A Letter to my Son on his 8th Birthday

Dear Son,

I can’t believe that you are about to turn 8 years old, that you are just 2 years away from double digits, that we are already celebrating a new year of your life. This year has been full of challenge and change. While you had in-person school most of the year, it was a year filled with uncertainty, quarantines, a stressful commute to and from school, and all sorts of curve balls. Sometimes we all wanted to just pull on our hair and scream. Sometimes we did just that. But thanks to you and your big heart and even bigger sense of humor, we balanced all of that out with a lot of laughter and wonderful memories.

This is the year your love of reading really bloomed as you started devouring chapter book series. We couldn’t get new library books fast enough which of course reminds me so much of your dad and I when we were your age. You also gave me a real karmic moment from my childhood when we caught you several nights in a row trying to read when you were supposed to be in bed. I used to do this with a flashlight I snuck into my room, so I thought I had this problem covered when I kept the flashlights in my room high enough so that you couldn’t easily reach them… but you decided you could just pull your curtains back and read by streetlight and the only way we could stop you from ruining your poor eyes that way was to have to confiscate your current book each night at bedtime. When I told you I thought you needed to wait a little longer before we started the Harry Potter series, you listened… at first… then a few months later when I hadn’t reconsidered fast enough for you, you checked out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from your school library and said, “mom, I got this from my school. We can read it together, or I can read it alone. Which do you pick?” So I guess that was as good a sign as any that you were ready. I can’t wait to see your personality develop more and for us to guess which Hogwarts house you’d land in (as a baby we’d definitely have placed you in Gryffindor… but now we see strong aspects from all four houses in you and are curious to see which one you’ll identify with most!)

You are so curious and so interested in many things. You notice things we don’t- you are the first person to spot wildlife in our backyard and you love being the “trail leader” when we go on family hikes or visit national parks. You have such a big heart. You made sure to befriend every single new kid that entered your class late in the school year. Sometimes you were their only friend for a while. I love that you don’t want anyone to be lonely. I also love your heart for joining in the goal of bringing clean water to kids that don’t have access to it, something you learned to love from my running with Team World Vision. You were so excited to run the 6k for water again this year, and you even told everyone at school about my fundraising and asked them to help. That’s not the only cause you care about. When your school had a fundraiser to benefit a charity working to find a cure for leukemia, gave the school your tooth fairy money and then asked us if we would match your donation. (Maybe you have a career in non profits ahead of you?)

You have such a big heart that it can be hurt when you hear about distressing things in the news or see people choosing to exclude or hurt others. It is so hard to see some of the same anxieties and sadness I carry also get passed to you, but I know that the deep capacity for empathy can be hard but is also a superpower.

This next year I hope you continue to find books you love- some that we read together and some that you explore on your own. I hope moving you to a new school allows others to welcome YOU as the new kid and that you receive the same welcome you have shown so many at your old school this past year. I hope we make many more memories together as we have more family adventures and park playdates and game nights. I hope you continue to be the sweetest big brother to your siblings and that you can set a good example for them as they start at their new schools too. I hope you continue to develop some of the talents we already see in your- your love of the arts, especially drawing and music, and I hope you find some new talents that make you want to explore a few new things too.

I love you so much and I hope you enjoy a birthday full of all your favorite things: friends, music, cake, Harry Potter, Pokemon, and lots and lots of laughter.

8 is GREAT and so are you, Love,

Mom

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