I’m writing a couple weeks after your ninth birthday. Of course, I always mean to write this on the day of, but time has run away with me, just as it is running away with you.
On your birthday, I posted on Facebook that I blinked, and you turned 9…
In this past year, I have watched you become particularly independent and confident. Especially in the past few months, I frequently hear “I got this, Mom”, “I can do it,” “I’ll handle it” as you’re pouring orange juice for yourself or cooking an egg. You apparently don’t need help anymore.
I read something about the development of 9 year olds—that they become worldly thinkers. Worldly, like in how the world was actually created or what is the meaning of life. And you said to me, out of the blue in the car the other day, “I can’t really imagine not having you as a mom.” That warmed my insides, it did.
You are still solidly holding your own as the youngest against two teenagers (and Baxter). You can play any game, strategizing and understanding the nuances with the best of us. But I don’t really have a clear picture of your life as a student, as you don’t share much about school. I remember at the end of last year, I ran into your teacher in the hallway at school and asked about you. “He has a sense of humor that is unlike most third graders,” he said. I do notice this year that you may have crossed over a hump with spelling and are quicker to make choices.
You are taller and thinner and can finally ride most roller coasters. Your room is almost always tidy, and you are the least likely to complain about chores. You have an uncanny ability to pick up the tune and chorus of a song. You still won’t wear clothes with zippers, though you have relented to an occasional button. You have far too much energy for two old parents. You enjoyed golf camp over the summer, and I so enjoyed playing with you.
Your Grandma Jo says you have turned into your dad’s Mini Me. I can’t deny it. Your looks have moved in that direction, and you tend to communicate (or not) with me in the same style—making me dig for what I really want to know. For instance, “Who did you have lunch with today?” I ask. “My friends,” you tell me.
When I watch you from a distance, I still see that baby who smiled at everything, that even-keeled toddler who never threw a tantrum, that Kindergartner who was sent to the Planning Room on Day 5 of school for playfully wrestling with his buddies on the playground, and that third grader who finds humor in the things that others don’t quite get yet. You are still the happy one, the guy who just wants to have a little fun, our SpongeBob afficionado. And I am so curious to see where this spirit takes you over time. It surely won’t be a boring place.