I don’t know anyone who likes to read as much as you. I know other people—many of them related to you—who really love to read a lot, but no one’s lust for reading quite matchs your affection for books. It’s incredible. It’s awesome. I hope you never lose it.
Today was your eighth birthday. And one thing I really appreciated was that, even though you would have been ecstatic to receive nothing but books, you also rejoiced in receiving the many gifts you got today that instead addressed your other passions. You're nuanced, kid. I love that.
This was a great day. You woke up, and since Mommy had already put out the dress you were going to wear today, you put it on first thing. After all, that’s the rule on school days; get dressed before you come into our room in the morning.
Of course, today was a smidgen more relaxed, and we had to take baths, so we ended up taking the dress off for a bit, but still: You were ready to face the day.
You remarked many times this weekend how it was the best birthday ever, the best presents ever, the best party ever, and so on. And what makes those words ring so true—words which, from other mouths, would sound hollow or cliché—is the very obvious fact that you mean them with every fiber of your being.
I just finished reading to you before bedtime. Then Mommy came in to read to you, too. (We’re each reading you different books. It was Mommy’s turn. I just try to read Harriet the Spy whenever we have a few minutes, because that book is really, really, really long.)
As I cleaned up some party/present aftermath, I marveled at the fact that, hooboy, you’re really eight. It didn’t feel like a milestone birthday to me today for whatever reason. But now that your best day ever is drawing to a close, I can’t help but quietly reflect on the fact that eight is awfully close to ten, which is by my count double-digits, and which is the stepping stone to old. Ten is basically twelve is basically teenager is basically driving is basically college is basically adulthood.
In truth, there’s still lots of time left when you’re still all ours, still truly a kid and little, despite how big and mature and grown-up you’re so obviously becoming. But I’m seeing it ever more clearly now—”it” being the next parts, the parts where you need us a little less, and then a lot less. The part where you maybe won’t squeal with delight when I suggest we work on Snap Circuits together, and unironically “oooohhhh” in amazement as we work on the experiments.
I want to believe we’ll buck the trend of teenage kids who, by evolutionary necessity, rebel a bit against their parents. I think we might yet. And still, I know there’s a chance that we’re not too far off from a few years where you’ll suffer me as necessary, maybe even hate me from time to time.
I sat down to write this letter to you, a letter I don’t know if you’ll ever read, because it felt important to me. I wanted to write down just how much I love you, how happy you make me, and selfishly: just how loved you make me feel, just how transparent you make it that I make you happy too.
And so I promise you, if those years that feel far away but way too close do segue into your thinking I am the world’s jerkiest human for a couple years, I am going to work hard to remember these feelings from today—the feelings we each make so clear to each other right now—because they are some of the best feelings in the world.
I love you lots. Happy birthday!