9 years old
|You drew Obi Wan and General whatshisface fighting on your cake yourself.|
May I just begin by saying I really like you right now? I wasn't sure I'd be able to say that not so long ago. What with the hundreds of ear splintering noises you have perfected and the attitude you were trying on for size I was bracing myself to knuckle in and endure until you reached a more pleasant age, like 30. But you have suddenly grown into a much more thoughtful person, almost over night. You just needed to be given something useful to do.
I like the way you are so proud of your ability to make meaningful contributions to this little family of ours. I like it when you plot for the future, how you will make money to help the kids in Thailand, how you will drive your little brother around so I don't have to, how you will open a boat shop and build and sell the green land kayak and maybe some other types of kayaks. You will paint a sign to put out front calling it simply "Boy's Boat Shop". Though you will use your real name of course.
I love your sweetness, your naivete. I like how when the older neighborhood boys get to talking about girls and you tell me about it you smile a little embarrassed smile and hesitate, not sure what to do with this unfamiliar subject matter.
This year for your birthday you asked for books. "I want books that teach me stuff, because I like to learn things, like about ancient Egypt, or the ocean. I also want to learn how to make things, and I would like some small screwdrivers to help me make things. I might need a hammer too. Or maybe uncle Alex will make me a sword, or something out of Lego."
Your idea for when friends came for a party was to all play board games together in the living room.
Yesterday when I was at a loss for what to do with you for the half hour left of school I handed you the gigantic Handbook of Nature, hundreds of pages, black and white photos, and said, "Here, you may read anything you like out of this book for the next half hour."
You actually shouted, "Really? Woohoo! Thanks mom."
Then you interrupted me over and over to tell me about the life cycle of monarch butterflies, how grasshopper ears aren't even on their heads and that katydids have ears in their legs. (See, I listen.) You are such a nerd and I love you for it. Sometimes I worry that you will have trouble later for being the way you are, but I think in the long run you will be better for it.
You are a natural leader and organize the play a lot of the time. You are usually very good at making sure everyone, even the littlest kids feel included. This move has been a challenge for you. The boys are older, the language and culture is different from what you are used to, you have run into misunderstandings and your feelings have been hurt.
I am so proud of the way you keep trying to make friends with these boys, and the way you are succeeding. I like how even when you come home in tears because of something that happened you are ready to go back out and try again just a few minutes later.
You are such a good teacher. You like nothing better than to show someone else how to do something you have mastered. I love to hear you cheer for your sisters when they win a game you are all playing or the way you come running to me all excited to tell me about something cool they have done.
You are not without your talents though Boy. You can pick out a tune almost effortlessly, you draw remarkably well and with great detail, you remember just everything you have ever read.
You are becoming a huge help to me also. You can get basic meals for yourself and others. I like it when you offer to make me breakfast, that mixture of pride and thoughtfulness is just heart melting. You are the best big brother. You know exactly what to do to distract and entertain your sisters. and they love you for it. (You also know exactly what to do to bother them, but you do that less frequently.)
You still want me to see and approve everything you do. You tell me endlessly about the thought process that led you to solve a problem the way you did. Your inner monologue is still very audible.
I don't know how much longer you will be this sweet, and earnest, and sincere, which makes me treasure it all the more right now.
I pray for you to grow in strength, in wisdom, in the ability to choose what is best for you to do out of the many good things you could put your hand to.
I love you always. I like you a whole lot. I am so thankful for you. Happy birthday.