2013 § Leave a Comment
You have never been ordinary. Your birth (which I am sure you will one day tire of hearing about) set the stage for the early years of our relationship – unbearable pain leading to euphoric love. There was a point, about thirteen hours into laboring drug free, that I thought “I can’t do this” only to push through and end up with all eight pounds of you in my arms, looking at me with eyes so bright and aware it was slightly unnerving.
Whether it was colic or a regular day with your often frustrating strong will, I’ve experienced that same cycle of feelings more than once these past three years.
I can’t believe today I woke up and there was a boy beside me and not a baby (yes, you still sneak into our bed on a regular basis). Just yesterday you were, after all, a baby. An undeniably, incredibly cute, baby.
This year has been a year of major, intense changes. I think the transition from two to three might be one of the most marked transitions of early childhood.
No more diapers.
You can say everything you are thinking and feeling and you can go just about anywhere you want.
Though you definitely enjoy the perks of being the youngest in the clan.
You started your first season of soccer.
You got your first hair cut.
And your first black eye (followed by a second and a third – you are the definition of “rough and tumble”).
Between your quick wit, attitude, and wise-beyond-your-years-and-not-always-in-a-good-way self, you remind me a lot of your second oldest brother, Goldie. You all seem to know it. You are drawn to each other.
You like to give your most immediate older brother a hard time.
But we know the truth – you are partners in crime (or crime fighting).
And even though you try to act like you, of all people, don’t need no stinkin’ big brother, I only have to go check on you in the middle of the night to see the truth plain and clear: you are best friends.
You play hard.
You nap hard (you still take two-hour naps, for which I am grateful).
You are my snuggle guy.
My fellow adventurer and dreamer.
You go hard until you can’t go anymore.
You have a lot of people who love you.
You’re blazing your own path in a family of good men.
And luckily you have strong shoulders to stand upon.
You are extraordinary. You are vibrant and fiery. You shine bright like the sun, with a temper as scorching and love that could light the whole world. You know what you want. It’s tradition in this family to pick exactly what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on your birthday. You were the first person to ever test the boundaries. You looked at me this morning and said “I want a cupcake for breakfast.”
So you had one.
I hope you never lose your fire. I hope you stay as free at thirty as you are at three.
You have this thing you do lately, where when we tuck you in you want a routine. First I give you a hug and you squeeze with all your might. Then you look at me expectantly until I say “what’s next?” You grin and say “noses.” We rub noses. “What’s next?,” I ask. You whisper “kiss” and pop kiss with absolute delight. You are sweeter than sugar and I love you more than you will ever, ever know.
Hug, Nose, Kiss,
2012 § 3 Comments
Five seems old. More grown up. Five is like a million little needles, piercing my heart and reminding me all at once that you are no longer a baby. Or even a little boy. No, you are squarely on the path to boyhood. Five, for your mother, is a bittersweet mix of pride and blessing, ache and nostalgia.
Four was an epic year.
Full of wonder.
Your entered that stage where even your most beautiful smile has to somehow be silly.
That “big kid” attitude started to rear its head.
Though you remained, in so many ways, as serious and sensitive as your name suggests.
And – like at one and two and three – at four your brothers were your still favorite playmates.
And you continued to be a fantastic older brother.
You really are mama’s helper – baking cookies, clearing the table, cleaning up toys – you even helped me grade papers.
Watching you grow into your place among the fine men in our family is one of my life’s greatest privileges.
You got your first ever hair cut. You were thrilled, and I barely even cried.
I’m pretty sure the new ‘do made you feel ten feet tall.
You started Junior kindergarten at “the big school.”
You worked very hard.
I can’t believe how far you came with reading, writing, and math while you were only four.
You played your first two seasons of soccer, with daddy as your coach (go Purple Dragons!).
You are the light in your daddy’s eyes.
You shot your first real bow and arrow.
It’s safe to say your favorite thing was Mario, followed at a close second by Power Rangers.
And a close third was probably snuggling.
You “voted” in your first presidential election.
It was a pretty sweet year.
Sometimes I wonder if you realize how many friends you have, and how loved you are by so many people.
Especially your mama.
I have loved you since the moment I knew you existed. I have loved you since that first heart beat. I have loved you when days are hard and when they are easy, loved you as the sun sets and rises, loved you as infinitely as the universe. You are as your name suggests, the brightest light. In a night sky filled with stars I will always find you. Watching you grow is the great joy of my life and I cannot wait to see what five will bring.
Always and forever,
2012 § Leave a Comment
Being an unpublished author is a scary thing. Everyone is full of advice and horror stories. Publishing is dying! Bookstores are doomed! There is a YA Mafia and they are going to KILL YOU!
You need a “brand.”
This is how I feel about the whole brand thing: an internet presence these days is necessary and important. Blogging is an amazing way to build your potential future readership. Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds is a great example of this phenomenon. He is one of my favorite people to follow on twitter (what can I say, I like a filthy mouth), his blog is useful, and because of this I will read his books.
It ends up feeling like if you don’t blog and tweet and tumbl and pin and facebook
and myspace you will never, never get an agent and you will never, never get published and you will die unhappy.
But here’s the thing.
Maybe you have time to blog and tweet and pin. But maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have an 8-5, you have kids, and you have a second job, too. And you have to do all your writing around those things. So you can write your book or you can blog.
You can scroll through my archives and see where my priorities lie. I am, however, active on Twitter because it takes less time and I get actual interaction out of the deal.
And maybe it will hurt me. Maybe an agent will one day be turned off by my small twitter following (400 is small, I’m pretty sure) and my infrequent blog posts. Maybe that will be what makes one agent chose someone else over you.
But what is definite is that if you don’t have a great, finished book, you will never get an agent. You will never be published. So if you only have so much time to write, use it for your book.
**drops the mic**
2012 § Leave a Comment
You might notice that you do not have a first birthday letter. That is highly symbolic of my relationship with you – nothing like I expected.
I’m supposed to be your parent, but for the first two years I am pretty sure you have taught me more about myself then I have taught you about this great big world we live in.
Let me start at the beginning.
From the beginning I expected you to be like your brother. I expected an easy, complication free pregnancy, the kind that let me take law school finals 9 months pregnant with your brother, birth him over winter break, and be back in class eleven days later.
This was not my pregnancy with you. I had this annoying low blood pressure thing which caused me to almost pass out on a regular basis. And there was the night I started bleeding. I remember everything with startlingly clarity. The yellow of the kitchen I was standing in. How hard I’d worked all day. The meal I was cooking (salmon croquettes) almost finished. When I felt the blood I went to the bathroom and there was so much. I felt my heart pound pound pause. The doctor confirmed there were no clots, told me to go to bed, and come straight in in the morning. My eyes wide open in the dark room, I thought about you. How terrified I was to lose you. How even though I thought I wasn’t ready (you were planned, mind you – you were just created a little earlier than intended) I suddenly knew I really, really was and I didn’t want to go back.
It was just a “placenta tear.” And it never happened again.
And unlike my first pregnancy, you came quickly. Instead of a c-section you came naturally, sans drugs and all. I have never experienced such splitting, encompassing pain, or the absolute high I felt once you were in my arms. I didn’t sleep for three days. You were me and I was you and it was incredible.
Then you started screaming. Your brother was the kind of baby who would sit in his car seat and stare for hours while I studied at Panera. You, not so much. I didn’t understand. I compared you to him. Your father and I tiptoed around when you slept, sitting on a couch like shell-shocked soldiers, not even bothering to speak in case we accidentally woke you.
Year one pushed me to some places I’m not sure I like to admit exist inside of me.
But here’s the thing. You are the most wonderful, hilarious, fiery boy I know. And you know why you were crying? Because you were so damn mad you couldn’t walk and talk and communicate. You, from day one, have desperately wanted to interact with the world. When you couldn’t, it infuriated you. Once you could, you were fine. This quality that made the first year so hard will probably be one of the things I most admire about you as you grow.
And there are so many things I admire about you. They coincidentally are the things also causing me to go prematurely grey. I adore that you are fearless, even though it manifested as you insisting on walking up and down stairs alone at eighteen months.
Yes, you have fallen down stairs. More than once.
But you always get up. And no fall has ever kept you from wanting to try again.
And you are so funny. Always making jokes. Playing tricks. Telling me to go to sleep just so you can wake me up.
You say hi to everyone you see. You are completely and utterly full of life.
You have done some things so crazy I won’t publish them on the internet in case you ever want to run for office.
You are one of the snuggliest guys I have ever encountered.
You are such a great addition to the Brooks Brothers. You mirror Sage so perfectly. And even though you all are completely different, you and Sirius have a lot in common.
You keep us all laughing.
I am so, so lucky I got you and not what I expected. I am so thankful you make me work hard at being a mom. I am so happy I have you, my fire boy, my namesake, the sun in my sky.
Always and forever,
2011 § Leave a Comment
Today, on the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year, you turn four years old.
I marvel at the boy you have become. I swear, just yesterday you were a little baby asleep in my arms.
And now you are so, so big.
There are so many things I love about you. One of the things that makes me proudest is that you are an exceptionally loving big brother. If this doesn’t say brotherly love, I don’t know what does.
I love that you love books and writing stories. I love that like your mama, you sometimes just can’t put a good book down.
I love that when you were three you learned to write your name. You know your letters, your phonics, your “ones” addition, and the planets. I wonder what you will learn while you are four?
You make an awesome superhero.
And our family feels complete because you’re a part of it.
For your birthday, I wish for you to always keep a part of the sensitive, silly boy you are now. The one who believes in magic and who is kind to everyone he meets. The boy who calls his brothers his best friends. You are a king, the brightest light, my shining star.
I love you. Happy birthday.
2011 § 4 Comments
- You are not a loser for wanting to stay in on a Saturday night and read.
- Alternatively, all that going out, drinking, and dancing you’re doing is not per se irresponsible. It will give you great material for your writing down the road.
- As a matter of fact, live as much as you can. Travel, take chances, risk your heart. You can’t be a great writer if you’ve never experienced anything.
- All that poetry you write? Even the bad stuff? That agonizing word by word, line by line, will pay off big time. Don’t stop writing it.
- Don’t be scared to call yourself a writer.
- Don’t be scared to share your work. Sign up for an open mic night or a critique group. Be brave.
- Take some classes that relate to your writing.
- In fact, don’t buy into the whole “you need a real degree” mentality – go for your MFA, if you want.
- But if you don’t take those classes and you don’t get that MFA*, remember – as long as you keep writing, you’ll always be a writer.
- Those novels you started that just kind of fizzled out? Those are important. You’re figuring stuff out about your writing, things that make you unique. And when you got the idea to take the Atlanta murder mystery and rewrite it in a dystopian setting? You had no idea how ahead of the curve you were.
- Harry Potter only gets better. It will mean as much to you in 2011 as it did in 1999.
- Never stop believing in magic.
- Your humanist perspective and anti-racist attitude are so important to your voice as a writer. Do not lose them as you get older. They are part of what makes you able to tell a story no one else can tell.
- That boy who broke your heart? He’s not nearly as important as you think he is. For serious. But, on the bright side, all that angst will really help with certain scenes in the first novel you actually complete.**
- Love the time when your friends are your world. Cherish your best friend as your first reader. You will have families of your own much sooner than you realize, and things will inevitably change.
- But don’t be scared of change, whether it’s in your life or in your writing (editing!)
- If a guy doesn’t go crazy over your writing, he’s not the guy for you (hint: you will meet This Guy and This Guy will totally heal the heart-wound and ego-bruise guy-who-broke-your-heart gave you when he had no reaction to the poem you wrote for him. I promise better things are coming).
- For the love of god, realize how much time you have. Use it. relish it. Take naps and take impromptu trips to write in coffee shops. Stay up until 3am writing because you can sleep in the next day. One day you will have more kids than you can comprehend*** and one of the things you will miss most (besides having a slamming body with no working out or diet required) is your time.
- This has nothing to do with writing, but do you have any idea how beautiful you are? Believe it.
- You are a writer already – never give up and you will be amazed how far determination can take you.
2011 § Leave a Comment
While shopping at my local indie bookstore I found this postcard featuring a photo of Anne Rice in her San Francisco apartment in 1983. I love so much about this – the ginormous computer, the dictionary beside it, the fact every inch is filled with books and newspaper clips and pictures. But my favorite part is the idea of her daydreaming about Lestat with those big stuffed animals behind her.