Happy 17th Birthday, Bode James

Dear Bub,
I can’t believe you’re 17 today! We both agree that compared to birthdays past, this milestone isn’t an exciting one…except that you’re one year away from adulting when everything will change. I can’t begin to process what this year has meant. The good, the hard, the growth. You are a wonderful young man and first and foremost, we are incredibly proud of you for the choices you make and the person you are becoming.

Junior year was supposed to be YOUR year with big goals academically and athletically as you raced on the mountain bike and ski teams. You learned to push your body to extremes with long sessions with the Nordic team and 30+ mile rides with friends. You were posed to move up in the ranking and set the goal to podium…until God had other plans.

You were diagnosed with MALS (median arcuate ligament syndrome) after experiencing extreme stomach pain during your second bike race in Cedar City. Those following months were filled with appointments with our surgeon Dr. Fenton. Imaging. Radiology. Gastroenterology. Behavioral health. Surgery in December and a painful Christmas break as you began your 6-12 month recovery. It has been a lot and you have evolved so much as a person.

By your side the whole time was Pablo who looked up to you as a big brother. Your friendship with him was easy and seamless. You grafted him into your friends, selflessly cheered on his successes and ruled him and all of us at Settlers of Catan until the very end…which

It was a record-breaking snow year which meant a lot of really tough days at the Ranch  clearing snow, chipping ice, navigating collapsed pens and hauling off dead animals. You helped shovel and sandbag our house. You’ve always been a hard worker but you learned to dig really deep this year.

There was lots of play, too. You had some epic powder days at Park City Mountain, learned to catch some air at Woodward and, when you couldn’t race with the comp team at SoHo, coached Kickers and Gliders. I joined in the fun by trailing your classes at the back and loved seeing you in action as a beloved and competent coach. One of my very favorite moments of this year was seeing you and Pablo dress up and race in the end-of-season obstacle race in all its ridiculousness.

Trips included Crested Butte mountain biking last summer and your impressive showing at Glenwood Adventure Park’s Speleobox Cave Simulator, a claustrophobic maze through an 8 x 12-foot box.  We went to Moab for fall break, hiking around Arches National Park and biking everywhere else. We did a Thanksgiving daytrip to Goblin Valley and San Rafael Swell. Campouts with the Priests Quorum. And then Spring Break was in Carmel, Monterey and Big Sur with a quick stop in Vegas before crashing at the Severson’s fancy vacation rental in St. George for pool play, caving and marveling at Gunlock State Park’s insane waterfalls. Trek with Ma and Pa Partridge and an unforgettable 500-mile ATV excursion for High Adventure.

There were a thousand little moments this year. Dressing up as Axl Rose for Halloween. Riding in a private jet after your Cedar City race to take Carley to Homecoming. Etiquette date night at Bishop’s. Hockey nights at the Midway rink. Dancing the choreographed Promenade “Until I Found You” with Kimber at Prom. Sweethearts dance with her and all your buddies…and the coolest photo shoot ever on very frozen Deer Creek Reservoir. Getting called as Bishop Price’s assistant. Teaching a lesson in Priests quorum and having Bishop privately tell us it was one of the best he has ever heard a youth give.

You’re not back to pre-MALS “normal.” Last fall, you went from being insanely motivated kid with the goal to bike 1,000 miles to being so fatigued you didn’t want to work out at all (and yet somehow managed to maintain straight As the entire time).

Dad bought you a secondhand exercise bike to help with recovery that sat unused for a couple of months. After several weeks of doing nothing, your alarm went off before the crack of dawn and I could hear you dragging himself over to that bike. You later told me if you were too tired to ride at the end of his day, you would ride in the mornings.

You did two separate rides that day, riding almost 30 miles. You achieved that 1,000 mile mark and gosh darn it if I don’t get emotional thinking about this incredibly difficult journey you’ve been on.  It’s hard when you can no longer fix things as a parent but you’re figuring it out. You’re learning some really invaluable lessons on resilience, turning to God, and trusting in the process while slowly adapting to this new terrain as you navigate new mountains.

And the views from the top are far more far-reaching than any podium.

We love you, Kid.



P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, see birthday letters 1, 234 5,  6, and 78 910, 1112131415 and 16.

Arches National Park

Youung Men ATV Camp

Axl Rose

BBQ Dads Football Game

Coaching at Solider Hollow

Christmas 2022

Crested Butte, Colorado

Sweethearts at Deer Creek


New Year’s Eve

Private Jet



Goblin Valley/San Rafael Swell

San Francisco

Airport Farewell

Trek family

Jordanelle Reservoir


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