I grew up with two sisters. Then I had a daughter. And then, when I was pregnant with you, I realized I better keep having daughters because I had no idea about anything having to do with little boys.
Then I found out you were a boy. I can’t lie–I was nervous. But you, my sweet child, have proven to me that I had nothing to worry about. You have given me a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about–this world of little boys–and you’ve showed me how lucky I am to get to be a part of it. Boys are weird, yes, I cannot deny that. I can’t pretend I completely understand WHY you do some of the things you do. I can live with that, though. Because in return for your weirdness, I get to see the world through a completely and totally different lens, and for that I am grateful.
My first boy, you are the most physically driven and active person in my life. You interpret the world around you with your whole body, and you always have. You throw yourself fully into whatever you’re doing, often with very little regard to your own safety. When you were little, you ran everywhere and climbed everything. Now that you’re older, you are capable of exercising a bit of self-control in my house, but outside you still pretty much run everywhere and climb everything. Your Dad says that probably won’t change for a long, long time. I believe him.
Because of you, I am a much more laid-back and less anxious parent than I would have been without your influence. You’ve taught me that it’s okay to let a child test their physical limits and push boundaries. That you WILL fall and you WILL get hurt, but that’s okay because it’s how you learn. I don’t know why I still do it, but I constantly, constantly remind you to Be Careful. If I counted the number of times I’ve said that to you in your eight years of life, I am certain it would be upwards of a million. And you always reply that you’ll be careful. Then you do exactly what you were planning to do anyway and I watch and sometimes I have to hold my breath and bite my tongue to keep myself from shouting at you to stop because you’re going to get hurt. And then you do whatever it was–you climb the tree, you scale a fence, you snowboard down a huge hill without ever having done it before, you balance on a skateboard with only two wheels and careen down the driveway at top speed. And I take a breath and move on, impressed with your ability to master your physicality yet again and shaking my head ay myself for ever doubting you.
At eight years old, you can throw a baseball harder, farther, and more accurately than I ever could. You can throw a football in a spiral and hit a moving target. You can swim three different strokes well enough to place in the top three in your 8-and-Under division. You can do a full flip off the diving board at the pool and you’re working on your one-and-a-half. You are basically good at every sport you’ve ever played. Your body just always seems to know how to do whatever it is you want it to do. It never ceases to amaze me.
You are just a touchy-feely kid. You hug and kiss me all the time (I hope you never stop doing that). You barely ever walk past anyone in this house without touching them–sometimes that gets you in trouble, but sometimes it’s nice. When you’re tired, you run your hands up my arms and if I have on long-sleeves, you stick your hands inside my sleeves and do it anyway. You’ve done it since you were a tiny baby. I know I’ll be sad when that one stops (but admittedly it would be weird if you kept doing it forever).
Because you tend to rely so much on your physical side, I was worried when it was time for you to start school a few years ago. Would you be able to sit still for that long? Would you be able to control yourself for 7 hours in a classroom and not touch everyone and everything? But you’ve blossomed in school and I’ve loved watching you. You are social and friendly; you know the names of every kid in your class within a day or two. And probably their favorite football and baseball teams, too. You are fun and smart and non-judgmental–anyone can be your friend, and if they’re nice to you, you’re nice to them. And I was silly to ever think you would be anything but amazing.
You don’t mind attention, either. In fact, unlike your middle brother, you are perfectly happy to have all eyes on you. You are confident and outgoing and silly.
Like your Dad, you can rock a suit.
You are the child in this house who I can always, ALWAYS rely on when I need help. I need someone to empty the trash? You’re on it. I can’t kill a giant spider because I’m terrified? You’ve got it. I’m exhausted and complaining about the amount of crap all over the place? You clean it without being asked. I know I can count on you and that you’ll help me with anything, anytime, without complaining. It’s so nice to have someone like that. In fact, you’re the only kid in this house who has ever put on a load of laundry and flipped the wet clothes into the dryer without being asked. I think you’re the only kid who even knows how to turn the washing machine on. I’m so lucky to have you (and I have to make sure to show the other kids how to do laundry). You even mow the lawn.
You are sweet and emotional, helpful and funny, goofy and smart, and you make me proud to be your Mom every. single. day.
I love you, sweet child of mine. Happy Eighth Birthday.