Recently we were laying in my bed, reading together. Well, you, the Jedi Academy books; me, A Man Called Ove. At some point I looked up from my pages and thought – huh. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
An eight-year-old boy who is journeying through his own diverse world as it comes… making assumptions, listening to alternatives, asking questions, filling in the blanks.
An eight-year-old boy who can appreciate a Donald Trump joke.
An eight-year-old boy who begs for tablet time but also knows how to navigate outside. Throw something; see how it lands. Climb something; see further away. Explore a construction site. Imagine what will fill the space.
An eight-year-old boy with an appreciation for what came before him, and wonders what will be. Why is there only one wall left? Will the people who died ever come back?
It’s going to be a memorable year; we have some plans for you. We’re thankful you have awesome friends, a fine schooling experience, good relationships with your sisters. Whatever comes up, you have or are developing the tools to handle it.
And no, no matter what you’re wishing for over those candles… it’s not an iPhone.
If we’re being cynical, the propaganda machine is running in full force at my house. If we’re being honest, I’m just trying to protect my offspring. If we’re being optimistic, the hope is knowledge will lead to creative, original and practical solutions.
This Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, hit me hard. Harder than in years I can count on both hands. I think there are a few reasons for this:
- I have a lot more responsibility, suddenly. I’m waking up from a very intense few years of having kids.
- My boy is a bigger thinking, processing human and asks bigger questions.
Who were the good guys? Who were the bad? Why is there a shirt hanging on the stage? Why did they have to wear those clothes? If you’re grandma is that old why wasn’t she in the shoah? Oh did she fight in the war then? The Russians were good and then they were bad?
What side was Israel on?
Don’t we know it, Zooey. It’s not easy snagging attention around here. I guess you have a hometown advantage of being the easiest to carry on my back. Just a bunch of koalas after all.
It’s not hard to believe a year has gone by – it’s been such a packed year, what with me stretching maternity leave with you as long as I could… you got a better deal than your siblings that way, too. I did the best I could and went back to work and now I’m trying to snag what I can get. It goes both ways.
Also – you have a thing for balloons. Can you guess why? Here’s a hint: Boobs.
So yeah, it’s been a wild year. We were attached for a lot of that. Even if the balancing act got so much more challenging with an extra kiddie in the house. It’s like you were in the womb, feeling the stress and thinking – when I get out of here, this won’t end. And you figured it out strategically – no pacifiers. No substitutes. Your refusal to ever take a bottle, sip from any variety of sippie cups, or drink from, you know what, any kind of cup at all – well, yeah. We have been attached for a lot of it.
I guess you’re getting away with a lot more than even Nettles did… younger siblings rights… But a whole bag of Bamba is a new low for me.
You’re taking what you can get. It’s a dog eat dog world, Zooey. Pat on the back for you.
This is the year, Bebe. The year I start to feel the weight of what it is to raise a daughter.
There’s something about this year – kindergarten, the oldest of the gan years, first grade prep, heightened self awareness, heightened emotional intelligence, deeper self expression.
Taking more responsibility. Finding love in different places.
Volunteering to try new things. Speaking up.
Finding a sense of style. Preferences for patterns of your own design.
Giving of yourself. Thinking of others.
This is the year Bebe. You’re getting to be a bigger, bolder kid. You’re thinking things through. For better or worse, you’re aware of what’s going on around you – the good, the bad, the scary. The uncomfortable. You’ve figured out privacy. You’ve figured out whats makes a kid ‘in’ or ‘out’. You want to fit in. You want to be appreciated.
Just keep nurturing your ability to speak up. To speak against injustice. Learn when to step in. Learn when to step up. I will help you. It’s hard for me too. But this is the year, Bebe. So much learning and growing. You teach me every day, too.