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Friday, January 5, 2018

Fourteen


Today, Hannah Ruth, you are turning fourteen.

This post is harder to write, knowing how many of your friends now read my blog, but you still wanted it written. I appreciate that you know we both get something out of this exercise. After all, you're grown up enough to see this from my point of view, which is crazy enough on its own. Grown up in so many ways, and yet so far still to go, and high school looming.

So, thirteen. I will never stop saying it: your bat mitzvah was one of the best days of my life, and I think it was for you too. Our day in New York City seeing "Waitress" with Sara Bareilles, eating cheesecake at Junior's and somewhat-enjoying a Starbuck's "Unicorn Frappuccino" is hopefully going to become an annual tradition (without the gross drink - iced coffee instead). You were Ginger in "Zombie Prom" and a conspirator in "The Tragicomedy of Julia Casear," and loved singing with the Troubadours, HaZaPrep and at Junior Districts. You won a poetry slam at school, and went to your first protest. Camp is life, and you live 10 for 2, but still manage to cram so much into the 10.

You have moved on from Converse to Adidas, and wear string bracelets until they break. Your eyeliner game is strong. You are telling me in March that you would go on to win Zimriyah in July, as if there were any question (and you did). You are mostly straight A's but accelerated math sometimes kicks both of our butts. You are too many friends to count, but your Bowen #squad remains true, even with one of you now in Spain. You are always there for your brother, and he is always there for you.

My wish for you as you grow another year older is that you believe in the worth of your own voice. Not just its capacity to hit certain notes with true clarity, but that you believe your words and opinions are always worth being heard, no matter who the audience may be. Speak, sing, chant, belt, cheer, scream, and when needed, wail. And know that I always want to listen. I love you so much, Hanniebelle. Happy 14.

(You can also see letters for ages seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

Ten


Today, Max Benjamin, you are turning ten.

Ten feels completely and utterly ridiculous and totally appropriate at the same time. You are not the little boy that Facebook's "On This Day" feature slays me with on a regular basis, with memories of your adorable *and* not-so adorable behavior from years ago. But 10? Dude, that sounds just so very old for my little buddy to be.

Nine was the year where you and I finally seemed to figure each other out, and where the sarcastic edge to your humor got a chance to blossom. You chanted Ashrei at Hannah's bat mitzvah beautifully, and started both guitar and flute lessons. We saw "Wicked" and watched the witch fly during "Defying Gravity," and you were a zebra and a hyena in "The Lion King" this summer. You received your siddur, loved camp, participated in a magician's act and won over 500 tickets in a claw machine.  You love singing, with a solo at Zimriyah, Guys in Ties, and especially anything by Imagine Dragons while doing Karaoke during school choir. I really hope you write that song you'll sing your whole life long #thegreatestshowman.

You're so proud of the fact that you've watched all of "Stranger Things" and it wasn't even that scary. Your biggest goal right now is to become a gaming YouTuber, and you watch several of your favorite channels every day (look for Max's channel in 2018!). You love to discuss Minecraft and Roblox and Harry Potter in excruciating detail - honestly, you love to discuss EVERYTHING in excruciating detail. Your hugs are still epic and you've developed a reputation for them. You have more friends than ever, but your sister is still one of your best ones.

And now you're 10. You're ready for it, and so am I. I can't wait to see you fly as John in "Peter Pan," and I hope you know that however high you want to fly, I'll always be here to help you soar. I'm so glad you're you. Happy birthday, buddy. I love you.

(You can also see letters for ages three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.)