Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dear Little Kid,

11 years ago today, the universe gave me the most beautiful gift in the form of one teensy-tiny peaches and cream newborn with velvety blond hair and squinty eyes. A sleepy, gorgeous little bundle.

As I gazed into your sweet face, I thought of all of the things I would teach you -- not knowing that it would be you who taught me. I have learned more about life from you in 11 years than I have in my own 38 of living.

You are joy personified and authenticity in action. You are playful and imaginative, quick-witted and kind, curious and carefree, and intuitive and thoughtful.

If everyone were like you, there would be no hate and no war and far less sadness.

You don't build walls and retreat when life is unfair or people seem mean, you charge headlong into battle with an open heart, bound and determined to win people over in favor of just winning. Your social savvy is both strategic and selfless -- your goal is to win friends and influence people by making others happy and you are wildly successful at it. You compliment grouchy grown-ups, clean up the cafeteria to help crabby lunch ladies, and offer assistance to overworked teachers and stressed out adults.

And you love me so well -- I don't know that anyone can or will love me like you do. You call me your princess and your pretty little mama, you laugh loudly at even my worst jokes and hug me tightly when I'm sad. You know when to talk and when to sit in companionable silence. You are the best company for any occasion. Always.

Recently, as I mourned over not being chosen for a job I really wanted, you said, "Mom, I know you're sad but I want you to remember: it's not that you weren't good enough, it's that someone else was better." I snort-laughed for a moment at the absurdity of that being offered as helpful before recognizing the profound wisdom behind that mindset, and how very "you" it was -- you don't take things personally. And neither should I. I think of that all the time now, and it brings me such comfort.

You just make me so happy. I cannot imagine a life without you.

You are the helium in my balloon, the wind that lifts my kite, the weightlessness of water. You are laughter and ease; relief in human form.

I wanted to be your role model, and instead you became mine. And I am forever lucky for that and eternally grateful for whatever karmic lottery landed the precious little package of you into my arms.

Happy Birthday, little kid.

I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you.

Lucky and Loved,

P.S. Today your brother called you short and you said, "I may be short now, but one day I'll be as tall as Michael Jordan. Or at least Danny DeVito. And that's perfect for me." And it is. And you are.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dear Big Kid,

The other day I was sitting in my room as you played outside with your brother and some friends, and I heard the booming voice of a man speaking with alarming familiarity. Concerned, I rushed outside, prepared to ask this stranger what was up, why he was here, how he knows my children -- and it was you.

You were the man with the deep voice.

I don't know when that happened or how I missed it.

But I see your broad shoulders, your big feet, the way your arms rest on top of my shoulders instead of around my waist when we hug, how I can no longer kiss the top of your head because you're as tall as me -- and I realize this is our new truth.

It is more of a miracle to me than your birth. This evolution from wide-eyed, scrunchy-faced newborn -- a wordless infant I read Steinbeck's East of Eden to in order to fill our awkward silences of newly knowing each other -- to more man than boy, and the kind of man who can hold his own in any conversation, from literature to politics to science to popular culture and beyond.

You are a wonder -- to look at, listen to, and be around.

You are my roots and branches and oxygen. You keep me grounded in a good way, you encourage my growth in a broad way, you keep me alive in an everyday way. You fulfill me and sustain me -- you have made me just as much as I have made you.

And today you are 14.

It's wonderful and amazing and astounding and terrifying beyond measure.

Nothing has gone as planned, because that's how life rolls, but you have exceeded every hope I ever had for who you may become.

And I can take very little credit.

I mean, that won't stop me, but we both know it's true.

You have been extraordinary since day one, and my life is extraordinary because you chose me as your forever. And I have no doubt that you did.

Happy Birthday, Big Kid.

I like you, I love you, and I'll always protect you.