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.


This article has 15 comments

  1. Sizzle

    Happy birthday to him! He’s a great kid.

  2. Anonymous

    Happy birthday Declan! – m

  3. Meghann

    Happy happy birthday little man.

    (So I guess the new abbreviation will be NPT’s? “November Preteens”? Man, when did THAT happen???)

  4. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Meghann – NO KIDDING!!!!

  5. MPPs Mom

    Happy Birthday Dex!
    From your east coast crush 🙂

  6. Bethany

    So sweet, so true. You have a beautiful way to remember him here, and it has been a love letter! Hope he has a great birthday. I like how you said he is comfortable in his skin – my son is like that, and I never was. How do they get that? A wondrous mystery.

  7. monstergirlee

    Happy Birthday Declan! Hope it’s an awesome day. (And thanks for bringing your Mom and I together 😉

  8. Tree

    Happy Birthday, Declan! I wish I was there to hear a joke!

  9. ZDub

    Happy Birthday to your awesome little man!

    He’s so very handsome, I can’t stand it. 🙂

  10. zenrain

    Happy Birthday!! Love from all of us!

  11. Kim Hosey

    I hope he is having a wonderful birthday. What a great record he has in your writings/photos.

  12. Rachael

    I don’t think you should EVER stop writing to him! I try to write my kids letters at least on their birthdays, but also just randomly when I get inspired. One day, they might like going back and reading them. I have a letter my Mom wrote me when I graduated high school that lived in my nightstand for 10 years, and now is tucked away. I still like reading it.

  13. EatPlayLove

    Happy Birthday Declan… My parents were just visiting and hadn’t seen the the girls since March, they couldn’t get over how mature Sj has gotten in just a few months.

    It seems to be Leaps and Bounds these days, I’m just glad I can keep up.

  14. Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy and Bashful}

    So sweet, what a beautiful tribute. He’ll be lucky to have such a gift from you to enjoy and appreciate!

  15. Anonymous

    Dear Aimee & Bryan,
    Dex is an amazing boy – some of my favorite Declan moments: wanting to make a trophy for Obama, knowing how to spell Chartreuse, and so many more. We all agree – we need more Declan in our lives. Bring him by soon – Sophia & Ingrid

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