Posted by: Hannah | 07/29/2013

eight is great

Dear Harry,

You’ve been waiting all summer for it to happen, and it’s finally here – you’re eight. Eight is great! several people on Facebook pointed out when wishing you a happy birthday, and I quite agree. It seems a whole lot older than seven, I know that.

Overnight, it seems, you’ve sprouted. You’re all arms and legs, and sometimes your clumsiness astounds me. I’ve seen you just fall over, no preamble or anything. Just the other day you were standing in the middle of the living room, and somehow as I watched you landed on the floor, laughing helplessly at your own foolishness while you clutched your knee.

This year brought glasses. And a drastic haircut. And your teeth don’t seem too big for your mouth anymore. Physically you look so very different from a year ago that sometimes it still catches me unawares. Sometimes I look at you and I can see the teenager that’s lurking just around the corner, and that both delights and terrifies me.

Some days you’re still a little boy, watching Lego Ninjago over and over again while lamenting that they only ever made 26 episodes, and wanting to be tucked in at night. Some days you’re all attitude and angles, sighing, rolling your eyes, making fierce faces and complaining about having to share a room with Ron. On occasion you say things that are cruel, and even as it flies out of your mouth I can see on your face that you wish you could take it back. Your apologies may not come as quickly, but they are always sincere and heartfelt.

You are still the best big brother I’ve ever met. As Ron gets older and starts asserting himself more there has been some bickering; pretty normal sibling stuff, especially when those siblings share a small room. Your fights never last long and you are still as close and loving as brothers can be. With George you have endless patience; you’ll read a stack of books to him happily, or teach him to put the hats back on the Lego men, or coax him to climb up the ladder and then go down the slide. He in turn idolizes you. Yours was the first name he learned to say, even before his own.

You still struggle with the need to work hard in order to accomplish a goal, because so much in life comes easily to you. You are really struggling with learning how to do the front crawl, so you’ve been stuck in Swim Kids 4 three times now. Creative writing is also hard for you because you can’t sit down and churn out the works of Shakespeare on the first go-round. Just last week you went to the beach with my mom, and after trying and trying AND TRYING you stood up on her boogie board and surfed. I was so proud… because it was hard but you kept at it until you succeeded.

At school it was a challenging year; your teacher was not engaged or interested, particularly, and she seemed to be in way over her head with a kid like you. You excelled at everything – except creative composition – and often went far beyond what was necessary when doing special projects.  When you did a science project on narwhals, we all ate, slept, and breathed the tusked whale for weeks. When your class put on a play, you learned everyone else’s lines too because it was “just easier to memorize the whole play, honestly!”

You’ve been learning to cook. You moved up to a much bigger bicycle. You almost always choose showers over baths and you can’t order off the kids’ menu at restaurants anymore because you don’t get enough food. You’ll try anything once, still want to play professional baseball someday, and are itching to go on Big Scary Rollercoasters with your dad when we’re on vacation next week.

Happy birthday, my special boy, my firstborn. Always stay as kind and curious and exuberant as you are right now.

Love, Mom & Dad




  1. Awww! Happy birthday!

  2. What a sweet letter. I love the idea of writing these to one’s children so they can read them one day.

  3. Happy birthday, Harry! It sounds like you’re growing up just right. 🙂

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