My dear sweet Boy,
Today you are seven. Every year it sneaks up on me – this – your growing up business. I guess it really shouldn’t suprise me. You’ve had a busy year.
You started the school year behind in reading. You’ve worked hard with your teacher and now you’re up to grade level. Your hard work might have something to do with your crush on your teacher. You write letters to her on the weekend telling her that she dresses nice and that she’s pretty. She always takes the time to write you back – telling you how proud she is of the work you’re doing.
Your first day to school was rough. You kicked and cried and clung to the doorway. My heart tore as I walked down the hallway but that afternoon, as you bounced off the bus, you had a grin from ear to ear. Everybody likes you and wants to be your friend. This past year you’ve been invited to two girl’s birthday parties.
You’re still an early riser. Usually you wake up between 6 and 6:30. If you’re the only one awake you quietly slip out to the living room to watch cartoons. I wonder if you’ll continue to wake up early once you’re in high school. Not only do you get up without fanfare you continue to fall asleep the same way. Almost the moment your head hits the pillow you fall asleep. Most nights you lay down, cross your arms and dream but occassionally you’ll pick the most interesting positions…
Your favorite activity is riding your bike. Because of the busy street (and your paranoid mother), I make you ride your bike in the backyard. Last summer you and your dad dug holes and built up burms. You love nothing more than to race around the yard dipping and jumping on your bike. And now, with the dogs, you like to cruise around with Max at your heels.
That dog adores you. He trots after you with his tail wagging in slow, lazy circles. If you’re digging in the dirt, he’s digging in the dirt. If you’re riding, he’s running. If you’re on the couch, he’s snuggled up beside you (at least until I send him to the floor). If Mini doesn’t get in the way he’ll play fetch with you for as long as you’ll throw the ball.
You aren’t quite as shy as you used to be. You’ve learned to say “yes ma’am” and “no sir” and to actually speak when someone you don’t know talks to you. You still wear your emotions on your sleeve. When you’re angry you’ll stomp to your room. And when you’re upset the tears will slip down your cheeks. Most days though your face is lit up by your smile.
If you’re stuck indoors you’ll beg to play video games. I wonder how long before you realize that our gaming system is one of the first versions of Nintendo and that now there are newer, fancier gadgets out there. Until then, you’re content racing around on Mario Kart. You can outplay me but your dad still presents a challenge to you.
You don’t get to play video games very often though. Usually you’ll end up in the basement playing a version of cars that involve your sisters’ dolls. You play the cars, they play the dolls. You’re the perfect blend of the pesky little brother and the protective older brother. You know just what to do to annoy Chickie – just how far to push it before you’ll get into trouble. Everybody always comments on how good you are with Beans. This past year has seen a slight shift in the way you treat her. Before you were always so willing to share everything with her. Now that she’s older you make her fend for herself most times. But you still make sure she gets her fair share and if she doesn’t you’ll speak up or share what you have.
You learned about sex this year. You wanted to know where babies came from – more than just ‘mommy’s tummy’ so I told you about sex. It’s now on record that you’re never going to “do that” because it’s gross. And for right now, that’s just fine with me.
We aren’t much of a sports family but that hasn’t stopped you from wanting to play basketball. In fact, this year you asked for a basketball hoop for your birthday. Unfortunately, we have no where to put one. You’ll just have to be content playing with the one in the church parking lot. The other thing you asked for this birthday is for a ‘bike party’ where everyone invited could bring their bikes over. Too bad you only thought of it yesterday. Instead I’m loading you all up and taking you to Amazement Square in Lynchburg.
As I’m writing this letter to you you’re outside riding your bike with Max by your side. You’re trying to perfect your wheelies. I love seeing how much you’ve grown. I’m proud of the things you’ve overcome and accomplished this year. I enjoy you immensely and hope that I will have another year of hugs and cuddles before you decide it’s uncool.
Stay sweet my boy. Love as much as you can. Be loved.
Happy Birthday, I love you!