Schroeder turned fourteen in March. He celebrated by inviting a dozen boys and girls over to the house for pizza, a trip to DQ, and some sardines despite the cold, rainy, dark conditions. I was nervous about someone slipping and cracking their head.
I was reading Schroeder's birthday post from last year and realized not much has changed. He's still that competitive boy who is eager to get better at sports. He's playing on two soccer teams this spring. I hear him often in the backyard kicking his soccer ball against the fence. He's hoping to make the Shortridge team in the fall.
He still prefers math and neglects his art assignments. He's still growing, now taller than his oldest sister.
He still has a strong voice when he's in front of a crowd or cracking a joke and a voice that falters in a more emotionally charged situation or asking for something he wants. He was loud and clear when leading community meetings and during his community project presentation. Sometimes, though, he'll come into my room and pause and I'll have to invite him to spit his thoughts out and then repeat them louder.
He told me recently that he really just wanted to be the best at one thing among his peers. I relate to this desire, but I've also discovered it's a trap.
He's headed to high school in the fall. It was clear where he would go, but I fretted over it anyway. Did he want to tour other options? Would any of his friends join him? Schroeder made his comfort in the choice clear by wearing the Shortridge bracelet and T-shirt he received regularly. It turns out that quite a few of his friends and classmates will join him.
A week before his birthday, I had the chance to chaperone his trip to Camp Tecumseh. I'm grateful he was happy to have me along. While we were there, his gym teacher told me that he was always up to play any game or invest in an activity...even the dumb ones. His kindergarten teacher and fellow 8th grade mom said he should earn a scholarship for his high ropes course skills.
At Christmas, we bought him a phone. We normally wait for High School to start, but there was a sale. Also, his birthday doesn't happen to fall at the beginning of the school year, and I wasn't going to buy him Christmas and birthday gifts AND then a phone. He's playing a lot of chess on it. He also has a 150 day streak on Duolingo. Both sound like smart uses of time but not when they distract you at school.
We love this boy.