Thirteen is wanting to be a fireman when you grow up, just as you've been planning for the past couple of years, and still rocking that Fireman Max hat.
Thirteen is being a caring big brother. When I told you that I was bringing Ben to your bowling birthday party, you held your hands over your ears and said, "Loud!" but I reassured you we'd stay in a quiet room.
Thirteen is loving school so much that you get upset when there are days off for a teacher conference.
Thirteen is trying to get out of doing homework by saying that you're tired.
Thirteen is being mature enough to remind your mom when she forgets to give you the ear drops that the doctor recommended.
Thirteen is still enjoying Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Thirteen is understanding that you have cerebral palsy and not caring.
Thirteen is poking fun at what you know you're supposed to be doing, like when you say "Thank you!" instead of "Excuse me!" whenever you burp, with a wise guy smile on your face.
Thirteen is being adventurous about exploring new restaurants, new places, new activities, new cities and of course, new firehouses.
Thirteen is understanding the importance of hair gel.
Thirteen is needing to know when Daddy is coming home from work.
Thirteen is being better at navigating your iPad speech app than your parents are.
Thirteen is loving showering.
Thirteen is starting to understand the nuances of interacting with people, like saying "Ohhhh!" or "Wow!" or "OMG!" when told something interesting or "That's nice!" when your mom wears something new.
Thirteen is getting ticked off at your younger sister for teasing you and roaring at her.
Thirteen is appreciating it when your younger sister helps you on the computer, opens stuff for you or otherwise lends you a hand.
Thirteen is informing your parents, whenever you want something, that it can be ordered off amazon.com
Thirteen is that squeal you let out when you're excited about something.
Thirteen is letting the occupational therapist know exactly what you'd like to do during your session: build a firehouse out of cardboard boxes.
Thirteen is announcing that you are going to marry that girl on the school bus. And that girl at school.
Thirteen is eating and drinking independently, no more bamboozling Marshmallow Daddy into assisting you. Well, most times.
Thirteen is getting into texting.
Thirteen is regularly telling people about your favorite things—bowling, the color red, the movie Planes Fire and Rescue, stuffed shells—and making a list of them for handy referral.
Thirteen is broaching concepts that are hard for any of us to understand. The other day, you told me you had the best daddy in the world. Then you asked me about my father and I said yes, he was a great dad. Then you asked me where he was and I said he had died. You said, "Awwwwww." You made a rocking motion with your hands and I realized you were wondering if he would come back as a baby. I said, "No, when you die you do not come back" and I saw your wheels spinning and we left it at that.
Thirteen is encouraging your mom and dad to kiss after they've had an argument.
Thirteen is insisting on getting a haircut.
Thirteen is truly meaning it when you ask your mom "How are you?"
You are one unique thirteen, Fireman Max. I'm so, so, so proud of you. I hope this year brings all the good things.