You just woke up and screamed, joyfully, “I AM EIGHT,” and ran down the stairs to grab a surprise pumpkin chocolate chip bread (your favorite) from dad, who left to say a prayer for you at the river. I asked you what the first thing you wanted to say about eight was and you replied, “I miss being seven.”
I guess all of us spend our lives balancing the difference between anticipation and letting go. There is a lot of that ahead for you. Eight will be the last year that you officially live full time with a sibling. Left here for now with just William, it already feels weird to only have four of us pile in the car (we all fit!) and plan menus for just two boys.
This year you compiled a visual list of birthday wishes and received just about all of them: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmXMSMqFxer/?taken-by=mightyquinnart. You are an amazing, amazing drawer of all things. You pause television to draw its many scences and spend every night before bed with a flashlight under your covers, drawing. I am in awe of your raw talent. You are our first kid that isn’t so much interested in sports. I asked you what your favorite sport was and you said, “air hockey,” but I will say that you became one heck of a swimmer this summer. When your wee little preemie lungs made it the full length of Hoyt pool this summer, I cried a little bit. Hard work beats talent every time, doesn’t it? Or maybe they are just cool partners.
At eight you like to eat Mac and cheese, dragon tail (pork tenderloin, grilled), tuna noodle salad from Outpost, all things pumpkin, Chinese dumplings (fried and in wonton soup), beef lo mein, gnocchi, cheese, watermelon, and peas. Most of all you like the fresh fish that Mr. Flood catches and fries for you. You are still a stuffed animal lover, though we did downsize this summer. We are now down to half a room full of stuffed friends and said individual farewells to the other half who made the walk of shame to Goodwill.
Much to the rest of the family’s chagrin, you have fallen in love with watching youtube videos and you make fun of me for not liking that Ryan kid or his mom. You have started to engage in the things that will define your generation and make your parents shake their heads in mock curiosity. All traces of little boy are gone and now you are simply BOY, a stage that is as short-lived as high school. You even went on an overnight school camping trip without dad, without me… just you and your backpack, pillowcase stuffed with flashlight, sketchbook, and a good ballpoint pen.
I cannot tell you enough how much I love you or how connected I feel to your heart. You are a dawdler, a daydreamer, a storyteller, an animal lover (loving to look, but not touch). You asked me what my favorite emotion was to feel and I said joy and you replied, “My favorite is lazy.” You are funny and quiet and introspective and investigative. You have asked me one hundred times this summer, “Mom, what is that word again where animals do human things?” When I say “anthropomorphic,” you repeat the word over and over and then often, later, point out to me anthropomorphic things you notice.
We have celebrated your birthday twice already, once when Lizzie was still home and once with your buddies Tegan and Rocket, so I am not quite sure how to spend your Labor Day birthday with you. It’s the night before my first day of classes and I feel a little overwhelmed and preoccupied with that. I asked you what you wanted to do and you said, “visit Shuggy and Shelby,” so heads up, Shug, we might make a tomato run.
Have an eventful and peaceful, adventurous and healthy eighth year, sweet boy. Make it great. I love you, I love you, I love you.