Today you are seven. I feel like it’s both impossible that you are ALREADY seven, and equally impossible that you are ONLY seven. You are all at once my little baby and my big boy. I am so lucky to have you.
I feel like this year has been a big one. You started first grade, lost your first teeth (several of them with assistance from your older brother), took your first hockey lessons (your gap-toothed smile seemed most appropriate there), went skiing for the first time and literally flew down the mountain without ever considering slowing down (even in the terrain park), and you played, for the first time, on your own baseball team without either your older or younger brother there with you. It was a year of firsts, and you did so amazingly well at all of it.
All of it was a privilege and a pleasure to watch as a parent, but nothing was quite as fun (and scary and amazing and startling and unbelievable) as watching you on the baseball field.
Because of a rule change regarding the birthday cut-off this year, you were able to try out for a “kid pitch” team. I questioned, momentarily, if that was a good idea. (“He’s so young!” I said. “And not very big! Maybe he should wait a year!”) Thankfully your dad knew better, you tried out, you made the team, and you just loved every. single. solitary. minute. of the season. You pitched. You caught. You stole bases. You ate, slept, and breathed baseball from March through June. We would come home after having spent seven or eight hours at the field watching your game, both your brothers’ games, and your sister’s soccer game, and you would immediately go out and play catch or wiffle ball again for another few hours with your father and brothers. I’m so glad I was wrong, and I loved every minute of watching you play a game you so clearly love.
The school year this year was an interesting one. Although I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are one of the smartest people I’ll ever meet, you seemed not all that interested in applying yourself. Luckily, you had an amazing teacher who also recognized your potential and we were able to remind you what you’re capable of. My daily refrain before you left for school each morning was “do your best job”. I think — I hope — you got it. If not, I’m more than happy to spend the next 10 years reminding you that you are capable of absolutely amazing things in every area of your life. You are limited only by yourself, my boy, and you’ve proved over and over again that when you apply yourself to anything, you excel beyond everyone’s expectations.
We’ve also spent many, many months this year waiting to move. And not once, through any of this uncertainty and delay, have you been anything other than excited about going. Well, maybe once — when you saw the uniform you’ll have to wear to your new school in the Fall, there was more than a little hesitation (Knee socks, shorts, a shirt and tie, and a blazer? You are NOT all in on that one.) You’re planning your number one destination that you’d like to see, and since the beginning, this hasn’t wavered: you want to go to Scotland to go fishing. I don’t know how or why you decided that that was your destination of choice, but I’m impressed by it and can’t wait to see you there.
In the end, though, no matter where we live, my life is better because you are in it. You absolutely challenge me to be a better parent, to be a more patient person, to work hard to understand someone very different from myself, and to believe in the capability of a child who knows his own mind.
The coming year, if it’s possible, will have even more firsts, more new experiences, and more adventure in store for us. I have loved the year of you being six, but I can’t wait to see what you do as my lucky number seven. Happy birthday to you, my blondie boy. I carry your heart with me.