I usually don’t write birthday letters, but for some reason I feel like I need to this year. Something about leaving 5 behind for 6 feels BIG. Like I am losing my baby.
Maybe because this year has been so big for you. If you hadn’t been so determined to come 2 months earlier, this year you would have been starting Kindergarten rather than 1st grade. But you decided Friday the 13th of September was the day for you, come hell or high water, and in turn, your dad and I had lots of decisions to make. Do we send you to school at age 5, and make you the youngest in your class? Or do we hold you back so you could be the oldest, yet possibly the boredest as well? In the end, just like with your birthdate, you decided for us.
You started reading amazingly early and amazingly well. In fact, I have no doubt you could read this letter word for word if I were to show it you now. Your preschool teacher thought we were insane when we forced the discussion of “if” you would attend Kindergarten last year. But we wanted to make sure you were ready emotionally. Clearly you are smart. Like crazy, scary, freak me out sometimes smart. (And that is not just mommy brag talking.) You are also clearly more immature than your peers. How could you not be? Some of your friends turned seven this summer! When you are not even yet six. That is what we worried over. Lost sleep over. Would you have trouble fitting in, and keeping up?
But in the past year, you have amazed us. Truly, truly, amazed us. Sure, some of the growth has driven me to my wits end, but I have also smiled a secret inner smile – knowing the pushing back, the smart mouth, the rolling of the eyes – ALL OF IT – were signs of maturity. Signs my little boy is growing up.
You and I have this special thing. At night before bed, we talk about the big stuff. For some reason it never interferes with your sleep – it’s like you want to offload all your questions on me and then – HUHUHH! Whew, you can sleep. We talk about the most amazing things. Last night, if you look at the calendar, it was 9/11. It was the first time we had ever discussed it, and I went ahead and told you everything. (OK, not everything, but a lot.) You listened, you absorbed, and tears silently started falling down your cheeks. I could see them glistening in the dark. When you quietly asked me “why?” – I had no answer for you. But I felt so honored to be having to discussion with you.
Maybe that’s why your last day of being 5 feels so big. It’s like you are stepping into the next place in your life. The next big adventures. The big talks. And with all those big things you will experience, I know your dad and I will have less and less to do with them.
It doesn’t make them any less magical, or special – and we can’t wait to hear about them.
I’ll be waiting in the dark.