This has now become a fun activity-that is, to spot the birthday truck and try to guess whose birthday it could possibly be and what kind of presents they are receiving. The best is when we spot an extra long delivery truck-that person, of course, must be receiving some large presents. The birthday truck has been making frequent stops here this past week and Boy O could not be more excited-we placed all the gifts up above the fireplace and the anticipation must have been agonizing.
I hope that I can keep this tradition alive in the coming years-a letter to my eldest son on his fifth birthday:
Dear Boy O,
There are many nights that I lie awake and think about the events that have taken place in your life for the past year. At a very young age you have endured hardships and loss that most people cannot imagine-you are made of tough stuff. What continues to amaze me, is that although these events have shaped your life thus far, you remain open to love and being loved by your new family. That fact is truly powerful as your namesake would suggest.
A snapshot of your life right now-you are INCREDIBLY active! You love to ride your bicycle and no one would ever guess that you had training wheels just a few short months ago. Most people think you are very daring with your multitude of tricks, but I know from watching you day in and day out that a lot of hard work and some spectacular crashes have contributed to your expertise at wheelies and jumping off the curb. I admire the determination and grit I see in your face whenever you get back on your bike.
You love to play soccer. It is difficult for any of the other kids to handle the ball when you are on the field. You are faster, you kick with both feet and you know how turn the ball around with some fancy footwork. You are so good that sideways glances and questions about your age are not uncommon from other parents. When you are playing, I like to refer to you as 'my little type A'. Your soccer skills are unmatched at this age, but your social graces are a bit lacking at practice-we are working hard on encouraging your manners when standing in line and waiting for your turn at the water fountain.
Just shy of five months home and you are learning to read. I find it hard to believe that we were communicating with charades back in May. You can read almost 30 words now! I try to keep our reading lessons to 10 minutes a day, but you have boundless enthusiasm to learn more. You enjoy picking out books for bedtime stories and look forward to the library story hour twice a week. After your nap (or should I say quiet time?), your bed is strewn with books. As an avid reader myself, I could not be more proud.
In true boy fashion you love all things superhero where the lines between good and evil are very distinct. You are fascinated by the good but have started to explore why a 'bad' guy might be bad. Sometimes you ask me why they are bad and if they used to be good. I am no expert on the motivations of Marvel villains, but after reading you many books on the subject (thank goodness for the library), a new wrinkle in my brain has formed and is specifically for answering questions concerning the origins, aliases, adversaries, and allies of just about any superhero. I try my best, but many times find myself passing the buck and saying "Go ask Daddy, maybe he knows."
You are a wonderful big brother but are too young to realize how much Baby O already looks up to you. You have helped him learn to walk and now run and kick a ball. His eyes light up whenever you enter the room. I hope you will have a close relationship with one another as the years go by.
At five years old, you are an individual and yet also a social butterfly. You are incredibly kind and considerate-you are smart as a whip-and especially observant. I have every confidence that these attributes will ensure your success in whatever you choose to pursue in life.
Your father and I hope one day that you will grasp how much we love you and how proud we are to call you our son.
Happy Birthday and hoping for many, many more,
P.S. The first statement out of your mouth after opening all of your gifts was "Is it a long time 'til Christmas?".