Friday, November 13, 2009
Dear Oldest Son:
It has been nearly two months since you turned 10, and I'm just now writing you a birthday letter...
Why the wait? I'm not sure. I think it may be because you're such a enigma to me. You live more in the moment than in your head. And I find this mysterious, puzzling--and completely refreshing. I guess I didn't know where to start, until now...
So let's start with onions. You love raw onions. I bet you could eat one like an apple. But what kid loves raw onions?
Second, you think your father is "hilarious" (when I think he's mostly ridiculous). Nevertheless, I love to hear you laugh loud and hard at his jokes and antics.
You've always been our most outwardly affectionate child, yet you turn and push away when I worry aloud about you. "I'm fine, Mom. Just leave me alone." Affection on your terms only, I suppose. (This should come as no surprise given your gender.)
You're clearly stuck in the middle of being a kid and a tween. You're walking around wearing your iPod or chatting online with girls one minute and making blanket and pillow forts with your kid brother the next. You could seemingly care less about clothes, but you looked through all the racks at Target a few weeks ago until you found a purple polo-style shirt. "I just like purple," you said. News to me.
You're smart but incredibly unorganized. I can hardly look at the mess of ragged papers stuffed into your "organizer". But you seem to be standing solid academically in your first year of middle school, and I can see you trying.
Frustrating to me, you show no interest in animals and the natural world--a self-proclaimed "more of a cat person". But you enjoy a PBS "Nature" show as much as the next person. I was so pleased when you saw a snail come out of its shell in slow motion on TV the other day, and you thought it was "cool!" I hold out hope that you'll notice it all someday.
This past year, you've grown taller and skinner. You've clearly expressed your desire for longer hair. And there's always flat-brimmed hat on your head. You also push your sister's buttons constantly and hold stubbornly to your points in sibling arguments. You're both in the same book group at school right now, and the group leader told me that you volunteered to be the first to speak about something in front of the group last week. As usual, you will NOT be overshadowed by her despite her advantages in age.
This next year, I wish for your continued confidence in knowing exactly what you like and want, the everlasting lightness of taking life one day at a time, maybe a little maturity to help you navigate your first school dance and the girls you're chatting with online, and more loud laughs at your dad's bad jokes.
(496 lovingly chosen words)