May 27, 2022
Today is your 7th birthday, it’s been quite a year. We almost made it back to everyday life, but your entry into 1st grade was still overall a success.
In thinking about your last year and all the things you’ve done, I thought it would be nice to break it down into 3 different buckets: things I observed, things I admire, and things I hope for.
Things I Observed
It’s easy for us as parents to take for granted that our children already experience the full range of emotions that we do. In our hearts, we’d love to believe that everything is perfect, and our children are happy beyond belief.
This year, it became readily apparent to me that you were your own person, one sensitive to much more than I likely gave you credit for. I’ve seen you sad, happy, fatigued, excited, caring, and everything in between.
It’s not just wonderful to see, but also a sign that you are experiencing much of what the world has to offer, for better or worse.
Another thing we’re likely to take for granted in our older days is the joys of learning. We can become jaded to things, assuming we’ve mastered them. We haven’t.
This year, I saw you step into the role of student in new and exciting ways. From your adventures in the science museum to your steady mastery of math and reading, we can see you absorbing so much, so fast.
Sometimes, when you see your child, you see yourself — and that’s not always a good thing :). I certainly remember being a picky eater and I know from stories your mom was too.
Your appetite has not changed much, though your love of donuts is commendable in my book. You’ve also expressed an interest in hard-boiled eggs. Other than that, it’s a steady regiment of meatballs (brown and red), dumplings (Chinese and Russian), and occasionally pizza (cheese only).
When you’re young, you often make some of the best friends you will have in your entire life. To this day, I still vividly remember the names and times of so many of my friends from even elementary school.
As the year wore on, we could finally start to see not only that you had more friends than we realize, but that you really enjoyed spending time with them. We’ve had all kinds of playdates and activities now with your friends and it’s great to see you all together.
Things I Admire
Depth of Play
I can’t remember really loving to play, I was so serious as a kid and maybe too serious now as an adult. But I see you play and it amazes me how deeply and far into your imagination you can dive. It’s just not something I seem to possess in remotely the same way.
Perhaps the part we do share is an imagination that knows no bounds, even if we apply it to different things.
We’ve heard it from every corner, from teachers at school to parents you’ve spent time with — you’re a kind and considerate child. There are many things we try to encourage you to be, but kindness has never been one of them. That comes from you, deep inside.
We can all learn a lesson from your kindness. Hold onto it as long as you can, the world feels too often designed to make us less kind to each other.
Things I Hope For
Challenge Yourself More
Everyone loves to feel comfortable, but you’ll grow more by challenging yourself. Too often I see you not wanting to try something new (see food) or try harder at things you haven’t quite mastered yet. Try harder, do better.
It’s one thing to not like or enjoy something you’ve come to be familiar with. It’s an entirely different thing to never try or know. Do the former, not the latter.
Be More Active
Growing up, I was definitely more of an “inside” kid, too, but I still spent loads of time outside. When we moved here to Colorado, our hope was that you would have more of the freedom to explore outside than we could offer you in San Francisco.
If your Dad can be an example at all, I hope you will see it’s never too late to try out a new sport or activity, even the ones that happen outside.
Happy Birthday, son. It took me until May 31 to finish this letter. We had a fun trip to Las Vegas to see friends and family. Life doesn’t get in the way, it is the way.