My oldest turned twelve on Thursday. Twelve. I am feeling a bit old right now and a little nostalgic. O’s breakfast request of the morning was homemade chocolate-chip scones. After a long day of school and homework, nana and grandad surprised us by showing up and taking all of us out to the new I-Hop (O’s favorite). Red velvet cake was consumed quickly and then gift wrappings were all over the place.

The young man you see above has been a joy and a treasure his whole life. (Not counting the major reflux and sleep issues!)  Let’s see, how would I describe him:

Adorable. Kind-hearted. Caring. A mini Mr. Spock. Old-soul. Crazy-scary intelligent. Happy. Introverted. Analytical, Computer Brain!

What I love most about this kiddo growing up is that he is constantly surprising us. O was diagnosed with Aspergers/High-Functioning Autism when he was 4. We were lucky in the fact that he is so high functioning that IEP’s or therapy has never been needed. It is a diagnosis that his teachers know about, but it’s not something we think about. But we knew something unique was happening when this cutie taught himself how to read when he was 3. Every new test or challenge he mastered to near perfection after obsessing over it forever! It was just his way. But as he’s grown older, I notice the repetition slowing down and the curiosity speeding up. He is our computer brain.

Now at 12 and in the 6th grade, he’s really starting to surprise us.

Most of his younger years were spent playing soccer and Cub Scouts. That’s all he wanted to do. Then at 11 he decided he was done with soccer and wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument. So we welcomed a shiny trombone into the family. He plays to perfection, being 1st chair all first semester and still going strong. Then last month, he comes home from school wanting to join the FFA (Future Farmers of America). That about floored us. For kids like O, this is not logical. Learning to care for the well-being of an animal. Rubbing the new pig down, cleaning it’s stall, getting dirty. O doesn’t like getting too dirty. He’s 12 now though, he reminds me, so it’s all good.

So my young son, going from memorizing patterns, repeating phrases, only eating certain foods, watching the Wal-Mart doors open and close a dozen times before we went in has disappeared. A new ‘tween’ is now in his place. This young man loves reading huge novels, playing his trombone, taking care of farm animals, going camping with his Scout Troop and playing electronic games.

So while it’s sad  to see my little baby growing up, it’s a proud and joyous time for us as a family to see the young man he is becoming and knowing how lucky the world is to have such a amazing creature on it.

Happy Birthday Chilli-Dog!!


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