Tuesday, August 14, 2012

to my second grader.

{oh, i love you bloggy friends.  you gave me some great ideas/advice about bedtime.  we've been trying some of them....and things are easing up just a little.  thank you thank you!  i'll share the details when the outcome is a little more consistent. } 

and now, a letter to my son.

“You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

Dear Caleb,

I didn't want to start this letter out with a downer, but I want to be honest because I know you'll read this someday, and one of the rules of our house is to be honest--with kindness.  The 6 and 7 year old years have been extremely bittersweet for me.  I think it's an in-between age, where you're not a little boy anymore, but you're also not a big kid yet.  You seem to be crawling out of your skin, wanting more, and I find myself sad that part of the little boy who adored his mom and dad, when we were all you needed, is growing up.  I know it's supposed to happen, and is a good thing, it's just that change like this has been harder for me than I expected it would be.

Up until this point, I've been the mom who doesn't mind when her babies grow and change and turn into toddlers like most moms do.  Watching puffy feet and rolling thighs turn into thinner, stronger, running legs.  I've loved each new stage even when it meant saying good-bye to the last one because it's replaced with more things to love.  I've tried to revel in all of your moments so that I didn't feel as if they had passed me by too quickly.  So this sadness of watching you become a big kid, knowing what it means you are leaving, has snuck up behind me and taken me by surprise.

I've watched your imagination go, where your old toys no longer satisfy you the way they once did.  You have always been an old soul, with an understanding and maturity that can sometimes shock me, so much that I often have to remind myself that you're still so young.  You want to know exactly the way things work, but you are no longer believing in things that keep childhood magical and alive.  Like when you came to me, telling me that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, and when I asked you why you felt that way {assuming you would say that one of your friends told you}, you informed me that you knew she wasn't real because fairies aren't real, so obviously she isn't.  And I said that if you felt that way, I understood.  It made sense.  But that you could either believe, and see what happened when you lost a tooth, and see if something showed up under your pillow... or you could choose not to believe, and I'm sure you would be right-- nothing would happen.

You walked away, only mildly satisfied with my answer because I would neither confirm nor deny your suspicions.  Unfortunately you have yet to lose a tooth {which has been driving you bonkers for the past 8 months to a year now, and has become quite the hot topic at our dinner table}, but when you do, I'm curious to see what you will choose.  

I hope you choose to believe.

Childhood only lasts for so long and in my opinion, not long enough.  You had to go through something this year that has taken a piece of that, and your dad and I had to figure out how to balance the situation.  It wasn't easy.  You were brave though, and we were so absolutely proud of you.  I wondered what other situations were going to come to you to challenge your soft heart. I say a prayer every night that you are able to overcome whatever is given to you, and that I have the strength as your mom to help you through these things in a way that will shape you to become a man who will use these trials as a piece to build your foundation so that they bear you up with courage instead of tear you down with fear.

You have such a strong spirit, Caleb.  Your competitive side has pushed your body physically to run all of the Fun Runs, no matter how difficult they have been.  At recess you choose to play football, and basketball, and wall ball, instead of do the less-physical things some of your friends choose to do, even when the physical games are so much harder for you.  I absolutely love this about you, and want you to love it about yourself.  You know your limitations, but you're constantly challenging them.  I'll always encourage you to do this.

A couple of my favorite ways to spend time with you lately are playing baseball with you {you are seriously awesome at it}, or on Sunday evenings when we play Monopoly just before dinner.  You are hilarious to watch!  We've played it probably 6 times now, but you've memorized all of the prices of all of the properties and how much they charge in rent when you land on them.  You've won almost every time we've played and get so full of yourself, it cracks your dad and I up.  

But my most favorite thing to do is read C.S. Lewis with you at night.  You lay on my shoulder and wrap your arms around mine, and we get nervous during upcoming battles and excited at the latest adventures.  You are my little boy again, when we read together.  There is nothing else except you and me during that time.  

I love that you still love to be around me, asking if we can hang out, just you and me "without the kids" as you put it.  And when I had to remind you that you are, in fact, a kid, your reply was so typical-Caleb, a shrug of your shoulders as you whispered so your sisters couldn't hear you "you know what I mean, Mom."

For this year, my wish is that you hold on just a little bit longer to childhood.  As much as you want to be an adult, I promise that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  Much less-fun than it looks to you right now.  So hang on, if you can.  Just until I get used to the idea, please?  I promise to be more ready to face it.

Know how much I love you, how much I adore your little face.  Your dimples, your olive eyes, your dark lashes.  You are an amazing boy who will take on the world someday.  Thank you for all you show me, for making growing up as easy on me as it can be because you are such a joy to be with every day.


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