So a couple weeks ago you turned 6. Can you believe it? I can't! No, I really can't. File that away with many other things I can't believe, like that you are a school kid now, that every day your dad drops you off in a parking lot full of little children dressed in navy and white and just drives away as you run off to greet and hug your "best friend".
I'll say that again, he just drops you off in a parking lot. And drives away from you.
That takes a lot of faith, kiddo, it's a big giant leap of faith that we have had to start making. Everyday. To put you out in that big scary world on your own, to leave you to it, to go forth and live a portion of your life that is wholly independent of us, the two people who have been your constant for the last six years.
I mean, this is scary stuff for a mom and dad. This is the first go around for us, so we're going to need a lot of grace here.
We are so proud of you. Three weeks into this new life it's already not as scary. I'm sure there will be times when things are not great, but right now, it's pretty awesome. You have friends. You are learning. You have stories and experiences and you share them with us generously every day. Just keep talking, buddy. When you get quiet, when you have no stories, that's when I wonder, that's when mama gets nervous, that's when my mind wanders and makes problems where there might be none. Keep talking, we'll keep listening. We're always listening.
Right before your birthday you had your last official day of daycare. You said goodbye to this place and these women and these friends that have been such a huge part of your life for the past two years. And you did it with a touch of sadness, some nostalgia, but also courage and excitement about the future, about KINDERGARTEN!
Oh and with donuts, you did it with donuts. You brought big giant messy donuts with frosting and sprinkles to share with your daycare friends on your last day. In this family, we celebrate with donuts and cake, and we also mourn and commiserate with donuts and cake. It's a good way to live.
Your birthday was so fun. We partied with your cousins and aunts and uncles at grandma's house a couple weeks early, because the end of summer is so crazy and there are a lot of people's schedules to consider in that big wonderful family. Then a week before your birthday you invited a few daycare buddies and a friend from preschool to go to a really cool arcade. You all played video games and wack-a-mole and won tickets and used them to buy junky toys, and then you ran around in a little playground and did an obstacle course and came out sweaty and exhausted. Back home we had cupcakes and pizza (and blue Gatorade!), and you all played Star Wars and Rescue Bots and reveled so much in each others' company that I wished we could do things like this more often. On your actual birthday we spent the day as a family, in the morning you opened your gifts from your dad and me and you and Louie played hard all morning long. You're pretty obsessed with Mario right now, and I had found you some great Mario toys online and you hugged me so hard and said over and over again how happy you were and how thankful you were for these new toys. It felt good to get something so right, because that is not always the case.
We decided to go to the Children's Museum that afternoon, and then when we were all tired we walked a few blocks through the city to find dinner. Chicken fingers and fries and lemonade, a huge free birthday brownie dessert. What a great day. Just us. I think dad and I both had moments throughout the day during which we were both struck by how grateful we are for everything you and your brother and sister have given us. You kids mean so much to us, and sometimes everyday life wears on us, and it can be difficult to be in the moment, to entirely focus on and just enjoy this family. That day we did though, we had so much fun spending time with you three. The next day we celebrated with more family, my family, and you blew out candles for the third or fourth time I think, and you were showered with more love and gifts and continued to be gracious and thankful. I was very proud of you.
So from that recap it is clear, that per usual, the festivities did seem to drag on for many many weeks, which is something I think your little brother started to resent towards the end. We've got to be careful with that little guy's heart you know, not only is he a little brother, but now he's also a big brother. That's not an easy role to play and he's going to need a lot of grace from all of us as well. Especially from you, Gus, he looks up to you so much and this new life that we all started at the beginning of the month is hard for him too. He has always had his big brother at his side, and now HE'S the big kid at daycare, you're off making new friends at a new school and he's still at Debbie's house. He misses you buddy, he might even feel a little left behind. So when he's being extra annoying, when he's stubbornly arguing with you over something that doesn't seem to really matter, try to remember that.
You are strong, little boy, and you are courageous, and you are affectionate. You are passionate and loud and intense, but you also notice things and surprise me everyday with your astute observations. You work hard, and you play hard, and then you crash hard. You frustrate easily and feel things strongly, but you also make me so proud with how well you are able to communicate your needs and feelings and frustrations.
You are so precious to me sweetheart.
You have come a long way. So long. We have worked hard, you and I, along with your dad and many caring teachers and family members and friends, to figure you out and figure out how to help you be the very best YOU. Because we celebrate you and ALL the things that make you you.
You are going to be a good man some day, I already know this. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, there is a lot more of being a kid in store for you. I want for you and wish for you to be a kid for as long as possible. Enjoy your childhood. Keep chasing and tackling your dad and brother in the backyard. Work at those monkey bars until you get it, it will feel so good when you finally get all the way across on your own. Play pretend, you're not too old for it and I will always have time to listen to your weird little boy stories about transformers and inventions and shrink-rays. Revel in your victories, like beating Bowser at the end of each level of Mario. Make friends, have inside jokes, giggle inappropriately, even if every once in a while it gets you stern looks from adults. Enjoy learning, find what interests you and ask questions, seek out answers
Happy Birthday Gus. It's going to be a great year! Be brave. Be kind. Have fun! Work hard. Keep being ours. We will forever be yours.
I love you so much,