Happy 13th Birthday. An Open Letter.
We wanted a strong name that oozed Southern charm. A name that would never be mispronounced…. We agonized for weeks and then it hit us. Mason Layne Justice. Mason came straight off a canning jar. Layne came straight off the bull rider, Lane Frost. Justice came from the grace of God allowing me to marry and reproduce with a smoking Southern hottie with the best last name this side of the Mason Dixon line. Hallelujah. I can’t imagine a better name for the boy who is now just about to turn 13 years old. Mason Layne Justice, ya’ll. He’s as tall and skinny as a Georgia pine. He has a “Yes Ma’am and a “No Sir” that drips with Southern drawl that is sweet as sorghum syrup. His boots are filthy, his mouth is clean. His ladies first manners and golden hair flip has the girls weak in the knees and breaking out in hives, but for this short time, his heart still belongs to his Mama. If there is a job to do, he is excited for the challenge. Nothing makes him happier than a sweaty hard days work, except to go hunting, fishing, or shoot skeet. He learned how to be the man of the house a long time ago. He welcomes responsibility with pride. He takes Jesus and firearms dead serious. He is funny as all get out. Mason….he just gets it.
If you ask him, he would probably tell you that being a man means a giant crop of armpit hair. He whole heartedly believes one morning he is going to wake up with a full beard down to his chest, just like his Daddy. I looked up the word “Man” on my dictionary app and this is what I came up with. Man- adult male person as distinguished from a boy, a male having qualities considered typical of a man, having manly character and courage. Holy crap. Mason is a man. In character anyway. He is still working on a giant crop of armpit hair. Our relationship has always been honest and we spend a lot of time talking. I really don’t know of a subject we haven’t covered. I’ve tried to think about what I want to say to him as he approaches his teen years. What came to mind seems sorta random….
On I love you’s…. I see that kids your age are into telling their sweetheart “Oh Bae, I love you so much!” Mason, do not give yourself away so easily. I think what kids mean when they say “Oh Bae, I love you so much” is “I think your super cute and I enjoy hanging out with you.” Son, someday you will fall in love. When you do, you want those words to really count. Save them. They matter. Oh and Son, bae is the danish word for poop. Don’t call your girlfriend poop.
On being friendly… Success is measured by how you treat others. Jesus said the most important thing we can do is love people. Love them even if they are unlovable. Remember, no matter how smart you are, how funny you are, or how cute you are, it doesn’t make a hill of beans if you’re a jerk.
On teeth, church and punctuation… There are no words to describe how important these 3 things are. Take care of your teeth and keep them sparkling clean. Never stop going to church. Always use punctuation, even in texting, Instagram and Facebook posts.
On gifts… Every gift that you are given is meant to be used for the Lord. He didn’t give you the gift of music for no reason. Use it for His honor and glory. Sometimes musicians can have big fat egos. Don’t have a big fat ego. Remember what I said earlier. Don’t be a jerk. Also, you may be surprised to discover other gifts God has given you as you continue to grow. Sometimes He allows us to open our gifts at different times. I didn’t start writing until I was 37 years old. So who knows what kinds of stuff God has up His fancy sleeve for you!
On being you… God created you to be you and nobody else. You can only reach your full potential by being yourself.
On excuses… Son, don’t make excuses. Make it happen. Nobody ever got anywhere by doing nothing. Whenever God opens a door walk through that joker boldly. You gotta to take risks. Guess what else? You learn the most through failure. Get your butt back up and try again. No whining allowed.
On a mother’s love… Mason, it would brake your Mama’s heart if you married a yankee. But guess what? I’d get over it. Son, there is nothing you can do that will make me love you less. Me and your Daddy will always have your back. You will never, ever out grow our love, encouragement….and guidance. We will always be here for you.
Happy 13th Birthday. I sure do love who you are.
Oh and also remember that no matter how much bigger you are than me, I can always spank your butt.