Monday, January 31, 2011


Liam -

In just a couple of hours, you will officially turn six, though given the amount of celebrating that has occurred over the past 3 days, the exact time of your birth is probably of little consequence to you. But to me, that exact hour and minute is the most monumental moment in my life. I became a momma, your momma, at 10:46pm. On a Monday, just like today. And for some reason, this year, I have thought about that all day long.  

Maybe it's because when I look at you now, there is very little "baby" left in that beautiful face of yours. You still have the same dimples, the same gorgeous blue eyes and dreamy, long, dark eye lashes, but nevertheless,  you are growing up right before my eyes. Maybe I just needed to let myself drift back to that night that I first laid eyes on you . First held you close and kissed your head. To remember how impossibly in love I was with you and how impossibly small you seemed. Those days (and nights) seemed to last forever, good grief. Even so,  I am pretty sure I would go back in heartbeat...if only just for a few days...because now I know how quickly time will pass. 

But let me just set the record straight. No way, no how would I want to stay there back in the past with the littler, squirmy-er, screamy-er, needy-er, baby-er you. Nope. Because I am absolutely CRAZY about your 6 year old self. Truly. You are quite a character. Funny. Clever. Often more profound than any 6 year old has a right to be. You question everything and are a voracious seeker of knowledge. You are insatiable. And I love every last drop of it. 

Momma and Daddy decided that you should wait an extra year to start Kindergarten this year. It is a decision that I worry you will one day be self-conscious or embarrassed of. Maybe even angry about. Please just know that sometimes mommies and daddies have to make choices for their kids, hard choices, choices that don't always have clear consequences. But they always make them with their child's best interest in mind and heart. And so it went for us. It was a tough decision, but one that I have never, ever regretted. You have blossomed, flourished, bloomed....completely and utterly come into your own and your self-confidence just shines through in all you do. I believe with all my heart that it is one of the best gifts we have ever given you.

We have learned so much about you this year. How you see the world. More importantly, how you feel the world. When you were four we confirmed that your body and brain process the world differently than most kids. Some things don't feel safe to you. Some things don't feel good to you. Some things you want more of and can't get, some things you get too much of and can't stop. And some things are just plain harder for you. As a result, walking around in your body was sometimes just too unpredictable and you let us know by getting angry, or sad, or frustrated, or loud. Luckily we found some really awesome people who have helped you and your body learn how to feel better, safer, calmer. It has been wonderful and you have come a long, long way. 

As you have made so much progress, we began to notice that some things were still really tricky for you and we weren't sure why. Once again we were able to find another awesome person who talked with you, listened to you, worked with you, and learned from you just how your amazing brain works. And, sweet boy, it works HARD. Never have I seen a brain work as hard as yours. What we learned is that there are some things that are really easy for your brain to figure out and other things that, no matter how hard your brain works, it just can't seem to do it's job the way it should. And because of that, there are some things that are really hard for even a very, very smart boy like yourself. No momma ever wants to see her child struggle and hearing how hard you work for things that are often easy for other kids your age, well, it really just broke my heart. But only for a little bit. Because very soon I realized how determined you are. How resilient. How willing you are to keep chugging away even though smoke might be coming out your ears. And my heartbreak quickly turned to admiration. Admiration of your perseverance in the face of what surely must be frustration a great amount of the time. I am ridiculously proud of you and I promise, cross my heart, that we will pull you through this and you will continue to blaze a trail. 

This year has seen your already tender heart become even kinder. You are a wonderful friend, brother and son. You love to shower the special people in your life with compliments and good deeds. You love when something you do or say brings a smile to someones face. You are proud of being capable and industrious and are forever asking for jobs and chores around the house. Quite often you insist that they be on your terms, which can often lead to conflict, as "stubborn" is a trait that has stuck with you over the years too. But mostly you are just happy to help in anyway possible. 

That is not to say that everything is just sunshine and butterflies around here. Oh, heavens no.  We are forever dealing with a little something we like to call "sass". You are a pro at giving lip. A PRO. And we have many, many, many discussion about things like "disrespect", "inappropriate" and "rude". You get it, you just like to exercise your mouth muscle and end up in hot water a great deal of the time. I won't say anymore on this topic beyond this: no matter how many time you say, yell, scream "I hate you", it will never, ever be okay to backtalk, name call or dis your parents. So, you know, hate away. 

A letter about this last year of your life would be sorely lacking if we did not also discuss Annabel. Annie, Annie, Annie. The two of you have a love-hate relationship if there ever was one. I have to give you credit, Liam, you are incredibly patient with her most of the time. She is a handful. When you do get fed up with her and fight it out, I am the first to admit she is almost always asking for it.  You exhibit tremendous self-control, very rarely striking out at her even as she is coming at you, arms rounding like a windmill. I am proud of you for that. I know you love her because you tell me so. I know you are irritated by her because you tell me that too. A lot. And I get it. I really do. She is in your business all the time and then when she is not in your business and you try and play with her, she can be kind of, well....crabby. Let's just go with that. Trust me when I say that you were exactly the same way when you were her age, almost 3. Only you didn't have a brother or sister to take it out on or try to keep up with. She wants so much to be able to do everything just like you and it can be incredibly frustrating for her when she can't or isn't allowed to. So, it's just a little tough for her right now.  Let me tell you, though, when you guys are on, you're on. You laugh and chase and hug and sing. You "read" her books and you show her the ropes. I promise she won't be this way forever (well..we may have to revisit this when she about 11) and all of your kindness, patience and love toward her will pay off one day. You're in the thick of things right now, but when I see the two of play, talk, dance....even fight, I see how very close and connected you are to each other. It's a real gift. 

I would love to talk about the clever things you say and I think I could probably write a book just with your comments, questions, insights...your "Liam-isms" if you will. I try to keep a running inventory but won't bore you with the details here. Suffice it to say, they are real nuggets and are a testament to what a bright shiny star you are. You have a way with people, you charm them, you entertain them, you connect with them in a way that makes them want to do right by you. It is an amazing phenomena to behold. 

When you were much younger, if someone were to ask me to describe you in one word, I would, without hesitation, say: tenacious. You were dogged. Irrationally stubborn. In some ways you still are, but I am beginning to see a glimmer of hope and where once those traits were exhausting, infuriating, maddening....they now show strength and character. You are not one to back down when you sense injustice. That is an admirable quality.

And so, tonight, as you are just teetering on the cusp of 6, if someone were to ask me that same question, my answer, without hesitation, would be: remarkable.  You are remarkable in every sense of the word. Beautiful and bright and so full of promise. And I am so happy that you're mine. 

Happy birthday, sweet Li-Li.  I love you.


P.S. Six minutes til your six. How cool is that?

1 comment:

Piper said...

Just lovely. I love you Missy!