Sunday, July 19, 2020

And We Have a Teenager

On Wednesday of last week, we had a birthday.

Our tiny baby Landon turned 13.


We have a teenager. And it is quite awesome.

We celebrated with our traditional decor, donuts with dad, and gift opening. Everyone wore party hats, some with more enthusiasm than others.

We had homemade cards, surprise gifts from little sisters who pooled their money together, thoughtful gifts from a blog reader, and his requested family gifts all of which involved gaming equipment now that he's living in a pandemic and gets to play Fortnite for an hour EVERY DAY instead of only an hour on weekends. (Sigh.)

He immediately shared his sisters' gift of tiny squishies by diving them out among them, because that is just exactly who Landon is.

He spent his day at backyard swim practice, playing with his new toys, talking to family, and getting very excited about his chosen dinner of smoked sausage, homestyle mac and cheese ("from the blue box with the fat noodles"), mixed veggies, strawberries, and Red Lobster cheddar biscuits (also from a box). It might not have been my finest culinary hour, but it was delicious and the birthday boy was thrilled.

His dessert of choice was ice cream from Marble Slab. I did the ordering and everyone ate outside. Landon declared it his favorite birthday cake of all the birthday cakes.

It's so hard to believe that my teeny tiny baby, who gave us such a shock when my water broke in a restaurant in downtown Chicago more than 5 weeks early, is 13. He's more than 2/3 through his years at home with us and that math hit James and I right in the heart.

But he's grown into such an amazing kid and we're so proud of him. As I was cleaning up the kitchen that night I heard James talking to Landon in his room, "You know we're so proud of you Landon, the person you are- your grades, hard work, and commitment to whatever you do, but also how kind you are to your sisters, your generosity, and the way you think about others. You're so special and we love you so much." And I said a very similar version later when I went to tuck him in (we still call it that, though he's been doing the tucking for some time).

One of the most fun and rewarding parts of your kids growing up before your eyes is seeing the little bits of what you value emerge from them. It doesn't all trickle down- and we don't always do the job we wish we did with promoting them- but when he does something like get up early to decorate the table on the 4th of July and make everyone patriotic pancakes as a surprise, I know he's doing that because of all the times we've decorated the table in a homemade kind of way for them. The way he looks out for others, his delight in his family, his adoration of his baby cousins and all small children, the way he's always carefully made presents for all the extended family when we celebrate Christmas together, or how he wrote personalized notes on all his classmates' Valentine's Day cards in elementary school ("you are a fast runner!", "You are a good friend!"), or how he was so worried that the Easter bunny might not respond to Cora's picture on Easter Eve this year that he came and knocked on our door at 10:30 to make sure we had written her back... you get to see little bits of what he's observed and loved reflected back out on others, mixed in with plenty of what makes him him.

He's a sweet soul and even mixed with tweenage boy humor and annoyances, it's been a joy to watch him become himself. Because I really feel like when we look at Landon now, we're looking at the Landon for all time. We have some refining and we certainly hope to remain a source for advice and reflection and thoughts on how to handle all the things, but Landon is mostly who he is.

And as I wrote on his birthday, who is he is is our old soul and first baby, exceedingly kind big brother, and excited holder of all the babies; generous and gentle, lover of animals, maker of pancakes. An avid reader, fast swimmer, and head of the family scooter gang, he’s been waking up at 5:30 am 3x a week to run 3-5 miles before swim practice for reasons I don’t fully understand. Currently obsessed with Moose the cat and still sad we didn’t give him more siblings, we are so blessed to have him as the leader of our little pack and can’t believe it’s been 13 years since he made us parents on a crazy night and early morning in Chicago, IL.

Happiest Birthday baby boy who might still occasionally read this blog, we love you so, and we're so excited to watch you become even more you in the years ahead,


  1. Happy Birthday Landon!!! What a happy, beautiful family you have!

  2. When I was a kid the ONLY way I would eat mac n cheese was when it was made with turkey hot dog slices (not the same, I know) but this just reminded me of my love of it and might add it to the weekly menu for next week, just because! :)
    Hope you guys are having a great week. I just turned 30 last week and in less than a month I buy my first house! I wish I could go back to being 13 sometimes! <3

  3. I am expecting my first baby in a few weeks, this post is so sweet and makes me excited for parenthood.

  4. Wow, I’ve just done the math, and have been following your blog for 1/4 of my life, 90 something percent of Landon’s and 100% of Clare snd Cora’s! It’s been a source of joy to see your lovely children growing up!

  5. It’s been a joy to watch him grow and change from the earliest days through your blog and feel like I “know” this dear boy of yours. You must be beaming sigh pride!!! Also, I feel you on the Fortnite. It’s the actual worst. We’ve settled on 5 games a day bc God forbid the time stops in the middle of a game.