Once again I’m faced with the challenge of composing a letter to you that sums up all of the feelings I’ve been having over the last year as you’ve gotten older. This year is the hardest I think. I am having to let-go far more now than ever before. I have to let you go to a new school, where there will be new kids and new routines, and a whole new set of expectations. I am far more nervous than you are.
Over the last year, you have learned to go across the monkey bars all by yourself. We let you wander further away from us at the park. We let you play outside in the yard or on the porch with limited supervision. Occasionally I’ll leave George with you in the other room and ask you to keep an eye on him. You are just getting bigger and bigger. I love it and wish it would stop all at once.
Every so often you will branch out and try a new food. At times you can be reasoned with and your logic seems far more advanced than a 5 year old’s should be. You listen to us talk, really listen to conversations grown ups have. This year you’ve started to ask the Big Questions- about God and Death. For five years old, you have an awfully smart head on your shoulders. One night after a particularly bad episode at the park, you sang the song “You can’t always get what you want…” to yourself, as though you were reminding yourself of an important lesson. When you do things like that, I catch a glimpse of your conscience and I couldn’t be prouder. You are such a sweet and kind little boy.
You still eat peanut butter and jelly every day at school, and you LOVE Gatorade even though it is a very special treat (and we still water it down). You love to watch shows on Netflix like Daniel Tiger, Reading Rainbow, Mr. Rogers and Justin Time. Sometimes you will do projects in workbooks with your Daddy, who plays much more often than I do. You and Daddy play all sorts of sports together, and all sorts of imagination games. Often you are pirates or explorers or knights. You love to use accessories and costumes to add excitement to your playing. It is one of my favorite things about you, your imagination and love of dressing up and acting.
At times you get very shy, which is difficult for me to deal with because I’ve never really been that way and I don’t know how to handle it. You are the sweetest big brother, and George just adores you. You love to give him hugs and kisses and you also love cuddles from your dad and me.
Tonight we went to your Kindergarten Ice Cream social. It was a night for kids to meet their teachers and have ice cream and see their classmates. The school was hot and filled with people swarming around the gym. It was overwhelming for me, so I know it was even more so for you. As often as I could, I kneeled down and told you that real school wouldn’t be so filled with grown ups. Real Kindergarten would be more kids. It wouldn’t be as noisy and busy. You wouldn’t let go of my hand. Suddenly you seemed much smaller than usual. And while we sat at the cafeteria table eating ice cream, you got chocolate all over your face. A wave of nostalgia came over me and I remembered you as my baby. I told you I couldn’t believe how fast you grew up. You shrugged and kept eating. I just can’t believe it. Kindergarten.
I wonder all the time, how I lucked out to have such a great little family. But I also wonder – all the time, how you turned out to be so special. You are a helper, a thinker, and a person filled with such wonderful ideas. I love watching you learn and put those ideas into action. You are going to do amazing things in this world. And a day doesn’t go by where I don’t thank my lucky stars for having you in my life. I am your biggest fan. Thank you for being you.
I love you. Happy Birthday.