Sunday, October 25, 2015

You're the soul of me (wonder number eight)

Dear Zekey,

Yesterday you turned eight years old.  You were with your dad this weekend, so I didn't get to wake you up with hugs and kisses, but I saw you at your birthday party and stole a couple of minutes to tell you how much I love you and to tell you the story of the day you were born.

dressed as a vampire at your Halloween-themed birthday party, whacking at the pinata
It seems a lifetime ago that I was at Kapiolani, laboring and waiting for you to make your appearance. And I guess it was - so much has happened since then.  Everything about my life has changed, and you have changed along with it.

You continue to remind me of your Uncle Sam as a little boy - thoughtful, sensitive, a tad self-righteous, exhibiting both left-brained and right-brained tendencies.  You ask interesting questions and force me to look at the world in a new way.

You continue to grow bigger and stronger, and to exhibit more and more of your dad's strength and athleticism.  You have developed a bit of an obsession with obtaining six-pack abs, which I find hilarious.  You excel at soccer and flag football and you crawl around the monkey bars with incredible dexterity and flexibility.  You jump off of high surfaces and bounce around and have more energy than I can comprehend.

One of the characteristics that I have noticed increasingly is your earnestness. You take people at face value and absorb the messages and lessons of your teachers with great seriousness. I see other kids your age who are already a little bit jaded, but you still have a certain innocence about you that I find so endearing.  If I utter a curse word, you scold me and insist that children shouldn't hear such things.

This year, when you started second grade, I would ask you how your day at school went and what you were learning, and you would tell me about the "character trait of the week."

"This week I'm learning about determination, Mama."

"And what does determination mean?"

"It means you keep trying at something and don't give up.  So I've been trying to practice determination."

So sweet.  So earnest.

And yet, you have an endless fascination with talking about butts and farts and penises and vaginas. You are increasingly curious about women, often figuring out how to google "boobs" and then looking on the internet at images you shouldn't be looking at.

This past year hasn't been easy for you and Josie.  I will always feel guilty about putting you through the trauma and forced changes of divorce, even though the divorce was necessary for everyone.  But through getting adjusted to splitting time between Daddy and me, and getting adjusted to new living situations, you have shown such remarkable grace and resiliency.  You remain loving and optimistic and able to see the good in people and situations.  You set an example that I try to emulate.

You remain a mama's boy, for which I am so grateful.  I know that we're getting closer to the age at which you will start to pull away from me and try to figure out how to seek your own path.  But for now, you still greet me with hugs and kisses, you still want to sit on me when we're watching a movie, you still want to lie in bed with me and snuggle me as close as you can.

Bedtime with you is one of my favorite rituals.  I put you and Josie in your bunks, and we talk and I sing or play soft music for you.  Every night, you ask me to rub your back.  So I will stand there in the dark, rubbing your back and singing to you, feeling you relax and hearing your breathing get slow and heavy.  And just before you drop off, you say, "I love you, Mama."

And I love you, my sweetest boy.  So, so much.

Love love love,


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