You finally went to sleep on what you called “Birthday Eve.” Your presents have been wrapped. Your room has been decorated. I can’t avoid it anymore.
You’re going to be double digits. In just 9 hours, you want to have a family kiss to usher in your actual anniversary of your birth. Your heart is so big. Your feet are big. Your girl friends have noticed you’re hairy. And after a long day at camp I request you take a shower. You’re growing up. I can’t avoid it. So, I guess it’s time to finally sit down to write down the thoughts which have been spinning around in my head for days, weeks, months, years…
I appreciate your snuggles. For the last ten years you have fallen asleep with me and you’ve called for me in the morning (whether that’s 6am, 3am or 11pm…) You wrap yourself around my body and your feet are always searching for me. You wrap your legs around me. You fall asleep holding my hand. You yell every night to Daddy for “Kissy Time!” You will sleep in the big bed with me and I still don’t have more than a few inches of the mattress because you snuggle so close. It’s glorious. I asked you once if your friends snuggle with their mommies. “Well, they would if they knew what they were missing,” was your reply. I believe I responded with a succession of kisses to complete my goal of 100 daily kisses. Someday soon, you will not want to snuggle. You will be busy. So now I will cherish our snuggles. I love you.
I appreciate who you are growing up to be. You are the perfect combination of me and Daddy. You love stories. You make them up. You watch TV and listen to audiobooks. “I know how movies work!” is a common refrain during movie night (which is every night). This year you wrote your first movie script. And like your Daddy, your vision is vast. You have mapped out a trilogy. You have huge plans for filming, the movie premiere, and how you will live your life when you’re a super star. No obstacle is too big. This is the gift you inherited from Daddy. But you also like to plan. “Tell me about the vacation,” you will ask as we snuggle in bed. This means I must provide the details from leaving the house to returning home – how we get to the airport, what we’re going to see, where we’re going to stay, what we’re going to eat, who is taking care of the cats. Tomorrow we’re going to have a spy-themed birthday party. You helped plan it. You created a Pinterest board with all your ideas. You started late this year. Generally, birthday planning the day after Christmas. You do your research on Amazon. You work up your story. And you present your case. You want something enormous. You have vision and organization. You will rule the world. I love you.
I appreciate your willingness to help. One of the many reasons I’ve been remiss in maintaining this blog is due to how much time I’ve put into helping the school. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I love working to build a community. To help your teachers. To raise money for arts, music, and science. We created Kid’s Night Out having never really been babysitters but a few nights a year, we feed and entertain up to 50 kids. And we do it because you love to run around the school in your jammies. But you are so proud to help. You make hot dogs. You set up the Community Room. You help the little kids. And let’s not forget how much work you put into Superhero Saturday with all your help shopping, building, and game testing. This year, you were in a split class with the 5th grade. Next year you want to be in the same 4/5 class because you “like helping the little kids.” Other parents tell me you’ve befriended their kinder students. Teachers of younger grades want you to help with their classes. You’re kind and you want to help. I love you.
I appreciate your sense of self. You aren’t swayed by others. You do things when YOU want. It was your idea to give up your pacifier. It was your idea to stand up and start walking. And despite my prodding and attempt at peer pressure, you didn’t get on a bike until you were ready. When you did, you taught yourself by riding a second-hand bike around the Community Room for twenty minutes. You wear what you want. You do what you want. You have confidence in your vision. I’m here for you. I love you.
I appreciate your creativity. You started making structures out of recycled bric-a-brac with colored tape and have graduated to glue guns and intricate paper crafts. You watch videos and a few minutes later you’ve created an enormous 3D snowflake, a set of paper claws, or an axe. If there’s something you want to do, you figure it out. Enjoy your glue gun. Have fun covering yourself in colored shaving cream. Watch what the different combinations of food coloring do in different liquids. We’ll clean it up later. I love you.
I appreciate your love of the beach. Fog or sunshine, you love to play in the sand. You’ve spent endless afternoons jumping off sand dunes. You bury yourself in the sand. You play in the waves. Wearing your wetsuit, you’ve braved Ocean Beach’s riptides and rode the waves for hours. You’ve dug for sand crabs. You’ve collected sand dollars. You’ve stepped on Dungeness Crabs. You’ve played baseball, practiced ladderball, and flown kites on the black sand. You’ve collected driftwood to build shelters. And every time you come home, you have sand down your pants and collecting in your ears. I love you.
I appreciate your memory. “I have a computer for a brain!” you say. And it’s true. You remember so many things from so long ago. I rely on you to remind me to get things done. I ask you to recall where I put something. You routinely surprise me and Daddy with your recollection of long-ago events. You memorize songs (or commercials) in with just a few repetitions. It baffles me. I immediately forget the plot of a movie I’ve seen or a book I’ve read. I only have vague recollection of vacations. But you’ll pick up a toy and tell me who gave it to you when you were five. I love you.
I appreciate your temperament. You’re reasonable. You’re rational. You patiently wait for hours on Christmas morning until everyone arrives to open presents. And you want us to talk to you like an adult. You may feel something strongly but when Daddy or I explain our perspective, you understand. You share your feelings. We’ve had adult conversations about things you didn’t understand or things that worry you. We trust you. And we’ll always tell you the truth. There are times when things don’t go your way. You can be extremely sad. And you cry. And it hurts. You may curl up in my lap. You may be held. But you work through it and soon, you’re smiling and practicing your movie fight moves in your underwear or bouncing naked on the mini-trampoline. I love you.
I appreciate your cautious sense of adventure. We didn’t have to baby proof the house because you weren’t interested in putting your finger in an electrical socket or opening cabinet doors. You knew that wasn’t for you. You haven’t yet had a major injury, stiches, or broken bone. You’ll try new things but only after you think about them. You’re getting more confident and trying more new things. But you know your limits and aren’t afraid to voice them. Despite your reticence, you snorkeled in Hawaii. And when a turtle surprised you on the paddleboard, you thought it was scary but fun. You brave the ice skating rink each year on our Christmas Eve outing. And one flip at House of Air turned into dozens. Daddy and I have so much fun thinking up new family adventures. I love you.
I appreciate your playfulness. You have an expansive sense of wonder. You have tickle fights. You walk on my back. You wear costumes. You play in the mud. You’re competitive and will play any and all games. You are quick to smile. Your voice brightens my day. Your laugh is magical. Your hugs and kisses fuel my soul. You remind me what life is all about. You bring me endless joy. I love you.
You are now ten. I know you’re sad to leave single digits and feel the weight of the responsibilities that come with double digits. But you are a wonderful, happy, young man who knows what’s important in life. You keep growing and loving and experiencing and trying and learning. You have nothing to worry about. Daddy and I are always here for you.
We love you.
Happy birthday sweet boy.