I wonder when I will stop writing to Declan on his birthday. I wonder when I will stop writing to Declan, period.
I started this blog as a love letter to him, specifically. To hold on to things. To keep memories close to my heart when my mind wanted to let them go.
As he has grown up, I’ve talked about him differently here. His stories became his, and he had a right to decide whether they were shared or not. So this blog became less and less about Declan and more about everything else.
Eight was a wonderful year. We saw glimpses of our son as man. He made decisions I am very proud of. He thought things through. He told me secrets.
It was like his eyes opened to the world around him, and he was taking it all in. No more blinders that only let him see his friends and the school playground. He understands that kids are hurting in other countries. I mean really understands. Not just regurgitation of what he thinks we all think he should say. Like, he gets it. He knows about World War II and 9/11 and the day Martin Luther King was shot.
He is discovering himself.
He tells his own jokes. Funny ones, that have nothing to do with the chicken crossing the road. He listens to us complain about work, and offers sensible advice. He is comfortable in his own skin – at least much more so than I was at his age.
All of these things make me celebrate the wonderful person my son is becoming.
And mourn the child that is quickly slipping away.
The child who cried when Curious George got lost. The child that fell down so much his legs looked like they had a polka dot pattern in bruises. The child who could never think of names for stuffed animals so they just got a Y after whatever they were. Puppy. Kitty. Rabbity. Giraffey. Penguiny. I swear it goes on forever.
Yeah. Nine is bittersweet. It’s the halfway mark to adulthood.
The crazy thing is… it feels like he’s already most of the way there.