Happy 13th Birthday, Casey

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Our beautiful boy is 13-years-old. This morning he opened his gifts and we took him out to breakfast. Later this afternoon we are taking him skateboarding, then he wants sushi and then we are headed to the Elam's annual Christmas party. I wanted to take a moment to write Casey a letter so he can look back and see what his twelth year was like.

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Dear Casey

Oh how I love you, my sweet ginger-haired boy. You have dealt with some heavy stuff this year and your Dad and I are so thrilled at your commitment to being happy and healthy. We are here to support you and love you through anything. This getting older stuff isn't easy, but with love, anything is possible.

As your parents this year we learned that giving you more space isn't always what you need. You need us to be aware of what is challenging you and help. You need us to take away the stress of making certain decisions and give you tools to deal with challenges.  You need us to help you learn healthy routines so you can navigate this complicated world. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for being patient with us, sometimes it takes us a bit to figure out what you need, but we ALWAYS want to help. Thank you for asking for what you need. You are so wise.

Dude, you are an incredible artist and now you are rocking the guitar too. You are getting straight A's and are in all honor classes, which is so great, but feel free to relax. We don't expect anything other than you to do your best. You love skateboarding are starting to really like clothes too. We love your sweet friendship with Lilly and are so grateful to her for being such a great friend to you.

You and Erik are fighting a lot lately like brothers do, but remember that you are older and he looks up to you. Please be a bit more patient and less controlling of him. Let me be his Mom. Just be his brother and friend.

We are so lucky to be your parents. Thank you for choosing us. You have helped our dreams come true and we will forever smother you in kisses because of the amazing love you have given our lives.

Love,

Mom

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And now for a walk down memory lane. I wanted to add a few photos from Casey's first few days. The picture of Bob holding Casey is so timely that tonight is the Elam party. Bob had been recovering from open heart surgery and I too was recovering from a c-section. I got home on Dec.24 and the Elam party in 2004 was on Dec. 26th, so we stopped by with Casey. It seems crazy now to me that I went out to a party with a newborn and sutures, but I've always done crazy things. Many relatives that are in these pictures are no longer with us and it is so wonderful to remember them holding our sweet new baby.