You have been with us for half a decade. I’m afraid that if I blink, I’ll be looking at my 20 year old son towering over me. Slow down, kid, just a little.
At 5, you are a joy to be around almost all of the time. You are funny and silly and very bright.
You have an incredible imagination. The other day we were sitting on a bench at the playground, and you were eating your lunch. A little girl came over and started touching your lunchbox. She moved away after her father had told her to, but you hadn’t heard his words. You just looked at me and said, quietly, “I used The Force.”
This year you learned how to ride a bike. You learned how to read and do some basic math. You’ve formed friendships. You have really become interested in drawing.
You are very sweet. You still want to cuddle with me all the time.
You are almost always kind to your brother. You two definitely are the best of friends, although you say your best friend is Shirine. But I see how in tune you and Arthur are, how you depend on each other, how you make each other laugh and all the little things that you’ve created that are your own. Your games, your little sayings, your endless jokes. Only sometimes you are a tattletale, and sometimes you are jealous and want to do everything your brother does. Which, ironically, is the same the other way around.
This year you’ve kicked the habit of nail biting. You’ve grown taller, stronger, more determined.
I see so much of myself in you, you head-strong, stubborn child. I know that you will never try something new just because I ask you to. You will be intrigued, say no, and then in secret and on your own terms start practicing until you’ve perfected whatever it is you are working on. You haven’t been able to correctly pronounce the “th” in most words. One day, after Arfur’s speech therapist pointed it out to you, I heard you sitting in your play area, quietly practicing “Thursday, Arthur, 34th Street, Look at that thing! Death Star.” And of course you got it in no time. Or the other day, when I asked you if you could swing on the parallel bars at a kiddie gym you immediately said “NO!” and when I turned around, this:
I am learning not to push you. I am learning that you are doing things on your own terms. You have become much more flexible and outgoing, both in school and at home. You talk to our neighbors and are friendly with everyone we see in our every day lives.
This summer I contemplated putting you in summer camp, but then I decided against it. I want you to myself for one more summer. I want to pack you boys on the bike and head to the park and the pool. I want to have picnics with you and go on city adventures. I want to watch you run through sprinklers and have lightsaber fights with Arthur.
This year you start school. You will meet new friends, new teachers, and every day I will have to share you a little bit more with the world. It is bittersweet. A part of me would like to keep you to myself, to keep you safe and make you feel loved and treasured always. The other part of me is excited to see where you will go. I am proud when people tell me how kind you are and how smart. I know you will grow beyond anything I can imagine in the next year, and I am so glad I am along for the ride.
Happy birthday, my sweet, wonderful boy. I can’t imagine our lives without you.