Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For Ben, on your 5th birthday

Dear Ben,

It is hard to believe that my sweet little boy is five years old already. In some ways you want to be so grown up, and at other times you remind me so much of the toddler you were just a few short years ago.

While I hope to slow these years down and savor every minute, you are always wishing that you are older. You idolize most of the older boys that you know - both in the neighborhood and at school. We are blessed to be surrounded by a group of boys that let you join in with them without making you feel at all out of place. Even our neighbors who are 5 or 6 years older than you cheerfully respond to your greetings, and spend time talking with you and answering your questions.

At school this year you have made great strides. Your reading has improved so much, and you will sit down with me and read one of the books that your teacher sends home practicing a word or sentence over and over until you can read it completely with no mistakes. You are so proud every time you get to do one of the "long chains" at school, just like the kindergarteners. I have worried that your tendency towards being social will interfere with your learning, but so far you have proven me wrong.

You love to be out doors doing just about anything. This fall you played on a soccer team for the first time. The amount of energy and enthusiasm that you have amazes me. Especially since you still get up most days before 6 AM. You get out there, though, and go, go, go the whole time.

At this point, I can't imagine getting able to regularly sleep past 7 AM, but at the same time I treasure my early morning time with you. You snuggle up beside me on the couch, and ask me to put on a show for you. Sometimes you will sit separately, but sooner or later you reach over and put your hand on my cheek or shoulder. You need that physical connection, and it makes me melt every time. Often when we've had a busy day you will come up to me at night as I'm putting things away after dinner and say, "will you come sit and snuggle with me, because we haven't had much snuggle time today?" Now how could anyone turn down an offer like that?

Ben, the way that you interact with the people around you makes me so proud of the person that you are becoming. I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

I love you so much - you will always be my little boy,