I have great intentions, but without deadlines most of those don’t come to fruition. One of the main reasons I created a blog was to capture this time when my sons are young. So I’m excited to join a group of friends, moms, and fellow photographers as we share about the boys in our lives on the third Friday of each month. We will be writing a letter to our sons each month. You can follow our blog circle to Kirstin Gourley next, and continue all the way back here.
Today you asked me why I was heading to my office instead of joining you and your brothers for popcorn and “The Ransom of Red Chief.” When I told you that I had a letter to write to you, you replied, “But I’m right here---why would you write me instead of tell me?”
Perhaps you were right, but I don’t think you could sit still long enough for me to tell you, and you would blush and ask me to tickle you instead of talk as soon as I said I love you. I am writing to you right now, to you at 8-and-a-half-years-old, but also to you at some older date when you might read this. Mostly what I want to say is simply that I see you, I love you, and am amazed by you.
Eight is the year you became a real reader, though you’ve long known how to read and enjoyed books. In the past though, you really preferred to read with someone. You liked reading for the shared experience. This year you made the leap to enjoying it on your own.
To borrow Whitman’s phrase, you contain multitudes. Shy at times, but an extrovert at heart. Joyful and exuberant, but eager to retell any sad story you hear. I don’t pretend to have fully grasped you by any means. You confound me, challenge me, and teach me, just as you did as a toddler. You were probably three by the time it dawned on me that you were an extrovert in a family of introverts, and just giving you more opportunities to be social made you more content.
From day one you seemed fully in your body and at home in this world. You love to move, whether it be racing toward home plate or shaking your boogie in a dance off. You play with gusto, and I see more than a bit of your dad in you as you race to be the first, to climb the highest. You have his love of adventure, his physicality and his competitiveness.
I often tease you that you are a combination of my two favorite men, because I see so much of your dad and my dad in you. Years ago I was describing a habit of yours over the phone to my mom, how I had noticed you would ask questions you already knew the answer to just for the sake of conversation. She immediately replied, “Don’t you see it? You’re living with your father.” And I laughed so hard, because I hadn’t seen it but she was exactly right. Just like Grandad, you are so good at arguing for the sake of argument---sometimes taking the opposite side of what you really think just for fun!
And like your father and granddad, you have such a kind heart. As tough and rough as you are, you can cry, usually not over bumps or scraps but because your feelings have been hurt or because you hurt for someone else. I pray that you never lose that ability, Sean. It’s helped me be a better mother, because I could sometimes forget just how young you were. So clever and so articulate, but still so young.
You are an adoring younger brother, ever at Aidan’s heels, and a strong and protective older brother, leading Nolan in play. You are naturally responsible and often harsher on yourself than anyone else is. God helps us if you ever receive a B. I love that you hold yourself to high standards, and that you follow through on your commitments. Those are great traits that will take you far (though hopefully not as far as your teacher predicted when he told you that, at this rate, you would soon rule the world). Yet, I also hope you will have as much compassion for yourself as you do others, and welcome the mistakes that teach you as much if not more than your successes.
I’m grateful to be your mom, Sean. To have this close-up seat to watch you grow and explore. At 8 1/2, you say you want to own your own island and a castle in Ireland someday, that you plan to be a writer and illustrator and actor and possibly a doctor too (ETA: I forgot blacksmith, your latest calling). Unlike your brothers who both say they plan to be bachelors---and have tried to get you to promise the same, you’re confident that you want to marry “and have a bunch of kids.”
Thank you for all you’ve already taught me, and for all the joy and lessons ahead. May you always be as eager for any excuse to celebrate as you are today. May you always be the loyal friend and trustworthy brother that you are today. And may you always know that you are loved by me.
More than all the stars,