Six is the year little boys seem to turn into kids. Look at that little misplaced tooth… how can one grin contain so much innocence and sneakiness at once? Happy Birthday, Mighty Mighty Quinn. 48 lbs. later (for both of us).
September 3rd is a terrible time of year to have a birthday if your mom is a teacher, even if it does fall on a Saturday. You walked out of school for the weekend with an “It’s my birthday” sticker on your sweatshirt, a nudge of a reminder to me that I didn’t visit the classroom to watch you walk around the sun. I didn’t see your peers sing to you or share photos of you or answer questions like, “Does Quinn have any pets?” from children sitting like pretzels in a circle. You didn’t seem to mind and I have decided not to let the guilt of that even enter my energy field. The joy of being child number four is that you don’t seem to mind and neither do I.
We celebrated last week, while Luke was still home. I made the mistake of looking on Pinterest for ideas. Welcome to your last birthday in which I will roll out starbursts to make dog collars. It was a rookie mistake and I should have known better. I haven’t driven myself that crazy since Lizzie was six a decade ago and a rolled up wee marshmallows to mimc sheep fur for Nursery Rhyme Character Day.
Last night at Lizzie’s volleyball game, I saw one of our freshman wearing a shirt that read “Class of 2020,” and I swear to you that I almost ripped it right off her. 2020! Are you kidding me? All of the kids (version one) will be moved out and Luke will even be done with college and you, my dear, (version two) will be ten. Everyone needs to slow the f down (except for the part where we are broke all of the time and I scour the freezer for an old corndog to feed you until payday … feel free, Gods, to fast forward to the money part). So even though it is 12:21AM on what was officially my first full day of classes, I just wanted to pause for a brief moment on your big day to tell you about your six-year-old-self.
Usually you wear a raccoon Davy Crocket hat to school. Men in their sixties stop us in the coffee shop to pat you on the head and say, “I had one of those when I was a kid.” For good or for bad, no one else your own age says that. Last week, you paired it with Luke’s old superman socks (went past your knees), athletic shorts, and a sweater. I told you that you looked ridiculous, but then Luke said, “You don’t have to wear it, so what do you care?” So for you went to kindergarten, happy as a clam and no worse for the wear when you returned home. The only thing I have vetoed is you wearing a heavy wool reindeer Christmas sweater on a ninety degree day in August. You replied to my veto with, “BUT I HAVEN’T WORN THAT IN AGES!”
You have lost your first tooth. You tell me that your favorite color gummy bears are the colors of the window and of bubbles (“is that color called blank?”). You cannot sit still at volleyball games and when they sing the national anthem, you sing along with it really loudly because you just learned that song at school. You are still the biggest lover of dogs and of all things stuffed I have ever met. Our house has more stuffed animals in it than it does utensils. I promised to take you to Build-a-Bear with Tegan and you have already told me you want to get a hyena (they stock hyenas?). You are the most joyful, loving, enthusiastic, sensitive boy in all of the land. You are my sidekick and my shadow, and, like always, “my cupcake and my earthquake.”
Your actual birthday was one of the worst days of my life. We both almost died. Just made it, you and I. Every day since then though, kid, have been the best. There is BQ and AQ (before Quinn and after) and all I can tell you for certain is that the wonder and love that you have brought into all of our lives makes BQ feel incomplete, a semi-circle. I always liked even numbers better anyway. Love you, Q. Infinitely.