What a year we have had. Adventures in New York City and the Grand Canyon. You got to see Pat and Vanna up close. You lost your two front teeth. You got to see the Liberty Bell and walk in the footsteps of our country’s founding fathers. You visited an Amish schoolhouse and wrote your name on their chalkboard. You won the Reflections film contest for your entire district. For the second year in a row!!! You spent the night in a museum. And a library. You even got to write an email in the Statue of Liberty and see your first show on Broadway. Not a bad year I’d say.
You are beginning to assert your independence and let your voice be heard. Which can be frustrating (when it’s directed at me) and cool to see at the same time. You are beginning to see that you are different. You are different than other kids your age. You don’t like sports as much as other boys. You would rather use your imagination at recess or stay inside and color in your journal at home. And you are beginning to experience that others who don’t have enough confidence in who they are will point out your differences to make them feel better about themselves. That’s been hard. For both of us.
But I want you to know and understand that it’s those things that make you different that are what I love most about you. That’s what makes you you. Those are the things that I would never, ever in a million years change about you.
Never stop believing in things you can’t see. Build your Dinotopia. Discover new dragons. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Your imagination is fascinating and is one of the things I love most about you. Never, ever lose your sense of wonder.
Never stop caring. Your heart is huge. Maybe too huge. You feel all the feels. This also means when you hurt you hurt hard. But don’t let that stop you from loving hard either.
Never stop reading. You have become a voracious reader this year. Always read for fun. Even when you are in college and it becomes pleasure reading. Reading opens up even more new worlds. Worlds you never knew existed.
Never stop questioning the world around you. I will admit it. Your endless questions might get on my nerves sometimes. And your questions are getting harder for me to answer. But it’s great leaders who question the world around them and I see qualities of a great leader in you.
Never stop being kind. B, you are the kindest kid I have ever known. When I overhear you say something nice just because, my heart bursts. When I see you give a hug to someone you know just needs it, it makes me so happy. You are a kind soul. I would like to take credit for this, but it’s something that’s innate in your being. Don’t ever be too cool to be your kind self.
If every single boy in this whole entire world was lined up shoulder to shoulder and I was allowed to pick out one to be mine, I would pick you every single time, Brayden Bittel. Every single time. You might challenge me and you might cause me many sleepless nights but there is no one I’d rather lose sleep over than you (and your sister). You make me a better person. You complete me.
Thank you for being mine, Brayden. I love you more than all the stars in the sky.