Today is Quinn's 13th birthday. Wow! The last 12 months have gone SO fast!
This hasn't been the easiest of years for Q. He's had to deal with some pretty big disappointments - all on top of the background of being 12. It's a rough phase! I really couldn't be more proud of the way he has handled himself (most of the time) and the way he has matured.
Over and over he has hit some kind of bump and rebounded better than he was before. A string of less-than-stellar grades turns into motivation to go in early for study groups and extra help. Getting cut from a Select lacrosse team (that he probably deserved... not just saying that as his mom...) had him focused on how he can get better for next year and asking for extra clinics or personal training or, Heaven help us, getting Spencer to teach him how to lift weights. When he failed to make the middle school basketball team AND I flaked and didn't get him signed up for rec basketball in time, he joined the wrestling team. He got beat time after time in practice and in matches. He never complained. He never asked to quit. He viewed it as an opportunity to get stronger - and tougher.
Honestly, with all the history making up the story of Quinn, he really shouldn't feel the need to ever prove he's tough. He's the kind of quiet strength that is going to surprise us all in the end. I don't think there's anything that can defeat that boy.
That strength doesn't mean he's in ANY way immune to hurt. He's really very sensitive. He sulks and pouts and sometimes withdraws into himself. He spends too much time by himself watching movies or playing video games in his bedroom. He lets things people say or do impact his mood and happiness. Some of that (I hope) is just being 12. Some of that (I pray) is a side-effect of Quinn's caring spirit and a trait he learns to harness to use to his advantage.
I love the way Quinn cares about those around him. He wants people to be happy and he naturally takes care of others. It makes him a great babysitter and friend to his little brothers. Those little guys have no idea how lucky they are to have Quinn in their lives. He pretty equally splits time between helping them in a caretaker role and just playing with them in a buddy role. They light up when he gets home. He seeks them out when he's bored. It's awesome.
Quinn's relationship with Spencer is a bit more complicated. They are so different. Spence hasn't exactly embraced the idea that there is more than one way to be "right" and more than one path that can be described as "success". He has very little patience for the very differences that make Quinn so special. Someday he will figure it out. For now, I know they care about each other and will stick up for one another. The heartfelt, deep talks may have to wait a few years.
This year Quinn gets to kick his shadow-inducing big brother out of the middle school and take his turn as "King of the school". He's likely (based both on age and on that xray of his growth plate we got a while back) going to grow a ton and start shaving and begin the process of boy to man.
I think he will have an explosion of self confidence. I think he will figure out the friends to surround himself with who make him consistently happy. I think he will figure out how to work for the things he wants. I think he'll get them.
For now, though, I am going to focus on making sure he has a really awesome 13th birthday full of chocolate cake and friends and special birthday boy fun! For this week, I want to reflect some of that love and caring he sends out into the world back at him. I want to wish him the very happiest of transitions into the teenage years. I want to give him a ridiculously big hug that matches the ridiculous amount of love I have for our Mighty Quinn!
PS - I'm writing this email from an airplane at about 36k feet on my way home from Scotland. Isn't this big crazy world a wonderful place! This week all boys (all 4 of them) start lacrosse practices. We are busy every day except Tuesdays. If you need any of the Bovenizer's between Monday and the end of May, chances are very good we will be at Sawnee Mt Park.
PSS - obviously I haven't seen Spencer in several days, but all accounts I've gotten are that his recover is going very well. He's into the PT routine and off all pain medicine. All good on the shoulder front!
Have a great week everyone!