Letters to Solomon
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Letters to Solomon

Five

May 27, 2020

Dearest Solomon,

You’re five today, son. The years seem to flow seamlessly, though fast. It feels like just yesterday, we were settling into a new home and celebrating your fourth birthday with your grandparents. My how times have changed.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic which has caused us all to quarantine at home for the past couple of months. This brought with it an abrupt end to school, activities, and even fledgling friendships that were just starting to blossom. Like a champ, though, you’ve taken it all in stride and adjusted as you do.

Five is probably most synonymous with the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. This year, I thought it might make sense to try and look at the last year of your life through that lens.

Sight

So much of life is based around how we see the world. It can take a lifetime to form our point of view, but I’m so amazed at the world as you see it — the little I can interpret at least.

In school, you were asked to do a self-portrait by your teacher, Ms. Brisa. When we went in this year for our parent-teacher conference she showed us yours. For your self-portrait, you drew a monster truck. I found this quite telling.

Most days, you are engaged with some form of a monster truck: watching them, playing with them, or, my favorite, pretending to be one. You’ll put on your tires (slippers) and then race around the track (living room). You know all the moves, all the sounds, and all the players.

When we’re outside biking or walking, you’ll tell us which monster truck you are. When we make it to the small track setup, you’ll race to the top of a small mound, throw down your bike, and do your victory wave. It’s adorable and telling.

Hearing

At this age, you are like a sponge. You absorb almost everything. Sometimes, more than we realize.

Fortunately, you have a good sense of what is good and bad. This has lead to, on more than one occasion, you correcting us about using “bad words” and instructing us not to use them again. I’m glad you know the difference.

More surprising, though, are all the things you hear without us saying anything. All the small interactions and intonations also come across loud and clear. There’s a lot more subtlety involved here and of course, your five-year-old self hasn’t mastered these things yet, but you’ll get there.

That said, it’s a mirror on ourselves and how we act and a reminder of all the things we do that we’re unaware of.

Smell

Some people have sensitive palettes. Yours seems highly tuned to the things that give you the most comfort. There are at least 2 places where I can point this out.

First, your monkey (the lovie you have had since you were a baby) is still your companion everywhere you go and every night at bed). For a brief period, you lost it (after hiding it) and we thought you might have turned the corner, but alas it’s still your best friend. I don’t think that the need for it is there — now it is just the ritual.

Second, there’s us. You still manage to make it to our room every night. We may complain, even going so far as to send you back, but honestly, I don’t think we mind it. There is something comforting breathing in the ones you love and knowing they’re close by. I can appreciate that.

Soon enough, we know you won’t want to be in there with us anymore either, but we’ll relish the good parts for a little while longer.

Taste

You’re still the pickiest eater I know. I can’t remember back to this stage of my life, but all the stories we’ve heard pegged both your mom and me as difficult eaters, as well. Karma I guess.

Food has become an important ritual for us. Growing up, we never ate together as a family. I think I had most of my meals in my room alone, apart from everyone else. It didn’t even seem that odd to me back then, but I know it was not the way most people did it.

We’ve been blessed to have your grandparents living with us. Your grandma Tanya has been with you for lunch and Grandpa Michael is always on the job come dinner time. Even though we have to start 45 minutes earlier to get you to eat your dinner, we all make it back to the dinner table most nights to eat together, if not at least to be together.

These days, it feels like more and more people are rediscovering their taste for family and I hope it’s a tradition you’ll be able to carry forward in your life.

Touch

While others may be running straight at walls, you continue to observe and understand first. You’re rarely aggressive, aside from some monster truck moments. I’m grateful.

Even though you’re growing up faster and faster, that gentleness keeps you our baby for just a moment longer. I know it won’t last forever, nor do I hope for that, but I’ll take it while I can. It will serve you well in life.

Beyond your touch, though, you have a gentle soul, son. When I see you navigate the world, I see so much of myself in every little movement. You even share my uneven exuberance, mostly positive and optimistic, even though it may sometimes be a little over the top.

Don’t lose that, no matter what anyone tells you!

Happy Fifth Birthday, son. I’m grateful I get to experience the world with all these new senses, almost like I had never seen it before. These quiet moments of reflection teach me so much more about me, your mom, our family than anything else.

I’m fortunate and blessed to have these moments, but most of all to have you.

Love always,
Dad

p.s. Thanks to your mom for indulging me with our traditional photo. It will always be one of my favorite things, but maybe, just maybe, this one is my new favorite.

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Gregarious Narain

Perpetual entrepreneur. Advisor to founding teams. Husband to Maria. Father to Solomon. Fan of fashion. Trying to stay fit.