December 03, 2010

A Dozen Years

Sweet Garrett,
I am several days late in writing this to you. I guess I figured that if I put off writing your letter then it would mean you really didn't just turn 12. I am having a hard time with your birthday this year. It feels like what is left of you being a child is slipping through my fingers and I am on the cusp of having a teenager on my hands. I am happy that you are growing up because it's what you are supposed to do, I just don't want it to happen so quickly.

You have had quite a year. There have been some amazing highs and some devastating lows. How all that fit into 365 days is beyond me. It doesn't seem possible!

The first part of this year involved you and your friend Chandler. You took a big chance on her and had some hurt feelings because of it, but it certainly worked out well in the end! It was so fun to watch you navigate the ins and outs of having a relationship with a young lady including a "breakup" that actually ended in a continuing friendship with her. A skill most guys don't ever master!!! Now, let's take a bit of a break before falling head over heels for another sweet girl! Althought if constant ringing of our apartment by a certain group of 3 girls that live here is any indication of my future, I don't know that I'll have any luck with that.

I love how much you embraced all our travels this year. Your curiosity in the world around you thrills me to no end. One of my dreams is for you to experience as much life as you possibly can. Different cultures, different people, different ideas. All of it will make you think so much bigger and I can already see that in you. You even went to Malaysia without the rest of us on your first trip with the school and loved every moment of it. You are so much like your dad in your desire to see the world and in your love for being at home. It's finding the balance between the two that is the most challenging.

You have had the most change thrown at you out of anyone in our family. Not only do you live in a new country, in a new home, making new friends, but when we throw the start of Middle School in the mix, that's a lot to take at one time. I can still vividly remember being in Middle School myself and how awkward those years were. You have been put into a situation where the academics are incredibly difficult and those that excel socially are the ones that excel academically. You figured this out on your own and were surprised by it. I am thrilled by it, but the struggle has been intense for you. If we survive this year, I think we can survive anything.

In looking back over the last 12 months of your life.....the last 6 in particular.....there is no denying the impact your dad has had in your life. There are times that I feel we moved here just so your dad was in a position to work from home and travel less so he could be available to you. He has taken you under his wing and has made it his personal mission to shepherd you through this year at school. Many times I will lose my patience with you and your absent mindedness and inattention to detail.......easily losing out on any chance I may have had at being Mother of the Year. Your dad, however, has modeled for you exactly what grace looks like. Sounds like another Father I know. How lucky you are to have him. He has started taking you to breakfast on Friday mornings and you look forward to those days in a way that makes me think that 10 and 20 years from now you will remember those breakfast dates as being some of your favorite things from this point in your life. It is hard for me to step back and not play the primary parenting roll that I have been used to, but we are fighting for you right now and that means there is no room for my ego.

I love the passion you have for your guitars. I don't necesarily love that you ask us to buy you new guitars all the time since there's barely room for you in your bedroom, let alone a collection of guitars. I enjoy listening to you practice chords and songs in your room a whole lot more than I enjoy listening to your practice trumpet. Although you are getting pretty good at that as well! I'm sure our neighbors above and below us could attest to that!!

I have also let you venture out with my beloved camera enjoying watching you being creative with taking pictures. This picture you took is one of my favorites from our travels this summer.

You still love to run and I have finally gotten you to agree to give track and field a shot. That may have something to do with the PE teachers hounding you to give it a try. All I had to do was promise to buy you the very cool track shoes we found not that long ago. You are also pretty good at tennis. At least there's one person in the family making good use of that wing span!!

You are growing up. It matters to you what your hair looks like, how you're dressed, and how much visibility I am allowed to have in your life. I am excited for you! It still freaks me out that you are so comfortable hailing a taxi and riding it alone and that we can give you our orders for Subway and you can walk down the street and get dinner for us. You are independent and confident in that independence.

You love buying and wearing hats and you can certainly pull it off.

Your relationship with your brother has grown since we left Houston. You guys have had a lot of time to hang out with each other this year. This is an experience that will bond you two together forever! All those years when you were younger when I'd have you guys "practice" how to deal with each other is finally paying off. You resolve your differences more rationally and more articulately than you have before. You guys aren't perfect and can still get on each other's nerves and fight, but I love watching the moments when you are enjoying each other's company.

I am thankful every single day for Wyldlife. The Young Life of Middle School....something I had not heard of before moving here. I remember finding out about it and telling you that you were wasn't an option. You weren't thrilled about it, but you went. It has been amazing for you to have that interaction with other kids your age that love God and with leaders that are significantly cooler than I am. My prayer for you is that you understand what it means to have a relationship with God. Not just to know a bunch of Bible stuff or all the right things to say and do or be a rote church attender, but a real relationship that you want to invest in. We are at that point where much of what I say goes in one ear and out the other, but I can bend the ear of God when it comes to you and pray for people to invest in your life that you want to listen to and you better believe that I do that earnestly.

I hope this next year is easier for you. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. I flat out hope you have a great 12th year of life. I adore you and am so stinking excited to see what happens next in your life!

I love you more!


  1. What a precious love letter to an incredible young man. You and Scot are already reaping a harvest you began to sow before these boys arrived. Thanks for sharing the joy of the harvest with us.

  2. What a great letter to Garrett, and such a perfect depiction of who he is and who he is growing to be! Lots of love and belated happy birthdays from the Linebargers to G, especially from Cella -- she wants you to know that she saved her allowance and bought her first electric guitar and amp. Now she just needs someone to teach her to play it! :-) Love you all!

  3. Tears in my eyes. The part about him and Dad got me. The whole thing is just beautiful. And that pic of him in his hat? Super handsome. Happy 12th Birthday, Garrett!!



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