I am sitting next to you in the car, listening to Foster the People and The White Stripes and Michael Jackson. When MIA’s Paper Planes comes on, we pretend to shoot our guns, cock our guns and ring the cash register in perfect synchronized movement. When the song is over, we both look at each other and crack up. When we switch to the radio and, even after switching stations four times, Maroon 5’s One More Night is still on, we erupt into laughter. When we get to a stoplight and start chatting, I interrupt to tell you how handsome you are and you just roll your eyes. But your dimples are showing along with that slight smile and I know you secretly love that compliment.
We chat about the boy in your class that drives you bonkers, the girls you think are cute, the teacher who is the most boring, the teacher that’s your favorite. When we start talking about your best friends, we end up having a deep discussion about what qualities make a true good friend. I worry that when you get to junior high, relationships will change and you will get hurt. I’m trying to prepare you for that possibility. Of course, because you’re an old soul, you seem to truly get it. When we eat dinner, we talk about dating and how if you eat like you do at our kitchen table, the girl’s not going to say yes to a second date. you try to give me an evil look but we just end up laughing. We’re working on being organized in school, practicing piano and learning how to be a truly great writer and, even though there might be tears of frustration, later on you tell me that the tips I gave you and the tricks Dad showed you really helped. The next day you proudly show me your organized Trapper and your well-written paragraph for Social Studies.
Sports are your passion right now. All of your best friends like to move too. You all ride bikes around the neighborhood, avidly searching for ramps and ditches and anything to jump over or through. The trampoline in our backyard is always packed. You guys don’t just jump either; you make up games that involve ramps and jumping and flips. I watch for a minute to make sure you haven’t set up anything insane. I swear your soccer ball is always between your feet and the football is never far away either. I did, however, kill you in a game of HORSE the other day.
Sometimes I get caught up in the competitiveness of the town we live in, if only for a minute. Everyone wants to be the best. Even tough that’s an admirable goal, the way our town approaches it is beyond ridiculous. So in those moments, when I worry that we’re not doing enough to make sure you’re great at sports, at school, at everything, I remind myself of one thing. You have the most amazing heart and kindest soul of anyone I’ve ever known. There’s no teaching that or training for that and it’s honestly so rare. You are truly a wonderful person and that is the most important quality of all. I am proud beyond belief.
I swear someday you’re going to solve world peace.
I love you.