Dear Tate,

Today you turn 10-years-old. What a decade! What a life you are living! I am so grateful for your sweet nature and kind soul. This year has obviously been a challenging one as a parent, but you make it easy, buddy. You are always looking for ways to help and ease the burden on others. A few months ago, you came up to me after a long day and said you had a surprise. You had created an entire spa in our living room, complete with pillows on the floor as a bed, soft music, candles and even plants and greenery. You then told me to lay down and put an iPad in front of my face playing episodes of the show “Parks and Recreation.” You rubbed my back and even had a bowl of candy corn next to me, in case I was hungry. The whole thing was just lovely, perfect, charming and completely encompasses who you are.

For Christmas this year, it wasn’t your own gifts that you cared about, but the gifts you purchased for others. You were bursting with excitement to give me a giant, wrapped gift you had put under the tree. Turns out, during a trip to Target with your grandma, you saw a painting you decided I had to have. You told Grammy, “My mom deserves this, she does so much for everyone else.” The painting is now hanging in my living room and it’s a constant reminder of your giving heart. I love it.

You have persevered this year during a time that has been so difficult. You have been out of school since last March, finishing 3rd grade at home and now doing 4th grade remotely from home as well. This wasn’t an easy choice for our family, and I’ve worried so much about what this choice means for your development, both academically and socially. But the upside is that I’ve spent more time with you (and your sister) this year than ever before. We are together almost constantly. I have discovered so much about how you learn, and I know this will benefit us even after the pandemic is over.

You have also missed out on your activities, which were a huge part of your daily life before COVID. This year you played baseball, but that was it in terms of team sports. Gone were the days of running from one activity to the next, and while sometimes we all enjoyed the reprieve, you also missed it a lot. And even when you did get to play, it was so different. No more team dinners or pizza parties or hang outs after games. Instead there were masks, distancing, and lots of Clorox wipes. But you did what you always do…you kept smiling. You enjoyed the time you got with your teammates and did your best to keep learning and growing.

I’m so, so proud of you, Tate. I cannot believe that you are 10, and how much you’ve changed in the last year. I am so grateful to get to be your mama (and now, your teacher too!). I wouldn’t want to spend this pandemic year with anyone else. I love you, bud.



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