My Dearest Son,
Today is your fifth birthday. I know that because you have been telling me about it for a month now. So, sit still for a minute and listen up.
At this five-year mark of your life you are fully immersed in the standard boy things – Star Wars, Power Rangers, Hot Wheels, bikes and pizza. You are game for anything that involves running and throwing a ball, especially if the ball has Batman on it.
Reading practice has opened up more of your world. When you ask questions I hear the genuine curiosity in your voice. You want to know what spells “F-O-O-D”, why there are numbers all around the grocery store, what that shushing sound is under the car when we drive on rainy days, and what it would be like to have one thousand eyeballs.
I have given up on attempts to correct your discombobulated sense of fashion. As long as you are appropriately covered you have the freedom to wear your flannel shirt, Iron Man swim shorts, and skull rain boots to the beach. You have no use for socks, hats, or coats.
You continue to be a valuable helper. This desire to help me keep our home clean and organized has moved beyond just picking up your toys. You are my summertime grilling partner, vegetable chopper, and truck tire inflater. I saw you attempt to make your sister’s disaster of a bed earlier this week. I don’t blame you for giving up on that.
Yet as you get older you sometimes get uppity with me and refuse to do as I ask. This doesn’t last long because I have learned that all I need to do is challenge you to do that chore before I finish counting to some random number. Instantly you’re off to show me you can get it done. It is the most powerful tool in my parenting kit right now.
Your relationship with your sister remains the same: you love her and are annoyed by her in equal measure. The fighting has become louder as you learn to express yourself and claim your place. Despite her constant badgering, she is the one you want by your side.
Our Father and Son traditions continue with breakfast at the pancake place, books and pizza at The Rock, chase games in the dark house with glow sticks. Sprinkled among our days are the simple asking and answering of questions. Your curiosity is boundless.
Looking back at all that you have accomplished during this past year, of this I am most proud: you have become a very brave boy. You had to face new experiences like painful dentist appointments, riding a bike without training wheels, and being in a pool without me for your first swim class. You were very scared and sometimes angry with me as I gently pushed you to do these things. But in those tough moments you bravely step forward, sometimes with knees quaking, and do your very best.
As you get older and your life becomes more complex I hope you remember those successes. You are capable of great things when you believe in yourself. Also, please trust me. I will never leave you alone in scary places.
Today is the day we celebrate you, my brave and handsome son. Nothing shines brighter in my life than my love for you and that love will last forever. Let’s make this year your best year.
Happy Birthday to you, my Little Monkey Man, my Duncan Philip.