Letters to Solomon
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Letters to Solomon

Four

May 27, 2019

Dearest Solomon,

It’s your 4th birthday today, son. I’m up early this morning, as is the usual — couldn’t sleep. It’s either still being filled to the brim from the brunch we had with your grandparents to celebrate your birthday, or from the stream of kicks you delivered while sleeping in our bed, or maybe in anticipation of this letter, which I started to jot down notes for yesterday morning.

I’m reminded, again as is often true, that as parents, the days are long but the years are short. Another year has passed by and I’m sure if I met you just a year ago, I would not recognize you in so many ways today. But then again, in an instant, I’d know you like I’ve known you forever.

The number 4 is significant in many ways, but to me, the most important way is in the stability it signifies. Most things we associate with the number 4 indicate some kind of safety, strength, or rigor — four legs on a stool, four walls on a home, four arms and legs. Four is a great number and an even better age.

Four is significant for you, especially from my point of view. So much of who you are and how you are reminds me of your continued growth, maturity, and stability — still coupled with the vulnerability that every child should hold on to for as long as humanly possible. Indulge your old man as he shares just some of the ways.

Solomon the Journeyman

During this past year, we moved from San Francisco to Denver. You moved from the only friends you ever knew to a new, much larger school in a new language with all new people. From the drive here to the adjustment in school, you never really skipped a beat.

I was seriously impressed, if not a little worried, haha, that you seemed to never even look back. I know at this age, memory isn’t permanent, but you really settled into the journey and the adventure in a way that made me admire you.

At the same time, though, you have been cautious and careful. In every new place, you quickly establish a home base, be that a physical place, thing or person. When you’re frightened or unsure, you return to this. That’s such a great natural instinct.

Solomon the Leader

As we’ve heard from your teachers and observed with your interactions with us as well, you’ve got the makings of a ringleader in you. When you were back in Sage, it was leading your small pack of friends, befriending the elders and defending the youngsters (and sometimes the inverse).

Now, you’re showing that same potential in your new school and as you make new friends but in a completely different way. It’s often said that great leaders know how to listen and observe. I see you often sitting back, watching, and learning. Our presence usually interferes, but as we are out of the picture, you again take your spot in the pack.

You’re not as big as the others in this class — there are kids almost 2 years older than you. But you’ve figured out how to run with them. Keep honing those skills, son. They’ll make you a great human. Lead when it’s required of you, listen no one’s expecting you to be.

Solomon the Storyteller

Now that you’ve garnered a larger vocabulary, life really is different. As Grandma Patsy loves to say, “Life is so quiet when he sleeps.” Your sweet voice fills the air as you bring your toys and their stories to life. And stories do you have.

From flying airplanes to trains, to trucks, to monsters, and most recently to bad guys and good guys, they all have a role to play and you’ve designed a space for them all to fill.

I am most impressed, though, with how you have learned to conquer your fears with your stories. One thing that you have done is to fold your greatest fears into stories that you can own.

Consider the example of fire alarms. After any number of bad experiences with those damn things, you were mostly terrified by them. Isn’t it ironic, then, that half the toys you choose and stories you tell involve the fire trucks, firemen, fire helicopters, and more. In all of them, you know their roles and incorporate a tale of how they are helping save someone or something from peril.

Being a great storyteller is a powerful skill. Learning to conquer your fears, though, is priceless.

You’ve become this perfect little petri dish of your mom and I. Of your grandparents on both sides. Of both the cities you’ve lived in and the ones that informed who you are.

Your heart is warm and gentle. It fills everyone around you with a smile and love. It even brings most of them a bit of glee and relief from whatever they’re experiencing in the moment.

I know you’re still young. I know you’ll stumble and fall. I know we’ll be there to pick you up, no matter what. But seeing you prove every day that you can adapt, will adapt, and will persevere gives this dad one big, huge sigh of relief.

If I’m learning one thing on my own, it’s that parenting is half learning how to help while half unlearning how to hold on tight. Bear with me, I’m half way there.

Thanks for making that as easy as you have, son.

Happy 4th Birthday!

Love always,
Dad

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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.