I'm sitting here looking through baby pictures of you- my sweet and sensitive first little baby boy, and I can't for the life of me believe that we just celebrated your twelfth birthday last week. It's been 12 years since you forever changed my life and made me a mom, a job I always knew I wanted but didn't realize how hard it would be and how quickly the years would slip by. From the very beginning, everyone was telling me "Cherish every moment- it goes by so quickly." I knew they were right, but it didn't really hit me until I sat there watching you blow out your twelve candles.
You were always my "easy" baby. As a newborn, you were so calm and content- we could take you anywhere and you were always a happy, chubby, bald little man. People were always complimenting your sweet demeanor! You'd smile at everyone.
As a toddler you were my fearless little adventurer who always kept me on my toes. When we went to the park you were always the kid getting hurt and our play dates usually ended with me almost having an anxiety attack when you'd fall off the slide, get your fingers stuck in the playground equipment, flip over backwards on the swings, and refuse to get back into your stroller so we could head home. You had so much energy and always wanted to explore and have fun- you definitely kept me on my toes!
Your little sister Lily arrived when you were just 3 1/2, and that's when I realized how truly blessed I was that you came first- you were such an independent, self sufficient little guy. You made the transition from a family of 3 to a family for 4 so easy, and you loved your baby sister something fierce. From the moment you laid eyes on her you were mesmerized, and you two have been pretty much inseparable since then. You were such a caring big brother who was always looking out for Lily, and you always included her and let her tag along like your little shadow. You helped teach her to walk, talk, and do all of the things she watched you doing.
Watching you head off to school was like watching a piece of my heart leave me. Lily and I both had such a hard time with it and we didn't know how to make it through the day without our Ayden. You were so excited though. You loved school right from the very start and you excelled at every grade and subject with ease. I loved watching you develop a love for reading, learning, and making friends.
And now here we are- your last year of elementary school and one year to go before you're officially a teenager. I can't believe how quickly those years slipped by. You've grown to be such a smart, silly, fun-loving kid well on his way to becoming a responsible young man. I'm so proud of all that you do at home, in school, at church, and with your friends and family. Here's why:
I can count on you. As a family of 6 now, with three younger siblings, I count on you so much. You've kind of become my right hand man around the house, always pitching in and picking up the slack for me when things get crazy. Most of the time now I don't even have to ask- you just jump in and do what needs to be done. That's just how you are though- you volunteered to be a crossing guard and help keep the little kids safe on their way to and from school. You campaigned to be on ASB and won, and you did an awesome job last year by making your school a better place. You put so much hard work into it! So many people depend on you and you're always stepping up to the plate when something needs to be done.
You love learning. You've always enjoyed school and learning new things has come so easy to you. Reading has never been a chore for you- I love that you share my love of reading! Now I can share my favorite books with you and we can "nerd out" together, discussing our favorite characters and getting excited over the same plot lines. You're always receiving academic achievement awards at school for your awesome report cards and perfect attendance and your teachers are always raving about you in our parent teacher conferences. You're even pushing yourself by joining some new clubs at school, like Lego Robotics and Coding. I love that learning is fun for you!
You're funny. Making people laugh is probably one of your favorite things to do, and I absolutely love this about you. You definitely get your sense of humor from your dad, which is what made me fall in love with him too. You're going to make some young woman laugh for the rest of her life when she marries you- she's going to be so lucky to have you! You're always making people smile.
You're creative. I'm always blown away by your creativity- another trait you get from your dad. You can draw anything and love expressing your creativity through a pencil, pen, and paint. Some of the artwork you've made for me will be treasured forever...long after you're grown!
You're sweet. From the very beginning to even now, as a big, mature, grown up 12 year old, you're still sweet. You've never been afraid to show your feelings and emotions- something that is going to be such a help to you as you navigate this big, scary world. Having a huge heart like you do and being able to show and express your feelings is an amazing trait to have, especially for a man.
For all of these reasons and more...I love you Ayden. I'm so proud of the boy you are and the man you are becoming. I've loved watching you grow up and I can't wait to see all that this life has in store for you! I know you are going to do some great things. I'm so lucky to be your mom.
I've teamed up with Yoplait Go Big to share what makes tweens/teens amazing. Do you have an amazing tween? Make sure to tell them what it is about them that inspires you! Write them a letter like this and give it to them (or read it to them, if you think you can do it without sobbing like a baby like I did). For a chance to win the spotlight for your tween, check out the new Go Big Facebook page and submit your letter there. Go Big will select three tweens with amazing stories and give them a platform to show the world (full contest rules here).
Yoplait Go Big is a brand new yogurt pouch that I found at Walmart, designed specifically with teens in mind. They're made with real fruit and just the right amount of sweetness, with no artificial colors or high fructose corn syrup, contains real fruit, and is a good source of calcium. Go Big pouches have just the right amount of yogurt and it fuels the amazing in amazing teens to help them crush it- every single day! Just grip & rip for the perfect on-the-go snack!
My tween loves the strawberry and mixed berry Go Big pouches. They make for a great quick breakfast that he can grab on his way out the door on busy school mornings. Just grip, rip, and go!
I bet your tween is amazing too. Head over to the Go Big Facebook page and share how your tween inspires YOU!