Last year, I wrote you a letter on the eve of your birthday, and if I am doing it again now, it must be tradition. In fact, besides one other post since your last birthday, I have completely neglected this blog. Never did I imagine what life would throw at our family after those posts, and that I would not make time to write again until now. Do some moms really blog every day? Who ARE these people?
This year of your life shall henceforth be referred to as the Year We Moved AGAIN. That’s right. Just after the start of the new year, we moved from Colorado to Tennessee. Your dad tried very hard to find another job in Denver so he would not have to accept the transfer with his company, but we simply ran out of time. Thank goodness the transfer was to a place we both call our hometown and is filled with people we care about.
One day, when you are older, remind me and we will have a deeper conversation about how sometimes the toughest decisions can be both heartbreaking and provide joy all at the same time.
We moved into a home that is only 2 minutes by car from your Mimi and Papa. You have aunts, an uncle, and cousins nearby. Aunt Tammy and Uncle Bill are now only a short day’s drive away. These facts are the uplifting part.
The heartbreaking part is that we left behind our home that was just starting to feel like our own after only 2 years. We all LOVED the winter, and yes, the snow. We loved the other seasons, too. Your dad and I felt like we had won the climate lottery. It was perfect. We had one of the country’s best trail systems just down the street. I ran past bighorn sheep and deer and probably some mountain lions (they are everywhere in Colorado, but it’s rare to see them). Your dad discovered a love for hiking. I had great colleagues. We yearned to be in the mountains every weekend, and tried to be there as often as possible. People came to visit us all the time. Life was good. And then we moved.
Life has proven to be good here too, but we are still working on getting into the new normal. We had found a new routine, but will break it once again when I start a new job tomorrow on your birthday. Because that’s how we roll. We must make everything complicated and have stacked milestones at every corner.
If I have learned anything about you from this year of transitions, it’s that you are flexible. The year included three cross-country road trips and a couple of months living with your aunt and uncle in Illinois along with me and your brother while your dad found us a home in TN. As long as you have your thumb and your blankie (a new attachment in the past month or so), you are happy. Really happy. Even though you have become a fierce defender of your own independence recently, you remain a sweet and happy child most of the time.
You love to say “Doo,” and you say it a million times a day, because that is how you say your brother’s name, and it is adorable. You follow your brother around and make him SO frustrated by always wanting whatever he has. You are winning at being a little brother.
You shower your loved ones with hugs and kisses. You blow goodbye kisses every day to all the teachers at your day care, each of whom would probably give their kidneys to you if you asked. And I don’t mean just one per teacher. They would all just hand over both kidneys, no questions asked. That’s how much they love you.
There is a pure joy about you that everyone feels when they are with you. You are kind. You try to kiss boo-boos on other people. You pat friends when they cry. Even your big brother who is supposed to be jealous of you just melts when you do something sweet. I don’t tell you this as a way to say that we spoil you, or to give you the false impression that WE would give you our kidneys. We won’t. Your dad and I love our kidneys, and we don’t want you to be spoiled. But we do want to note for the future that your disposition is one of a caring, empathetic person who should go into a profession where those traits are valued and rewarded. Like politics.
You are fearless on the playground, and have the balance of a mountain goat. If you could spend 24 hours a day outdoors, you would. I imagine our lifestyle in Colorado is partly responsible for that. I am sure that you have forgotten everything about Colorado by now, and it makes me a little sad.
What we have learned as a family this year is that wherever we are, we will always have time for snuggles, books, and exploring. I hope that this somewhat unstable year in our family life has been a year of fun and learning for you, and has also demonstrated that it is possible to hold on to some traditions and routines no matter where you are.
Next year, on your birthday eve, I can’t wait to report all the new things you are doing and saying. May it be a year of discovery and love for your new state, and I hope you are still willing to slow down in order to snuggle up to me and read book after book after book.
>>>Lest you think that I only write these types of things for my youngest, I should add that I have a journal I have been writing in for the eldest since before he was born. It’s something a first-born child gets. The last born just gets some lousy blog posts. That’s birth order realities, my friends.