“Mom, if you have two sets of 18, how many do you have?”
“You’d have 36.”
“No you wouldn’t, you’d have 19.”
“Mom, you’re wrong. It’s 19.”
This is how most of our conversations go lately. You ask me a question, I answer it and you argue with me over the answer. We fight over food choices (you are so picky), clothes (if it’s 40 degrees, you’re not wearing shorts) and TV shows (I’m not watching Annoying Orange one more time). While my blood is boiling and I’m completely annoyed, I try to remember it’s just your age and it’s a phase. But I definitely don’t want you to be a know-it-all so I let you know that it doesn’t matter if we went on our field trip on Tuesday or Thursday; you don’t need to argue. You know what I do love about your arguing? It means you’re confident and independent.
Dad says he’s taking you and Gabe camping soon for a boys-only adventure. I think this is a great idea. Think of all the things you’ll be able to do without worrying about your sister and what she can do. We’re going to stay here and have a girls’ weekend. We’re laying on my bed reading books and you crawl over and lay on my back like you always do. Your little 7-year-old hands wrap gently around my neck and I can feel your chin as it pokes into my shoulder. You whisper in my ear “I’m going to miss you”. At first I’m confused and then I realize you’re talking about camping. I get tears in my eyes and smile and give you a big hug and a kiss. It’s so nice to be missed. I love that you’re not too mature to tell me so.
I can tell you want to try that move in soccer, that song in piano, reading that big chapter book, but you’re afraid. You don’t like to do things you’re not 100% sure that you’re good at. You’d much rather do something you know you’re going to do perfectly. Sometimes I just want to yell “JUST DO IT!” but I know that’s not what you need. Because eventually you’ll dive in and do it and be successful. It won’t be because I pushed you, but because you decided it was time to fly.
You love your sister but she’s still a bit of a mystery to you. You’re definitely self-conscious of her hugs and open-mouthed kisses when others are around. It’s different for you than for Gabe. He’s always had her by his side; his friends have always been her friends too. For you, it’s all new. Your friends come over and they’re not sure about her. You aren’t sure how to explain her. I will help you with that. You know what I love? That you’re not afraid to give her a big bear hug when you get off the bus, even though everyone is watching. I know that you love her and I can see the kind of wonderful big brother you’re becoming.
I love how you still come over to me and ask to be picked up and want to be cuddled. I suppose that comes from years of that being our daily agenda. Remember those days? I’d watch Alias and nurse you and you’d sleep on my shoulder, cuddle in my arms and smile. I love how when we’re alone together, you never stop talking. It’s like you’ve been waiting for your turn and, now that you have my complete attention, you’re going to get it all out. You’ll always stop and “wiggle” when Sexy and I Know It comes up on the ipod.
When I focus on what is the most important quality I want in my children, it’s a good heart. Guess what? You have a wonderful, kind, generous heart. You are the first to laugh, the last one laughing, the first one to bombard me with a hug, the one who wants to be tucked in every night. You always make your soccer coach a card at the end of the season without me even asking you to. You are who you are without any apologies and that, my dear, is a marvelous quality to have.
My sweet baby, you’re amazing.