Every year on my children’s birthday I write them a letter. This is Max’s seventh.
My sweet Max,
Seven. Seven seems so big. This morning we did your birthday mugshots and I was shocked when I placed them side by side with the ones from one year ago today. You have changed so much!
This year you conquered kindergarten like a champ. I was so worried, I admit I worry about you probably more than I should. You did so well. I did everything I could do to make sure you were in the right school and Dr. Williams put you in the perfect class with Mrs. J and then I had to trust you to fly. You did. This year I learned that as much as I try to ensure you are in situations that allow your confidence to build and your self reliance to grow that YOU know yourself really well and I simply need to listen to you and take my cues from you. Your anxiety is still there, we still do “the thing” every night before bed. But this year there have been fewer acute attacks and very rarely have you exhibited stress tics. I am so proud of you.
You even handled kids at school calling you a fraidey cat perfectly, and while simply thinking about it now- after the fact- makes me want to cry, you told them what they were doing wasn’t for you and then you shook it off. You are amazing. My promise to you this year is that I will release my, well, anxiety about your anxiety and let you be. I will let you breathe but I will be right there, should you need me.
This year I figured out that you are a bit like Dumbo and the magic feather, sometimes we just need to find that magic feather to help you trust your own abilities. You were afraid to go under the water till we gave you goggles, then you were ready to go!
You and Huck have alternated between having a great time together and fighting like cats and dogs. This has been a very hard year for Huck and most of the time you handle his tantrums and tears with love and support. The other night you two had a huge fight, you wouldn’t let him play with you. You told him he wasn’t allowed that only you and Piper could play. There was pushing, hitting and a lot of tears involved. I sent you to Huck’s room to calm down while I cared for him. When I came in you were angry, you have been angry a lot this year and that’s okay, you started to launch into all the things Huck did wrong. But I stopped you. I told you it’s okay to only want to play with Piper sometimes. Then I told you something you didn’t know, Huck’s greatest fear is exactly that, that you and Piper don’t need him or want him. He has struggled with Piper’s arrival not really because I was busy with her, but because YOU were. I told you that when you said those words to him it hurt him. But because he is so little he can’t put those feelings into words, he can’t verbalize it the way you do. I told you he was like Tip in HOME. He was sad-mad. You looked at me like a light bulb went on in your mind, “OH! That’s why he gets so upset and hits! He is sad-mad!” you went to him and hugged him and told him you loved him. He idolizes you Max. You are his hero and he absolutely lights up with a kind word from you.
You guys play a game where you travel to Key West. I have no idea where you got it from but you guys play it regularly and it’s hilarious. The only thing better than listening to you two laugh together is listening to the THREE of you. And you do a great job of helping this along by showing kindness to your brother. Piper practically wiggles out of her skin when she sees you, especially in the morning. You light her up.
You still love baseball and especially the NATS. This fall you move up to machine pitch and it cannot come fast enough for you. You practice all the time. I can usually find you setting up a field and running the bases! You draw intricate plans of the Great American Ball Park and Nats Stadium.
You also draw incredibly detailed drawings of The Cavern! Yes, you still love The Beatles!
You want a YouTube channel and I can find you pretending you are doing a toy opening video regularly. It’s basically awesome.
You change clothes approximately 292,756 times a day. Every activity needs wardrobe.
If you could spend all day every day at the pool, you would.
Your favorite food is rice and beans and you drink seltzer water like a maniac.
My favorite time of day with you is bedtime. Being a kid can be hard with all those emotions and things to learn coming up so quickly. I shocked you the other day when you were having a hard time and I said quietly “Sometimes it is really hard to be a kid.” You looked at me like you couldn’t believe I understood and said “yes. it is!” But at night, no matter how grumpy you’ve been, how tired and cranky, how angry you got because you were embarrassed you made a mistake, at night you snuggle close to me and we talk about everything. You tell me about God, we talk about school and family and we laugh about what happened that day. I feel so blessed to be your mother.
I cannot believe you are off to first grade in five weeks. I know you will be amazing, just as you were in kindergarten and I promise to relax and just let you be.
I love you so, so, so much.
^sucker punched by time, I tell ya.
You can read his earlier birthday letters HERE