An open letter to my youngest son

                            To my youngest son

Dearest Xander,

My baby, my little buddy, Xandy Pand.

When you came into our lives you changed everything, making all of our lives richer, happier. I had no idea my love could multiply, but as soon as I saw your chubby face, my heart galloped, filling with love.

Inside you burns a creative fire, never let your fire be extinguished. Encourage your creativity to flow from your mind uninterrupted. Your imagination is a gift, treasure it and focus on growing it. Some of my happiest memories of you are watching you play army, peaking around corners, setting up your sniper station, rolling around on the ground when you get “hit”. It’s beautiful to watch you get immersed in your rich imaginative world.

Your honesty is admirable. Your first-grade teacher, Mrs.Brunty, said you were the most honest student she has ever had. It is an incredible trait to be honest with others and yourself. It is only when you are honest with yourself that you can truly grow. Please remember you can be honest and forgiving. You have a tendency to be very hard on yourself. While self-reflection and realization will guide you to become an amazing human, you must also balance with self-love and acceptance. No one is without flaws. Mistakes are how we all learn. Distance and protect yourself from anyone who points out your mistakes regularly. Trust your gut and your heart to tell you when you have erred and how to make amends. Focus on your many strengths and build yourself up.

Happy and energetic come quickly to mind when I think of you, zipping down the street on your scooter or teaching yourself to ride your bike without using your hands. From one adventure to the next, your electric energy keeps moving you forward. You are hilarious with impeccable comedic timing when telling jokes. My favorite joke from this year: “What do you call a cow with no legs?…Ground beef!”

A fascination for all things World War II keeps you reading historical books and watching the history channel. Your ability to remember facts about Germany, Hitler, and the military are astounding. You are incredibly smart, never stop feeding yourself new information. Never stop learning.

A heart as big as the ocean, showing you care about others with your gestures and actions makes me so proud to be your mom. I will never forget the evening I came home from work to an envelope with three notes inside. Each note was handwritten telling me that you loved me and I was the best mom. Wow! That is the best gift I could ever receive. That made me feel like all my hard work is worth it, that just maybe I was doing an okay job with being your mom. There was also an envelope for your dad containing the same type of notes. You are such a sweet boy, caring about others and expressing your love.

The relationship you have with your brother warms my heart, gives me great comfort knowing you have a friend for life. The love and adoration you have for your brother is beautiful. Most parents complain about their children fighting, but arguing happens rarely between the two of you. Always remember you brother is there to help you, to love you. Lean on each other.

This past year I have watched you really come into your own personality and loved every minute of it. We also discovered you have ADHD this year which has been incredibly helpful. We now know how to help you manage your feelings much better, which situations to avoid. Up until this diagnosis, I was exasperated from trying to find the best strategies for parenting. I read every parenting book I could find and tried many different paths until we finally saw Ms. Megan. She has been an incredible help for our family, especially you. In the few months we have been seeing her I have watched our family pull together and become stronger than we have ever been. Understanding your needs has helped us all tremendously. I do not want you to ever look at your ADHD as a definition for who you are or a negative trait. It is only a piece of your life, and the more you understand what that means for you specifically the better you can manage your life. We are all a sum of our pieces, not defined by any one part of ourselves.

The past seven years of life with you have been an adventure. Watching you grow and develop into the young man you are today has been a gift. I am proud of you and the choices you have made.

All of my love,

Mom

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