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Blake's thirteen year old poem:

Blake is Thirteen

Blake,

Thirteen.
The beat of time keeps on drumming
You're not a little kid anymore
And I really like what you're becoming
I like what's been, and what's in store
I think you're turning into a fine young man
As does your mom who,
by the way
is your Biggest Fan,

Thankfully you've avoided thus far
(which is good, because we like you just as you are)
Those teenage tendencies of which we've heard tell
Say, for instance, amping up the drama, or retreating into a shell
Or taking on the eye-rolling, know-everything stance
Of many upon entering the teenage dance
When you're a teen, change comes at you with both barrels
But so far you've avoided the twin perils
Of not growing up or - worse -
trying to grow up too fast
So don't do that, because
before you know it these years will have passed
So enjoy them!
Hey Blake - you're a teen at last!

Thirteen falls somewhere between
playing with toy trucks and driving a real one
(a red F150, I believe it is
- well someday)
Somewhere between
Watching professional players on the field and
who knows? Maybe becoming one yourself
one day

It's been a great year
We've had fun
Disney was awesome, and you guys did so well
And you would have been number one
At least that's what I think,
short of the opening, shaky, windy game, you dominated
And to teams all over, you demonstrated
The stubborn possession, speed and footability
Of Texans football, which they had zero probability
of defeating,
As Texan cheers erupted
from the fancy stadium seating

You brought that magic left foot
To the Junior High gridiron
Kicking field goals in the clutch
With that practiced, soccer touch
Though two sports at once was very draining
Going straight from pigskin practice to soccer training
You persevered, and saw it through
And finished strong
I was so proud of you
Because having the discipline and fortitude to complete what you've begun
And never quit, these are traits that will see life's battles won
So that chapter successfully closed, my young lad
You've since been working out in the athletics hall
And though it made your coach mad,
that you didn't go out for basketball
I think that decision was wise, after all
It's good to concentrate on only one sport for awhile
Especially with the intensity that is Coach Lee
Driving you all to be more Hos-tile, A-gile, and Mo-bile
to be the best you can be
Of the athletics crop, you're the cream
And it must be nice
To be the kid everyone wants on their team

We've kept up our own home-grown competition too
Basketball out in the front, mano y mano, me and you
Every year I seem to lose a step,
and I'm not catching much air
While you whisk around me, throwing up a prayer
That somehow goes in, well, I can still out-body you
And during the game I might get a block (or a flagrant foul) or two
But it doesn't seem to change the outcome
or detract from your goal
Of stylishly taking the soul to the hole
With moves that are designed to astonish and bewilder
While I remain flat-footed
. . . maybe a tad out of shape
. . .not moving too fast
Fulfilling my role as your confidence-builder

Aside from sports stardom, you've also been working
On a nascent song and dance career
I'd be remiss to not mention your first shot at fame
Singing the national anthem at the Rockets game
Part of a large choir, but there can be no doubt
That to us you were the one that stood out
Singing and dancing, I think it's your calling
- at least in the family room,
with your mom (your Biggest Fan) watching
Right on the spot, composing your songs
and raps, complete with your trademark grooves
And hip hop moves
it all just comes so naturally
Doo.
Dah.
Dippity.

Enjoy this time, and what you get to experience
In this period between the boy and the man
as much as you can

There is so much to look forward to
Eighth grade's coming, and you'll be top of the heap
Near the summit of the mountain, and though it's been steep
Junior high will be almost over, and eighth grade is king
But for now, let's focus on the Spring
It's coming soon, the Dallas Cup!
What an honor to be selected, you guys will mix it up
with the best of the best, and we know you'll do great
And then into the summer. Ah summer!
It will be a splendid time for sure
Because it will be followed
by the European soccer tour
We'll see some great Futbol
And we'll play some too
And show those Euro-ballers
What ballers from Texas can do

You've grown a lot this year
Though it's tempting to miss the carefree days
of just being a kid,
Growing out of childhood means facing new challenges
And new pressures,
and face them you did
At school, at home, in relationships, and on the sports field
It all just adds to the sense of adventure
For one who's covered in goodness and mercy, and Spirit-sealed
From the pressure of kicking field goals
with a hundred people watching (and tense!)
To playing in high-stakes soccer tournaments
As part of the final defense
To tests and schedules
In the midst of everything that went right
And anything that went wrong
You have stood firm
And I know You will stand strong

So, what are you learning?
I pray it all begins to make sense
You've been built a certain way, with a strong yearning
To win, to succeed always
And that's a good thing, it's how you're made
For a purpose,
so never trade
That inner drive. God put it there
In a world where complacency and
doing "just enough" is everywhere
The struggle (and it's a good one)
Is simply to keep it all in balance
And purpose it for God's use
All your hopes and dreams, and skills and talents
All these traits will serve you well
in any situation that you're in
For in life, like soccer, you have to play tough every minute
If you really want to win
Always try your best, but know that
some trust in chariots, and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord
Fill your mind and heart with Him
and tune your life in full accord
With His ways, and you will never lack
Be brave, because life requires courage
Always know that we're cheering you on
and that the Lord has got your back
Trust in God, and trust who you are in Him
You are not left alone,
in the last line of defense
He has you covered
Closer than any other
A Friend that sticks closer than a brother
So rely on God in all things
For a young man who waits on Him
Will not grow weary, but will rise up on wings
Like an Eagle.

For your life does not rise and fall
upon success on the field,
position in the lineup,
Or any number of circumstances or works
But rather in fulfilling the call
And daily living
in the grace of God
Unearned, unmerited, but freely given
With manhood now another step closer
The song of your life
crafted by the Great Composer
With its strong rhythm, the clever rhyme
Is one of my favorite songs
of all time
So press onward, to know and to be known
Keeping yourself and your head in the game
Never ever (ever!) forsaken, never alone
Persevering to the end, as one called by His Name
For life will bring changes
and the temporary will come and go, it's true
But the Lord is forever
And because He is,
so are you!

Happy Birthday!
I love you Blake-man,

Dad
March 22, 2011