Sunday, January 1, 2023


Today, Max Benjamin, you are turning fifteen. 

It’s the second birthday post in a row (third overall) where you’re pictured with a guitar in your hands, but frankly, it’s when you’re the happiest and most yourself. But getting to see you share yourself musically over the last year has been a real highlight for me too. You and I, we’re a little band of two around the house now. I’m glad you’ll still go to shows and movies with me. And thank goodness we still have Shira to anthropomorphize together. 

You’ve read Torah a lot, continued as a madrich and at Teen Beit Midrash, and added HaZamir. You were “just a Bill,” a role that only you could have played so well, and then you were elected to the South Student Senate. You found a new community at South Stage and new strong friendships and deepened old ones in jazz band. And somehow, you got super into the World Cup, and let me enjoy watching every moment of the (very long, suspenseful) final match with you. Camp is still your happy place, but the comfort you have in who you are really allows you to be happy, wherever you are. You never seem to doubt yourself, which is something I really admire. 

You’ve added tomatoes to your favorite turkey sandwiches this year, and taught yourself how to make fresh pasta. You hate reminders to brush your hair and do your homework (I’m going to remind you anyway). You’re balancing your time between all of the things you want to do, including having a social life, with your need for downtime. You’re learning to live without Hannah right at your side, though she’s thankfully only a FaceTime away. And Shira is still the most bestest princess, the president, founder and only student at Couch University, and never enough. 

Just keep going. You are one of the most interesting people I know, never without something to say or share. I am so lucky to be on this journey with you, and to learn as much from you as you do from me. Happy birthday, buddy. I love you so much. 

(You can also see letters for ages threefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelvethirteen and fourteen.)