Six Lessons in Six Years

Birthday Cake - Six

There’s a big #6 birthday at our house tomorrow.

In recognition of the past six years and the six stripes we’ve both earned, I offer these six things I know to be positively, unequivocally, and lovingly true.

#1. Within all of the days and weeks of pure, unadulterated exasperation, there are itsy bitsy moments of pure, unadulterated joy. Those moments are the money shots, the memory makers, and the bridges that carry us over the mud.

#2. We pour and pour and pour and pour into our kids with no immediate reward. Our return on investment comes when they turn and pour into the world. We just need to trust them, trust ourselves, and trust the process.

#3. Building little people requires more patience than exists in this world. That is a fact. We need to give ourselves some grace.

#4. Our kids are these gorgeous mash-ups of their parents and their own unique chemistries. Sometimes the little (and big) things they do that drive us crazy are direct reflections of ourselves. We need to give them some grace.

#5. There is a Mama Bear inside of me. She’s fierce and she’s loyal and she’s protective. How very lucky I am to have something to love and cherish so much it can make me growl.

#6. Sometimes the very best (and often only) thing you can ever do is laugh. We all have enough in our lives that isn’t laughable. When you can, and sometimes when you least feel like it, you must.

Happy #6, #1. I love you.


A Letter To My Five-Year-Old Son (To Be Read When He Turns Fifteen)


Dear Son,

Today, upon your request, I visited your school and brought you lunch. You asked me to bring you a Jimmy Johns sandwich (turkey, white cheese and lots of mayo), Doritos and a chocolate milk.

I stood outside your Kindergarten classroom and watched you reading a book in the corner. After a few moments you noticed me. Immediately your eyes lit up and you started waving uncontrollably saying, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

When all of the kids got in line to wash their hands, you came and gave me a great big hug.

I glanced at your teacher and she whispered, “He is so excited!”

I followed your class into the lunchroom and smiled to myself as you saved me a spot next to you at the cafeteria table. You patted it with your hand and said, “Right here, Mom. Sit next to me.”

I forgot the mayo on your sandwich and brought BBQ chips and a lemonade. But you didn’t seem to mind.

We ate lunch and talked about important things, like how great mayonnaise is. You introduced me to the kids sitting at the table. I helped them unscrew their thermoses and open their snacks. You pointed out the clock on the wall and told me that lunch is over when the big hand gets to the twelve.

After you finished I suggested you go and throw away your trash and you told me that you needed to wait until the teacher called your table. Then you asked me to stay for recess so you could show me the playground.

So I did.

When the bell rang, you stood up, grabbed my hand and, together, we walked down the hall to go outside. You said it was the “secret” way.

Once outside, I watched you climb, hang and jump your way around every single piece of playground equipment.

We fell into a cadence of You: Mom, watch this!

And then Me: Wow, that’s great!

You showed me the swings, the sandbox and the trashcans.

At one point you told me that you had to go to the bathroom and made me promise to sit on a big tire and wait for you.

So I did.

After you came back, we played some more. And then I said I needed to go because it was time to pick up your brothers, and you begged, “No Mom, can you please just stay five more minutes?”

When five minutes was up, you asked for two more. And then one more.

When it was finally time to go, you gave me hug after hug after hug. You asked me if I would come back tomorrow.

I walked away from the playground and you stayed by my side. And when we reached the edge, I said goodbye and continued on toward my car. I turned around one last time and saw you standing at the corner with your hand raised in a wave.

I ducked behind the building for a few moments and then peeked back at you and saw your blond hair and blue shoes swinging from the monkey bars.

I stood there and thought about how important it was for me to remember this day and all of the little things you did to make it so special.

So I came home and I wrote you this letter to thank you.

Thank you for today, this big day for a lot of little reasons.

Thank you for being you.

And thank you for reminding me how very lucky I am that you picked me for your mom.

I know it won’t always be like this.

I know soon you won’t be begging for my time. You won’t be calling me Mommy, you won’t be giving me limitless hugs and you won’t be holding my hand.

I know you’ll grow up faster than I can manage in my heart.

But you gave me today.

And I will put today in a special pocket and always hold it close to me.

For today, and for you, I will forever be grateful.

Love, Your Mom