Published for Motherhood Matters on – Click HERE for the link

In honor of your 14th birthday, I came up with several reasons why I’m glad you’ll be hanging around the house for at least a few more years.

Thanks for engaging in fake punching matches with your 5-year-old brother, who is clearly in boy heaven during such altercations. I know there are times when I don’t seem grateful for the punching — like at the dinner table — but I’ve come to understand its intrinsic value and even feel apologetic for not fake punching you at the age of 5. It simply never crossed my mind.

I’m glad you’re able to recognize teaching opportunities, like when you saw your brother kissing me loudly and repeatedly on the cheeks. Knowing that I am completely out of touch and would never think to address the issue of smooching as it pertained to being cool, you stepped right in and warned, “Dude, that’s not going to win you any cool points!”

Speaking of cool points, the treasure hunt you created for your 8-year-old sister earned you a few thousand. I’m sorry I interfered by suggesting you choose something from my stash of grab-n-go gifts to use as the treasure instead of what you had originally intended.

Having been a girl for some time now, I had a hunch that a gift bath set would go over better than a note that said, “Sorry. You’re totally out of luck. There’s no treasure.” Even if the note had been wrinkled and rubbed and worn to aged perfection.

I can only imagine how hard it was for you to knowingly sabotage a perfectly good prank, so I’m giving you two thumbs up for deferring to your mom on this one and hoping there will come a day when you’ll thank me for interfering.

The ear piercing tutorial you gave your sister is another example of your uncanny ability to seize ideal teaching moments when they present themselves. You must have remembered that I wasn’t keen on your sister getting her ears pierced quite yet, because you jumped right in to help me out when she asked, “How exactly do they pierce ears?”

Your explanation left me at a loss for words.

It seems the inexperienced ear piercers often have trouble with their aim, which explains the plethora of lip and nose piercings out there. This could be unfortunate, you explained, because brand-new ear piercers are often assigned to the 8-year-old girls who walk into the store. But there’s always a bright side; if anything except for ears happens to get pierced, it’s absolutely and completely free.

Nice job dissuading your sister — her interest in having pierced ears has waned significantly. My efforts up to that point had paled in comparison.

So many times I’ve happened upon you being truly compassionate, kind and helpful. But for the sake of protecting your dignity, I promise to keep all such instances under wraps.

I’m sorry that I’ve shown some irritation with your altered communication methods. A little slow on the uptake, I’m finally beginning to understand your new language. For instance, I no longer feel sad when I you answer with only a short, “OK,” after I tell you I love you.

Because I understand what you really mean. Of course you love me — and will actually be able to use those words to tell me at some point — but now is simply not the time.

For now, it’s not going to win you any cool points.

I get it.