Happy Birthday

Today my son has turned five and I feel like it’s such a profound year in the span of childhood. They seem to gradually exit toddlerhood (though they are still so very little) and mature just a bit into becoming little, big kids. I feel like there should be some sort of ‘rite of passage’ for him (other than finally wiping his own backside) but I can think of very little that parents do to enter their children into becoming a ‘bigger’ boy.

I decide that I wanted to write something for him and even though he won’t fully understand it if I read it to him today I want to give my ‘today thoughts’ for him concerning his life so he can read them someday. This is what I wrote him during his nap today:

December 29, 2009

Last night I sat awake at the computer thinking of you turning five the next day. I cried when I recalled the past three years and the brevity of your infant-hood. Those first two seemed to go on forever as you had many growing milestones but still were unable to care for yourself in a vast amount of ways. The past three have raced by and even though you still need papa and I to care for you there is much you have learned to do yourself.

I have had moments of the tortured soul of many a mother who desires to be home and yet ‘finding myself’ in the outside world. Still, I wouldn’t trade all of the epiphanies and moments of self realization outside of my home for any of the days I have spent alone with you. Darling, you are worth my sacrifice to find and discover who I am (apart from you). I know it’s rather because I am your mother that I am discovering who I have chosen to be.

Little man, ever since you could talk you were captivating. I’ve watched how adults interact with you. They are fascinated by you. My friend Andrew had said to me, “That boy is going to leave the world different than he found it”. I believe it!  The unique structure of your soul captivates many as you ask your questions and explain to your new friends (and everyone you meet becomes a friend) what your toys can do or you tell them the things you have in your home. “I have a cat named Rushmore and he’s gray but he scratches sometimes and I don’t like that.” I love to hear you explain our cat to the people you’ve just met or to hear you tell them about the solar system. “Did you know that Wall-e went past Saturn and he touched the Milky Way when he was holding onto the Axiom?”

You have a way of creating a party wherever you go. Even the shyest child will crawl out of his protective shell when you’re around. Glory! Even though you’ve been described by those who don’t know you, who are merely observers, that you seem to be on overload or that watching you is like watching a tape on fast forward, papa and I both know that truth. We know that you love to explore, to learn and understand, and to feel the world around you. We have always encouraged you to keep learning, touching and asking until you feel satisfied. You never are; you always want to learn more. It’s exhaustingly glorious for us and exhilarating for you, son.

Today I asked you at nap time what a five year old boy does (Though I struggled to find the best question to ask. I never want you to think that life is all about what you ‘do’). Your answer was, “A five year old learns how to read and grows big”. Your dreams are simple and honest. I’ll share my dreams for you in this fifth year:

  • I desire for you to receive even more love from Papa, Chloe and I.
  • That you would find peace in your little heart when you encounter fears
  • That you will continue to engage passionately with the world around you and discover the wonders that you touch every day
  • That the intensity that is inside your DNA would be channeled into your ability to devour life
  • That compassion would guide many of your decisions

I love you painfully, boy, and I wish you a delightful fifth year.
Happy Birthday,


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. Ah this so sweet, and totally Olivier! He is such a sweet boy and we miss him lots and the life that he and Chloe brought to our lives when you came to visit!

  2. What a sweet post. I agree that five seems huge – like some passage into a new phase. Especially with so much emphasis placed on “the first five years.” I thought, well, the first five are done- and I hope I did ok, because according to child development the first five are the most important! Kind of a lot of pressure. Just from reading this post I think Olivier is very blessed with parents who take the time to understand him, nurture him and direct his energies and passions – I’m encouraged to do the same – take the time to truly figure out my kids unique needs and gifts and personality. Thanks for sharing your letter to Olivier.

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