Tomorrow morning – at 5:30AM, as you keep telling me – you will officially be six. This is your first birthday away from home; right now you are sleeping on a hotel hide-a-bed mere blocks from your beloved Rogers Centre, excited that in just a few hours you’ll be watching Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays playing the Rangers. You brought your glove all this way in case a ball comes towards you. That glove gets a lot of use; you play imaginary games in the backyard when the weather permits, and this summer for the first time you’re in Little League, too. Your intensity amazes your dad and I, even though we should be used to it by now… but you have a plan, that starts in Tot Division and ends up in the majors one day, playing for Toronto so you don’t have to move too far away from home. Although the odds are long, with a part of myself I can’t help but believe that you’ll get there.
Because you, my precious boy, amaze us every day with your gifts, and your dedication, and your ability to make things happen. You have dozens of friends, from your classmates to much older kids at school. From reading simple books like “My Airplane” and “I Love Trucks” in September, you’ve moved to the Harry Potter series and Beverley Cleary’s Ralph S. Mouse books late at night, squinting at the words in the fading light long past bedtime. Shortly after you turned five, you decided that training wheels were for babies, took them off, and rode down the driveway without help on the first attempt. You swim better than I did when I was twice your age, you’ve started learning to dive, you’re equally at home helping me make dinner or building something elaborate out of Lego. The only thing you can’t seem to master is tying shoelaces (and we know it’ll come when you get interested enough to really try.)
You’ve started branching out and trying new foods this year, especially different ethnic tastes. You don’t always like them (sometimes you downright hate them, hodgepodge this year was not a success) but you do always make the attempt. If we can put something new in front of you in a restaurant, so much the better – you love being treated like an adult, and get a huge kick out of ordering your own meal and thanking the server at the end. Just today you hailed us a cab like you’d been doing it your whole life, and your obvious pride as you clambered into the back seat and struck up a conversation with the cab driver about the differences between Halifax and Toronto was wonderful to see.
You are one of the friendliest people I’ve ever known. You are always chatting with everyone you meet, about everything – and even the sourest, grumpiest looking people end up smiling. This evening in the elevator you started chatting with a group of tourists; when they found out your birthday is tomorrow, they applauded. I don’t know quite what to do sometimes with someone who finds social interaction that effortless; I envy your easy way with people and can’t help but feel so very proud of you when you make another friend, even if only for a minute or two.
You are the world’s best big brother. You love Thing #2 because he’s your little brother, but you like him immensely because he’s your friend. You asked to share a room with him, and I agreed to it with a great deal of reluctance – but it’s worked out great. You share your toys, you play together for hours, and if you need a little ‘alone time’ it only lasts for a few minutes before you’re asking him to come outside and play light sabers or curling up with him to read a story. You’re also very excited about the new baby; you hug my belly as often as I’ll let you, and talk softly to the baby inside. You’ve got a keen interest in what the baby will be called, and you hope it’s a girl because you’d like to have a sister, too.
Every day you get a little taller, a little wiser, and you grow a little further away from us. You are your own person, and while you still can get sad to the point of tears at the thought of growing up and leaving home someday, you also have big plans for your future, from tomorrow to next week to ten years from now. We are so excited to see where your life takes you.
Love and happy happy birthday,
Mom and Dad