Okay, so I know for most of you today is just an ordinary day. Some may be happy because it’s hump day and almost the weekend.
Happy Hump Day to you!
But for us it’s a big, big day. HUGE, in fact.
Today, John, our son, turns 1-0. TEN. Double digits.
I feel like 10 years has really passed in the blink of an eye. I know that sounds quite cliché. But I remember the first moment I held him. When they laid him on my chest. I remember the ride home from the hospital. His first steps, his first word, his constant chattiness as a toddler (really he was talking in sentences before he was one, I only realized just how much he talked after having Conor who didn’t).
I like, many new moms, didn’t know what I was doing. NO CLUE.
I didn’t even know how to change a diaper…
But I did know that this boy was very special, that only after having him did I know actually what being a mom really entails.
Now, I know this is more a design blog, but this is in my heart right now and I really feel the need to write John a letter here on this blog. I hope you’ll read it too.
To My Son on His 10th Birthday
Wow! We did it! 10 years! As I write this I have tears streaming down my face and that ball in my throat, not because I’m sad but because I’m so very happy. Happy Birthday to you. I am so very proud that you’re my son.
I thought to celebrate a decade together that I’d write you a little letter. Sometimes people don’t often say how they feel and today I just felt like I needed to say so much to you.
I really can’t believe you’re 10! It seems like only yesterday that we brought you home, and I know your birth was quite a scary event for us, but all turned out happy despite a few hiccups along the way.
In many ways, I feel like we’ve learned how to be parent and child together. In the early days I learned to feed you, change your diaper and you learned how to do so many things – talk, write, run. When I gave up work to stay home with you, I was a little lost. I did’t have any friends and I looked forward to bringing you to have lunch with Daddy once a week and for visits with Nonni and Grampy. We used to go for very long walks (because we had nowhere else to be).
At the time I found it very isolating. We’d walk to a beautiful lake or to the library or to the supermarket. For a while you were happy to look up at the clouds or nap but shortly after you would notice everything and give a running commentary about all you saw. I remember telling Grampy that the days seemed to go slowly. He always replied, “Dani, one day you’ll want these days back.” In a way, he’s right. I wish I had three hours just to walk with you and check in.
We wanted you to grow up near the sea. We bought our first home in Scituate which was in walking distance to Minot Beach. We spent many hours discovery sea creatures and playing in the sand. To this day, I believe you have salt water running through your veins – you swim like a fish and have discovered the love of sailing.
The arrival of Conor brought a new role for you! Big Brother! We actually made a bigger deal of you being a big brother than of Conor being born. You took this in your stride and have been the BEST BIG BROTHER Conor could have asked for. You nurture him, you read to him and you are so loving and gentle, like the time when Conor got hurt in the woods but you helped me despite seeing the blood (which I know you don’t like). You were never ever jealous of a new baby but a brother brought out more play and more love in you.
In art you’ve found a passion. You are much more creative than me or Daddy. You can see shapes and colors in everything. Please always use this creative side of youself. It is good for your mind and your soul to tap into it, and also, I know, it makes you happy. I love your dragons, your funny cartoons and just watching you doodle. I need you to give me some drawing lessons, please. Please don’t laugh, John, I’m serious.
Beyond your amazing creativity, you have an amazing mind. One which takes in so much, like a sponge, but you retain it too. When you were only a toddler you knew so much about dinosaurs and at preschool you were telling the teachers things they didn’t know on Dinosaur Day. I’ve learned so much from you about nature and the environment and science. I hope you’ll put all you’ve learned in these subjects into good use. Writing to the President about the environment was a good start!
I realize your mind is constantly going and there are so many brilliant ideas in there to share that sometimes it makes it hard for you to focus. You may interrupt because you’re just so excited to share what’s next on your mind. Or the conversation in your head is moving quicker than the one we’re having. That’s okay.
Stay who you are! You are perfect just the way you are.
In class I know it is hard to calm your body or do what’s expected.
One day in the not to distant future, your ideas; your brilliant mind will create solutions to problems or answer riddles currently boggling experts. Your art will speak to so many and touch them as it has us and your friends.
Ah, and let’s talk about friends. I am so lucky to have you as my friend. You have such a kind heart and soul, John. You always know just the right thing to say and you’re able to empathize with others. The other day when I was sad and you gave me that giant bear hug, well, that embrace made all the difference.
I know you might not be the most popular kid in school and that’s okay. Mommy and Daddy were never the “popular ones” and yes, people probably thought we were weird. Being different is better than being the same. I loved theater and wasn’t into soccer or sports like the other kids. It isn’t how many friends you have it’s the quality of the friendship. Many people might say they’re friends but you only know when time gets really tough who you’re true friends are. This might surprise you. Who is there and who isn’t….
Anyway, let’s not dwell on negative thoughts.
Oh, that’s another thing I wanted to share. Two more things (actually).
Negativity isn’t good. Try to banish it if you can. Negativity to others and negativity to yourself. If you say bad things about others it will only make you feel bad. If you say bad things about yourself that will also make you feel terrible and eat away at you from the inside out. Instead focus on the positive. The things that make you happy. Try and focus on the positive things that people say rather than the negative. I know this is hard.
One of my favorite quotes is:
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
The last thing I want to tell you is that wishes really do come true. Grampy dreamed of opening a restaurant and he did it with lots of hard work. I dreamed of being a mom. I wished it with all my heart! You made my dream come true. So when you blow out the candles on your cake dream big and make a wish. I know it will come true.
I realize as I write this that in 10 more years you’ll be twenty and you’ll be well on your way to being a man and you may not even be living at home, you may be at university. That is so hard to think. My heart aches knowing soon (sooner than it will feel right now) that you’ll be starting a whole new path and journey that won’t always involve me.
But know that I (and daddy) will always love you and be so very proud of you. No matter what.
Happy 10th Birthday to our John!