Today is your 19th birthday. I like to write you and your brother a letter every year, and this one will be no exception.
I’m incredibly proud of you and your brother. Y’all have weathered some emotional turmoil this year, and even though you both have a little internal bruising, you are stronger for it.
You just finished your first semester in college. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to fathom you’re a grown-ass man. You worked your tail off earning ALL THE SCHOLARSHIPS to pay for college. You worked your tail off earning money to help pay for your trip abroad, your trip to Puerto Rico, and to buy yourself a car. I know adults who don’t have the work ethic you have now. It’s amazing to see you take control of your life, set goals, and work like a junkyard dog to achieve them.
You’ve always been my little individualist and it makes me proud that you’ve had a self-awareness well beyond your age. I’d love to take credit for helping you with that, but I think that you were just born with it. You weren’t a “normal” baby (as if there is such a thing.) You were always so independent, so curious, so willing to ask questions and make jokes and entertain yourself. You hated sleeping in bed with us as a kid, didn’t like cuddling, and spent the ages from 5-10 “hugging” me by poking me with your index fingers and saying “hug, hug.” So now, when you snuggle me on the couch, or hug me with both arms…it is truly special.
I love you, kid. And I’m proud of the man you’re becoming. Carry on.
Dammit Melissa…….all the damned feelz! I too am immensely proud of both the boys for all that they have come through and done it with such grace and dignity. Rader is a remarkable young man (not that they both arent its just that this is Rader’s birthday) and I am so proud that Laken looks up to your boys the way he does. They are both great role models. I know we are “braggadocios” (couldnt resist) of them all but honestly we have good reason to do so! Happy birthday Rader………keep kicking life in the ass kid!
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