Happy birthday, sweet Ben!
Today you are eight.
Yesterday we celebrated with a party for you and friends. Originally you wanted a sleep over, which I promptly reminded you that no girls could attend. Then it was a go-kart party, for which I reminded you that a parent would have to ride with each friend. A third choice of the newly opened Dave and Busters was thrown out, and bingo if we didn't have a winner (and a place that cleaned up.) You chose Pokemon as a theme including specially made pokemon balls for each friend attending thanks to Dad's burgeoning Pinterest abilities.
One way in which you have changed the most in the past year has been in your friendships. You waffle between being fiercely loyal to a single best friend as well as running with a pack of equally active other 2nd grade boys in the after school program. The day you pointed your fingers and made some cheesy pickup line sound in saying goodbye to one of them left me wondering what happened in the last year?
You have grown in every possible way this yea:r: in maturity, physically, emotionally. I feel like I have actually watched your lanky arms and legs grow overnight. You have lost teeth, had legit growing pains in your knees and feet that make you cry in the night, and have put on muscles that you are quick to flex in your ability to stay shirt less around the house.
We decided to finish your time in one on one counseling in the fall and while I didn't post publicly the specifics of why and when it happened, it was a major moment in the past year. I appreciate that you were willing to believe through talking, you find solutions. I appreciate that in the parent sessions, I found more ideas on how to connect with you now and also as you mature.
As your parent I feel that the decision we made to pursue therapy including the parent sessions I attended, was one of the best ways I can show you that I love you and support you regardless of circumstance. I have said so many times that as your mom all I can do is support you, make resources available, and love you unconditionally. I cannot know what your future holds, I only have the choices I can make today. I regret little in the past year when it came to your well being.
This past year you again took art classes with Ms. Linda making creations from clay as well as a recyclable mini golf course. You tried weekly Jr. Jazzercise classes and performed in the Cary Christmas Parade. Not surprisingly you said that JJ summer camp was your favorite. You continue to love movement in any and all forms. You told me that you wanted to try soccer so we opted for spring soccer league which you loved playing goalie and are returning this fall. You spent so many hours outside that over the weekend what I thought was too much sun exposure, causing a hard line of covered vs uncovered skin, it was actually dirt. Needless to say we are not skipping baths these days.
You have continued to be part ally/part enemy to your younger brother. You told me recently that "I fight with him because I love him." Sure. You are half of the reason that our home is crazy and loud. Always. I hope that your bond continues to grow in love for each other and that one day you can do it without full on wrestling. Or in the picture below, rolling down hills at a favorite park on a beautiful spring day.
This year in school has been defined as even keeled. You have stayed on grade level all year in all areas, but also gotten a "good enough" mentality that I hope you will be able to break. I''ve always said that I am happy with you working to what is your potential. but anything else needs work. You loved that your 2nd grade teacher loved science and questioning. You loved any activity that answered the proverbial questions of "how, what, why?" I appreciate that once again, I feel you were with the right teacher placement for where you are in your development.
Your love of enjoyment reading and I've loved talking history with you. The nonfiction section of the library is usually your first stop. One moment that stands out was when we were touring the Smithsonian "Price of Freedom" exhibit about US involvement in War. I debated how much censorship I should impose and decided that I would rather allow you ask any and all questions instead of coming up with your own conclusions. We've had some meaningful discussions about slavery as well as the dropping of the atomic bomb.
I hope our yearly overnight trip to DC will continue as long as you are willing. One of my favorite posts titled One Day He Will Get It, recounting our trip, and especially the moment of this picture. It was a favorite of you at age 7.
With each passing year you are becoming more and more your own person. While I want you to seek out your own independence, I hope you will still in the quiet moments at hope still climb into my arms, ask to be tucking into bed, and that you will continue to catch my kiss and tuck it away. It is a sweet ending to every long day.
My sweet Ben, you are a gift of goodness and light. As we continue to compile our lists of "how mom and Ben are alike" and then high five I cannot help but want to hit a pause button with you at this age. I look at you and cannot believe that in a short decade you will be graduating from high school. I want time to stand still for just a bit, as the ache of sadness that friends and future are pulling me away from you. While all must happen, I wish for this next year to be filled with moments for just us.
Happy birthday, my beautiful blue eyed boy. May the next year find find you in love with life, the same way I love you.