Today, you turned six.
As I write these words and you sleep soundly in your Avengers sheets (because that’s how you sleep, soundly, almost the instant your head hits the pillow) you are probably growing even taller, your face losing it’s baby-ness even more, so when I look at you at just the right angle I can see clearly the man you will become.
If five was hard, six is harder. The love I feel for you and the ache and joy that accompanies each birthday is still a palpable thing, so real it’s as if I could remove it from my chest and hold it in my hands. I imagine I will say the same thing year after year. When you are fifty and I am seventy-five I will probably clank away on these same keys, sipping tea and wiping away tears, wondering where my baby went.
Enough of that for now, though. Five was a year worth remembering.
You passed one of life’s great milestones: you started Kindergarten.
My goodness, do you look handsome in your special occasion clothes. On that first day of school you looked like your could do anything.
And, as always, you were a big brother worth looking up to.
Five was the year you learned chess. You play after school one day a week, and on Fridays your dad takes you to the coffee shop where you play a weekly game.
(Sometimes dad even lets you get a soda, because he’s cool like that).
(Sometimes dad also does your hair. You have awesome hair).
I love that you still fit in my lap and I don’t mind that your awesome hair smushes my face when you do.
You also ran your first mile. We ran it together, three laps around St. James Court.
You still love watching TV but you are increasingly getting into other things. Five was the year of video games, of Legos, Ninja Turtles, and Batman.
You are still one heck on an artist. You make things that bring tears to my eyes.
And things that make me stand back and marvel, like the self portraits you did every month, starting when you were four and a half and ending when you were five and a half.
You wouldn’t believe how many parents and teachers tell us you have the best handwriting out of all the Kindergarteners, maybe even the whole lower school.
I think your legs grow about an inch a day.
You are taking your place amongst the cousins. You love family reunions with the fiery passion of a five-year old who knows it means late nights, lots of running, and grape sodas.
You still have your place right in the middle of the Brooks brothers. You are happiest when you are all together.
You get to be the little brother.
Aside from you family you have a whole lot of people who are crazy about you.
You are often the “big kid” when we are with our friends and you accept that role with a kindness and patience that makes me proud every single time.
Being your mom makes me proud every single day.
You’re getting big now. When I carry you to bed I can no longer heft you onto your spot on the top bunk. I have to set you on the edge and you have to scoot to your pillow, much to your displeasure. You take naps less and less. You claim you don’t need them.
You still like to snuggle, but you are routinely just as content to play quietly with your Legos. You can do more things for yourself. When I look at you I never fail to see a boy who can do – and be – absolutely anything.
But know no matter how big you get, no matter how independent you become, no matter how many inches you grow overnight, I will always be here. Your weight, in that sense, will never be too much for me to carry.
There are no words big enough to capture how much I love you.