Yes, I know this birthday letter to you is sorely overdue. Your tenth birthday has come and gone. The truth is that sometimes, writing about you is hard. The words don’t flow the way my emotions do, and I struggle to capture their essence. I struggle to understand them. I struggle to explain the way my heart is stirred by a ten year old little boy who is trying to grow up.
I remember once, one spring four or five years ago, you and I took a walk and picked spring beauties and buttercups and other little wild flowers. We held hands. I can still remember the way your blonde hair bobbed up in the back when you walked, and how it caught the sun. I can still remember the blue shirt you wore, and the little grey cargo shorts. And the way you smiled…you still had all of your baby teeth.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember those times. Now and then I look at you and I remember that little boy, but you want so much to project something different. You are changing, William. There are days that I feel you pushing. Pushing me, pushing us, just pushing in your desire to become something. Your desire to grow up. Your desire to be big, or cool, or whatever it is. You push me. You push me to be better, William. To be more kind, more patient, more gentle to my little boy, whose spirit is struggling with how to be.
I love you, William, and that will always be. Yes, even on those days that you make life difficult, I still love you. Even when you tell me I should be fired as a mom, or that I’m the meanest mother in the world, or that my rules are lame, I love you. Because there are better days, and I love those days with you.
I love the notes you write, especially when you write in your best cursive. I love how there is a buzzy energy about you, always. I love how exhausted you are at night, and how you still want to be tucked in. I love your raspy quiet voice when you read to me. I love to hear you laugh at something you find funny.
I even like the sarcastic way you say “wow, Mom.” And I like how you’ve been telling me how happy you are in terms of percentages. Yesterday, you waffled between 29% and 32% happiness, because I would not give you a snack 30 minutes before supper.
I love your enthusiasm for food. I am totally beginning to understand why they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
And your enthusiasm for sports. You know that you want to be an NFL player, and if that doesn’t pan out, you’ll just head to the NBA. One thing is for sure, you do NOT want to be a cashier.
I love how you build sandcastles. You are very intense with your sandcastles.
I love it when you wrinkle your nose when you smile.
I love how your hair is bleached by the sun, and your freckles emerge and your cheeks are pinked in the summer.
I love the patch of brown in your blue-grey eyes, and how the sunlight catches on your long, long lashes.
And the curl of hair on your back…I love that, too.
And the way, deep inside, you are so sensitive.
I love your determination, your perseverence and your desire to please us, when it shows.
I love that you make me want to be better.
Yes, William, my love for you will always be. Happy birthday, my little boy.