Friday, March 09, 2018

Double Digits

Dear Michael,

Today you are 10 years old. I have to admit, this birthday caught me a little by surprise. It wasn't that I didn't remember it was your birthday, we've been planning for it for months, but I didn't think much about the number until we celebrated last week. Then I saw those "10" candles blazing away on your cake...

The problem is that you simply aren't a baby any more. You haven't been a baby for a long time. But, of course, you'll always be my baby.

You're my baby, but your feet have been bigger than mine for over a year.

You're my baby, but you're nearly five feet tall.

You're my baby, but you're using a protractor and manipulating fractions in math class.

You're my baby, but you can spell and use words like monolith.

You're my baby, but you have more compassion and empathy than many adults I know.

You are, and always have been, a gentle soul in a less-than-gentle world. Sometimes I think about your premature birth and difficult entry into this world and I wonder if it was God's way of letting me know that you would need just a little more from me. More tenderness, more patience, more prompting, and (someday) more willingness to let you find your own way in the world. (Unlike the story you are telling me now, I doubt you'll live here forever.)

It is difficult not to want to make life easier for you - many days you do so much to make it harder for yourself. We are still waiting for your heart and your head to catch up with your rapidly growing body. Much of the time you seem to navigate the world like Bambi walking on ice - a bit fearful, a bit awkward, with so much left to learn. I will keep doing my best to support you. I will try to remember that it is better for you if I leave a few bumps in your road, allowing you to find your own strength and your own way. I'm working on it.

As you start another year of your life there are so many things I wish for you. Mostly I hope you know how very well you are loved.

Happy birthday, sweet boy. I love you.