Oh, my boy... It seems like just yesterday you were still a little butterball rolling around inside my tummy, contorting my body in ways I never imagined possible, filling me with love, hope, optimism, excitement and joy. Hard to believe that it will be five years this Friday since I felt you move inside me. Oddly enough, you were born on a Friday, back on May 23, 2003. The date that will forever be known as the happiest of my life.
You have changed so incredibly much over the past year, in so many amazing ways.
You've started - and nearly completed - your first year of "real" school, having gone to Jr. Kindergarten in September. I was so nervous to send you - nervous that you'd be sad having to be away from me every day again after being home with me for six straight months, nervous that you'd end up being constantly sick and on antibiotics again being around a bunch of kids again everyday, nervous that you'd not make friends. But you proved my fears unfounded, as I should've known you would. You took to school like a fish to water. You loved it. You loved learning, you loved being a big kid like all the other kids on the playground before school each day, you loved wearing a big boy backpack, you loved having play dates with your new friends after school, and you loved your teacher. Perhaps best of all, you managed to stay healthy, all things considered. While many of your classmates and kids in other grades were down for the count several times during the school year with bad viruses, strep throat, stomach illnesses, pneumonia and other stuff, you managed to stay under the radar with just a few colds and a stomach flu. Daddy and I were delighted - you haven't had antibiotics in a year and a half!
I'm so proud of all you've accomplished in school this year. You're so smart! You learned how to write more than just your name, and to write using "school letters" (uppercase to start sentences and proper nouns and lowercase for the rest). You've learned to count to 100 and write your numbers. You're starting to read by sounding out words, and even sometimes sentences. Your artwork is truly amazing -- I'm in awe of your natural ability and your imagination, your use of space and color. And your memory is staggering, my sweet. The things you remember... (Let's just hope you forget all the bad words Mommy has said when she's forgotten your little ears were listening!) I'm also astounded by your reasoning, your problem solving skills, and your common sense. You're not one to throw tantrums, which I have to say I absolutely LOVE, and you're actually really good at coming up with solutions to problems - both mine and yours! And you have so much common sense, way more than I probably did at your age. It's so refreshing to spend time with you just talking, because you're always thinking of such interesting things. It's really, really cool, baby.
You've also grown in your athletic abilities. You officially learned how to swim, just in the past month, and I am SO impressed by that! You're fearless now, which is both good and a little bad, because you want to go in deep water even though you can only swim a short distance and then you want to touch bottom. We need to work on that, and help you swim for longer distances without touching your toes down. But the joy on your face when you accomplished your first solo swim of a few feet was something I will never, ever forget. I was so crazy proud of you! And soccer - you're a really good soccer player! You're really beginning to understand playing on a team and working together with your teammates to score a goal. You have strong legs, Daddy's coordination, and a love of the game that is evident. I hope you'll stay with that and grow in your skills, baby.
I've loved seeing you form your own friendships outside of the kids of my and daddy's friends. It was strange at first, seeing you bond with kids whose parents I did not know well, but through you I've made new friends myself, which was a pleasant surprise. What has warmed my heart is seeing the way you care for your friends, and how good you are to them, especially the girls. I love that while some of the boys in your class have gravitated almost entirely to the other boys, you've been an equal opportunity friend, and you're just as happy hanging out with S.L. and S.C. and M.M. playing dress-up, castle, and princesses with them as you are hanging out with C.S., A.M., W.H. and M.M. and playing tag, Ben10 or Iron Man. The way you treat your friends, and the way you are treated by them, speaks volumes to me about your character and your comfort in who you are. I am so grateful for that. I spent a large part of my growing up feeling terribly insecure and trying to please others, and it took me until adulthood to (mostly) get past that. You already seem to have learned the secret to being confident in yourself while still being kind and respectful to others.
When I think of what you'll be like as a teenager, in my heart I see a confident yet humble young man who will be a good leader without being aggressive or arrogant, the guy who will make good choices and help his friends do the same, who will reach out to help others in need. I see you being the guy that all the girls love, both for being a wonderful friend and for being a great catch. I hope that you will always be as close to me as you are now, as you've always been. I try to talk to you about important things even now, to let you know the things you should stay away from - like smoking, drugs and alcohol - and I try to encourage you to talk openly with me about anything that's on your mind. I hope you will always know that I'm here for you and that you can talk to me about anything. While I'll always be your mom and parenting you is my top priority, I also want to be your confidant, the person you know you can always come to about anything. I promise that I will try my best to always listen first and ask questions later, and to try to suppress my initial worrying instincts if you come to me with anything sensitive. (But, hey, you know me and you know I'm a worrier! Like I said, I'll do my best.)
One thing that troubles me often is the fact that, for the most part, you are still an only child. You adore Super Girl and I know she adores you, too, and the two of you have managed to forge a great relationship despite only seeing each other every other weekend. But the fact is that she is not growing up with you, and you don't have the constant playmate that so many of your friends have with their siblings. You've said to me so many times in the past year that you'll be a big brother when you're five, and I can't tell you how much I had hoped to make that true. I'm trying, baby. I want to give you a younger brother or sister more than you can possibly imagine. I only pray that if Daddy and I are unable to make that a reality, you won't be too crushed. I know you would make the greatest big brother ever, and that you would consider it a great honor and delight to help with a baby sibling, and to teach him or her all the great things you know. You are so gentle and sweet with babies, little kids and animals that I know you'd be wonderful at it. I only hope that God realizes how badly we all want this, and that He will give us another baby, for our whole family's sake.
I cannot tell you what a joy and honor it has been to be your mommy, sweet pea. I thank God every single day for choosing us to become your parents, for giving you to us to bring into the world, to love and to raise. Nothing I do in my life will ever be as important or rewarding and fulfilling than being your mom, and I mean that with all of my heart and soul. I look at you, awake and asleep, a million times a day, and my heart explodes with love for you. You are the most perfect child for us, and that truth staggers me at times. It's literally like you were specially made just for us, with how well our personalities mesh and how good a child you've always been. Dad and I love being able to take you anywhere, knowing that you'll enjoy the journey even more than the destination, just like us. You are amazing in every single way, sweetheart. Thank you for all the beauty and wonder and blessings you've brought into our lives by simply being you, and being here, with us.
Happy 5th Birthday, my boy. May this next year of your life be blessed, safe, happy and interesting.
All my love, forever and ever,