happiness you bring us by being close to you. Your joy is infectious. Your big grin, flanked by that one, lone dimple that I love, is one of the best parts about my day.
And, please, could you promise to stop growing and stay this way, just for a few more years? Because this phase of life is the funnest one yet. I just can't get enough of it.
I love you, Chazini.