Dear Nine Year Old Boy,
I used to write twice yearly letters to you; on your birthday and your half birthday. Over the past couple of years the urge to do so seems to have been buried under three kids and the birth of a new career. But you turned nine six months ago and that seems like a rather big deal. I think often “he’s half done”. Assuming you go off to college at age 18, you now officially have less time left “at home” than you’ve already spent here.
I want to remember and I want you to know that I had a great time with you tonight. Your dad left for a regular night class that he teaches and your sisters were sound alseep by 8:30. My to do list sat on my phone telling me that I should work but, well, rather childsihly I just didn’t want to. This happens almost every Tuesday and Thrusday night when your dad has class. I am bone-tired at the end of the day not wanting to start another round of work and your face lights up as soon as I step out of the girls’ room, wanting to just spend time with your mom. I choose you over work nearly every time. I’ve been lucky that for the past nine years we have usually enjoyed each others company; I’m not naive enough to think that will remain the same through the next nine years.
So instead of working, tonight we sat on the couch and talked about the difference between introverts and extroverts. Seeing the light bulb go off in your head as you realized that I was an introvert too and that were both similarly oddballs was priceless. I know that you feel so very different from, well, just about everyone most of the time. You talked to me tonight about how you like to sit alone at lunch, daydreaming. You specifically seek out a space to yourself. You explained that you were perfectly content with this arrangement but recently one of your P.E. teachers has taken it upon himslef to sit with you. Apparently he tries to discuss sports with you, asking if you watched the recent basketball playoffs. You seemed utterly bewildered as to why he would be doing this. I had to stifle a laugh at the thought of him asking you about your favorite teams; he clearly can’t imagine your world where a nine year old boy lives in a house without cable or even turning on network TV for months. Once I explained about introverts and extroverts you looked so relieved. And we decided to very politely tell the P.E. teacher “Thanks for thinking of me” but “No thanks.”
Tonight I didn’t snack mindlessly in front of my computer but instead we ate a snack together. After all the battles we have over getting you to eat a variety of healthy food it was nice to let me guard down and just sit and the same table and eat with you (even if you just ate crackers, cheese, and applesauce – again). Then you read to me from Harry Potter #6 (it is about to get SO MIND BLOWING – you have no idea – I am bursting to tell you about Horcurxes) while I made your favorite cookies (garbanzo bean chocolate chip – bizzare but awesome – just like you). I took over reading Harry Potter to you while we muncehd on warm cookies. Words really are inadequate to express the satisfaction and joy it brings me to see you immersed one of my favorite book series of all time (FYI – the other series that holds my heart are the Laura Ingalls Wilder books). I get goosebumps just thinking about you reading them to your own chldren one day.
I know that the words of your 37 year old mom won’t always carry so much weight for you, but I want you to know: I think you are a very cool dude. I love you and you are perfect just the way you are. I don’t “get” everything about you in the way that I used to when you were little. I really don’t find fart jokes funny. I can’t understand why you resisit basic hygine such as showers and brushing your teeth (Seriously – what is up with that?). And graphic novels just seem awfully busy and distracting with all those pictures . But tonight made me feel like we get each other in the ways that matter. And even though I don’t understnad everything about you, I love you enough that I have already bought one of your next birthday presents: a thriteen volume set of your favoirte graphic novel series (Chi Sweet Home). Nothing says love like the antics of a Japanese kitten in graphic novel from! Happy half-birthday my not-so-little man.