We'll have a teenager in this house on Sunday and trying to explain how this feels is hard to do. Every milestone in parenting is important and we have been flying through them recently. Kids reading, losing teeth, tying shoes, using checking accounts, and more. We're out of the baby years and seem to be diving head first into the "big kid" world. And, while I usually go into each stage kicking and screaming, I'm - for the first time ever - embracing this new life. No diapers or car seats. Kids can buckle themselves in on their own. They sleep 12 hours a night. Everyone is in school all day. It's all together amazing!
But, with each change, I pause and think back to how all of this started. This crazy little Starnes family.....with all its quirks and faults and challenges and blessings......all began with a little boy named Carter. He gave us a life we never could have prepared for, filled with joy and laughter in equal measure.
He has his father's sense of acceptance and flexibility, adapting as we moved around the country....built, bought and sold houses.....started new adventures......gave him siblings. They share a laid back attitude towards life. They share a name. They have a similar sense of humor.
He looks a whole lot like me, people say.....a little Clemens, no doubt. He's inherited my love for books. And, even with his laid back persona, he embraces life and lives it fully. I'd like to think he got that from me, too.
Carter is whip smart with a 4.0, he's a super athlete, he's popular and funny and sensitive and loving in a way I didn't know sons could be. He's a lot like Lainey and not much at all like Jack, yet, they've forged a friendship I had not anticipated.
What I like most about this child is that he has mastered a quality that few can do well even in adulthood. He's confident, yet humble. With all his blessings and talents, he remains approachable, kind and a good friend to many. That makes me most proud.
So, here's to 13 years of Blake Carter Starnes.
May the next 13 be just as exciting!