From Jesse's brother:
I think you knew you’d get something at least a little special for your birthday. If you didn’t then you need more confidence in your ability to raise children. Most of my development has been under your parental rule and I have everything to thank you for. I guess that means I’m really confident with how awesome I am, but I’m equally thankful for awesome you are. There is nothing in this world I need to thank more than you for my success. That brings me to how sorry I am I wasn’t even a little bit better for you. I should be a lot more proactive with work around the house, maybe since you look 30 I think you can do chores for me like you’re 30. I won’t promise you improvement but I’ll definitely have these thoughts in my mind the next time you ask me to do something for you.
You are an amazing mom and a great person, and you need to hear that from me. I know I criticize a lot, but that’s one of YOUR traits. ;-) I should be telling you how I’m never embarrassed to bring some friends to my house because of how clean it is (mostly you, a little Dan) and how cool my mom is. I can brag to my friends that my mom lets me out late all the time because she knows I’m not doing drugs or anything, and she trusts me. I also brag about my scholarship, which I have you to thank for. I also have you to thank for advising me to go to Hunter College, instead of City College. That’s a decision that I’m glad we made. Being only 15 minutes away from school is better than anything, I can walk there in an hour if I wanted to, but the train ride is so much easier than what it would have been at City College. Thank you so much mom.
I guess even past what “mistakes” I think you’ve made, I’ve still been something of a Momma’s boy to you still. That’s because of how many good decisions you’ve made, decisions that even a teenage boy can agree with. You were always willing to defend your punishment, that’s one of the key reasons I learned from them. If you had said “Because I said so” I would have done the exact same thing again. That’s another thing I can brag about, you teach teachers how to deal with kids because you know how to be a good parent. You’ve been better than any parent I’ve met and that is important to my confidence in coming to you with a problem. Problems like M****, school, etc. You were always ready to pause or mute TV just to talk to me and that was really important. You even kept that secret of mine when Jesse, Grace, Chelsea and I snuck out at camp with Dad one day, and we saw a skunk and got driven back to camp. Thanks for that too.
I didn’t originally intend for this letter to be one big thank you but I guess in turned out that way. It’s something you deserve though, and I wish I could have built up the incentive to do it before your birthday. I think I’m going to email it to you while you’re at work, so I can giggle a little bit knowing you cried in front of your co-workers.