08 January 2008

six years

Dear James,

Today you are six years old. It seems that every year, birthdays get more and more exciting. (I hate to tell you that that feeling won't last forever, so enjoy it while you can.) You are a boy who is always full of ideas, and you've been planning this birthday very carefully, from composing lengthy lists of presents you hope to get, to requesting blueberry-banana pancakes for breakfast, to drawing diagrams of what kind of birthday cake I should make for you this weekend.

It's hard to sum you up this year. The change from 5 to 6 has been less drastic than any other year before this one. The best way I can describe it is simply to say you've grown up. I know how vague that sounds, but it's accurate. You've grown taller (though still as skinny as ever -- I bet you could still wear your brother's pants), you've matured, you're more confident and patient, you've progressed academically and emotionally. You are the easy one -- in many ways I feel as though our parenting work is mostly done, like even if all we did for the next 12 years was feed you and clothe you, you'd still be your bright, cheerful, energetic, clever self. This is especially true because of your ever-growing independence.

I wasn't sure you could get more independent, but I shouldn't be surprised. From the minute you were mobile you were trying to do everything yourself. Now you wake up in the morning and fix yourself a bowl of cereal for breakfast. You dress yourself, you make your bed, you do the chores I ask you to do. You mostly entertain yourself. You read to yourself. You play nicely with your brother. Since your shoes are velcro, it seems you need your parents for almost nothing on a daily basis. I can live with this.

One of my favorite things about this year is that you've grown into good taste in music. How happy am I now that you're singing the Ramones around the house instead of Dora songs? The happiness can't be measured. And you, who I worried wouldn't really love music because you didn't, for a long time, enjoy music at all, whether it was people singing or music being played, but you've proven that my fears were unfounded. It was so much fun seeing you rock out when we played Rock Band over Christmas vacation, seeing you have so much fun just singing.

Over the last year, your brother has become one of your best friends. He follows your lead, and from you he has learned to develop an amazing imagination. The two of you invent all kinds of pretend games, in which you are Luke and Leia, or Ninja Turtles, or Pokemon trainers. You build lego spaceships and lego cars and lego who-knows-what together. You're a good role model for him -- I hope the two of you will always be so close.

I could go on, and on, and on, about what a wonderful boy you are, and how lucky we are to have you in our family. You are still flaky -- you misplace things all the time, and you still spend plenty of time in your own little universe, where sometimes we have a hard time reaching you when we need you. Maybe I'm biased, considering where you got these habits from, but I think they're endearing most of the time.

Happy birthday, sweet baby James. May this be only one of many, many happy years ahead of you.


Jessica said...

So sweet! Happy birthday to James! And I love the picture!

Ren said...

I hope you're starting a yearly tradition with this post - I really like it. Though you might want to put a warning at the beginning for people who may read this at work and end up teary and messy-make-uped at their desks. :)