I’ve decided to start a tradition of writing a letter to my son on New Year’s Eve.
Here is what I wrote as we entered 2016.
Hey My Little Love;
I can’t believe this is your seventh New Year’s Eve. How in the world did you get to be six and a half years old already? It just goes by so fast.
This year, you have learned so much and grown in amazing ways! You conquered Kindergarten, and learned all the sight words that you were supposed to learn. And then, one day this summer, you woke up and just started READING! You read whole books all by yourself. I was so proud of you, and a little scared that you wouldn’t want me to read to you anymore. (I’m so glad you still want me to read to you – even if it isn’t a storybook, but the various animal and dinosaur reference books you own.) I’ll never forget the time we sat at a restaurant that had a sign indicating “Happy Hours 4-7 pm” and you said, “Look Mom, they have happy whores here from 4-7!” I knew you didn’t know that word, and I quickly corrected your pronunciation. But, inside, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. (Someday, you will understand what that word means, and you will laugh, too!)
Then came 1st grade; you have been pushed in new ways – and you have met those challenges head on. I was so very proud of you when your first report card came back; you were at or above grade level in every subject! I was also proud when your teacher told me one day that you were at a high level – I always knew you had it in you. And everytime you’ve been proud of yourself for getting a ten out of ten on your spelling test; well, let’s just say I’ve been even more proud than you’ve been.
We’ve had some fun times this year, too! A trip to Las Vegas; where Siegfried from Siegfried and Roy pulled a quarter from behind your ear. We took a trip to Santa Barbara; where we spent time with Dawn, Connor, Stacy, and the rest of our SB friends. We went to San Diego and had a blast at Sea World. I never want to forget the way your laugh sounded when you put your hands in the tank with the cleaner fish. They tickled your fingers, hands and arms; you squealed with glee and your laugh sounded like bells ringing joyfully. We visited the Safari Park and you got to see the cheetahs; your favorite animals at the time. You went to Legoland numerous times. You spent a week in Chicago with your aunt, uncles, cousins and Gram. We had adventures at the farm, a couple of zoos and various parks.
You became a tiger Cub Scout this year! You’ve been so excited to be a scout that you say you want to earn your Eagle Scout someday. If you stick to your resolve, I know you’ll do it.
You started karate, and are learning self discipline. You still need to learn how to do a proper jumping jack, but I know you’ll master it soon. If you don’t earn your yellow belt in January, I have every confidence that you will in the spring.
I’ve watched you make new friends, like Braedan, Calvin, Ayden, Spencer and others from school. You are a sweet friend.
This year, I’ve also noticed how much you’ve been concerned for those who are sad, sick, and needy. You always want me to give money to those who are asking for it when we drive around town. You even wanted to invite some homeless folks to live in your room because you had plenty of space. You have a giant, sweet, soft heart – it’s one of the umpteen million things I love about you.
Having a giant, sweet, soft heart means your heart gets broken more easily. This year, I’ve seen it happen. Please, my little love, know that when your heart hurts, mine hurts too. When your heart feels like it’s going to break, mine feels like it’s going to shatter. How I never ever wanted your heart to feel sad, but 2015 brought some of that as well.
Nana got sick in September, and all of a sudden I was going to the hospital every morning and every night. That went on for two weeks, although I’m guessing it felt like longer to you.
Then, Nana died.
When you found out, the first words out of your mouth amidst the sobs were, ” I didn’t even get to hug her one last time!!!” Me either, buddy, me either. You were so good with talking about your feelings after that day: when you were sad, when you were missing her; you asked me not to talk about her because you didn’t want to cry. I was proud of the way you could name what you felt. Some grown ups go their whole lives never learning how to talk about their feelings. You are learning that skill, which will serve you well.
Sometimes I wonder how you can be so wise. The other day, as we were out driving, I was so sad. You could tell and asked me why. I told you one of the reasons and you said to me, “Mama, I wish you could remember the past and smile, and not re-read it and be so sad.” You went on to explain, and I realized you meant that I should visit the past (particularly the happy times) but not dwell in it.
My sweet boy, I know there were times this year when I made you sad. I’m sorry for the times you saw arguing and tears. I’m sorry for the times I took out my frustration with other situations and people by speaking harshly to you. I’m sorry for the times I haven’t been my best self.
You and I always joke about how much we love each other. Usually, you think you’ve won, and then I add “plus infinity” to whatever you’ve just said. But, I want to say I love you with a love that is taller than trees, wider than the seas and feels strong enough move mountains. It’s overwhelming and powerful and I never knew I could love anyone this much, until you came along.
My wish for you in 2016 is that you will always remember I am on your side. I can’t wish you a year without pain or sadness – that isn’t how life works. But, I wish that you will always know I am here for you- cheering you on, holding you when you are sad, helping you find solutions to the usual and perhaps not so common problems of a six and a half year old. I’ll always be your #1 fan, little guy.
For 2016, I wish you simple joys – playing in the park, reading a great book, good friends, laughter, a well timed hug, a cold popsicle on a hot day, and time with people you love.
Here’s to a New Year, little love! You are awesome and amazing and such a blessing to me.
What would you tell your children about this past year?