June 8, 2010
My dear sweet, (and often wild!) Nate,
You are reaching the age of FIVE, and what a joy this past year has been to spend with you!
I have watched you transform and grow in size, strength, wisdom, ability and courage. Ten months ago, I held your hand tightly as you walked into a new school, and at your request, lingered in your classroom for a few extra minutes. Within no time at all, you couldn’t wait to head into that building and each day when you woke, the first thing you’d ask was if today was a day you could go to school. Over time I've watched you become more confident, and before I knew it the day came when during our walk into your school, you stopped me as we walked down the corridor, and asked me to stay where I was—you wanted to walk the rest of the way to your classroom all by yourself. I let go of your hand (unwillingly) and watched you step away, happy to be so independent. As I turned around to leave a moment later, I found myself being enveloped by the harsh realization that you no longer needed me in every aspect of your life. You were reaching out, testing the waters, and finding independence an exciting avenue. I was torn, thrilled with your grwth, but also saddened by your desire to leave me behind.
Over the last year, you’ve become such an amazing individual! You've tackled awesome challenges, becoming a magnificent builder, constructing what you’ve termed as “contraptions” with any materials you can find, at any given opportunity. You’ve made friends wherever we go, often introducing yourself to perfect 4-year-old strangers at places like the post office, and then turning to ask me (in front of their mothers) if it would be okay for them to come over to our house to play! Crazy as it sounds, this quality of yours is one of my favorites. You are unbelievably trusting and positive, and always see the good in people.
On the flip side, however, this also leaves you vulnerable, and bewildered by any hint of anger or bitterness in people. As your mother, it has been terribly difficult to see the hurtful effect upon you caused by individuals who may not be so kind. When we lived in South Carolina, there was a boy in our neighborhood, Wesley, who was quite a few years older than you. Yet, he always came around asking if you could play with him. For a while, I’d relent, and say yes, almost always hovering a few feet away watching with a careful eye. As the little brother in his family, it soon became evident to me that he was looking for someone to rule over and tease in the same way he may have been at home—and that person was you. He often blamed you for things that he did, and spoke to you in an exasperated tone. I was probably overbearing, but I couldn’t resist, my protective nature took over and when the next time I found myself face to face with Wesley at our front door, I made it very clear to him that he was not allowed to play with you anymore. That was that. What really moved me, was your plea that Wesley would change and would act kind to you next time, you just knew he would. Like I said, you always want to see the good in people.
Another move prompted unbelievable courage and curiosity. I was afraid that two moves in two years would be far too much for your young spirit, but you proved me otherwise. Often times you held me together, offering enough faith and strength for the two of us to rely upon. You’ve been an amazing big brother as well, telling your sister not to be afraid of new things, promising her that you will be right by her side whenever she needs you.
For the last few months, every day that you’ve moved closer to the age of five, and further away toddlerhood, I've been forced to realize how mature you’ve become, how smart, and clever, and creative you are, in ways I’d never have guessed a boy your age to be. To say that I am lucky enough to be your mother is an extreme understatement; you are an incredible joy in my life and I am thrilled with the person you are becoming. In two short months you will begin kindergarten, and so too, will you begin a whole new phase of life—one in which I will have to stand on the outskirts and only hope you will want to share with me.
Although the days of abundant time allocated just for you and I are beginning to slip away, I take comfort in imagining the joys around the corner you’ll continue to provide for all of us. When it has always been my job to teach you, to love you unconditionally, to comfort you, and to give you additional encouragement, I now see that soon enough it will be you, who will offer in exchange these same gifts to me.
I can’t wait.
Happy Birthday Lovebug