When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I’m as clever as ever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.
Six. As any parent says, and I am no different, how can it be possible? Wasn't it only last week we were shooting off rockets with your friends when you turned a whole hand and maybe just a month ago when we had your fourth UT tailgating party and you still needed me to help you get your “number shirt” on making sure that even if I helped you, that you would still be four.
If I weren’t much of a writer or if I was concerned about the length of this letter (which, by the way, will be very, very long) and I could only say one thing about you, it would be you are a load of fun. 99% of the time, you awaken with a grin, a statement of some kind, and no need of coaxing to get out from under your covers. You are ALWAYS ready for the new day. Why wouldn't you be? Ahead of you is a whole day, empty of words waiting for you to fill it to overflowing. I guess for one with the gift of gab, your chances of making us chuckle are good. Once I asked you to go upstairs and TELL Julia it was time for her to practice her piano and you said, “Mom, can’t I just yell? It is SO much easier for me to just stand right here and yell.” Another time, when your friends were in the cul de sac, I asked you to do a two minute chore. I saw you vacillating between obedience and your desire to dash. “Mom, I will obey you right away, first time............tomorrow.” When bedtime comes, your comments from the top of the stairs are many and varied but this one comes in different versions, quite often, “I am having an argument with my head. I want to go to sleep but my head doesn’t want me to.” And after about 10 more minutes, “I am full of sleeping.” When your soccer team lost by double digits, you convincingly told me in the rearview mirror, “Those guys were at least 16 or 17.” B, you just make me smile.
I have never known a child that draws as much as you do. Maybe it is sort of like writing is for me. When you experience something, whether it is something read to you from a book, somewhere you were able to visit, or a football game on Saturday afternoon, your first response is to run to the printer and grab some paper..................and you draw. And you draw. And you draw. Maybe four different versions of the same game or 3 different scenes from the book. My heart aches when I pile them all up at night-- EVERY night--and wonder what in the world to do with them. Even though you are a purist when it comes to paper, you are by no means “green”. You want not a mark on either side of your crispy white canvas. Long ago I stopped trying to get you to draw on the other side of Craig’s List ads or Google maps. The battle wasn’t worth it. One day, maybe you will be led to plant a few trees (a forest) or at least draw on both sides of the paper.
You are still highly intrigued by cautionary things, like all the signs with the red circle and the line through bad/dangerous choices. These were never really on my radar but now, whether I want to or not, I know all sorts of accidents waiting to happen because of your keen ability to see each and every sign, sticker or poster. You get very serious when we go to pump gas and remind me to “discharge static” before I begin to pump because you don’t want to “catch fire”. Me neither-- even though I had never been aware of the possibility of such a tragedy at the Shell station.
One of my favorite things this year has been watching the preference for your Daddy grow. I knew it was coming and I knew it was natural. Many mornings your first question is regarding his whereabouts,wondering if he is still in the office in his chair reading or if he had an early morning meeting. Many times, before our house is officially switched on for the day, he gets to enjoy your company. You, with blue blanket in hand, always sit on the couch opposite his chair and ask, “So, Daddy, what do you want to talk about this morning?” Your Daddy loves this. The time of his return in the evenings is a popular
discussion of the day-- especially when Julia and I get a
little carried away with reading time........which brings me to another favorite thing from this year. For the first time, you were moved by a book. The story of Satchel Paige and all that he endured while playing baseball in the Negro league trying to make his way to the white Major Leagues pushed your little heart to tears-- a heap on the couch, head buried in my lap. Your sense of justice came forth in great sadness and I was proud of you.
You finished up at the Montessori school in the spring and joined us for school at home this year-- in all your Kindergarten glory. You were ready--ready to do “math work” and “letter work”. After the first week of school, this Momma heaved a huge sigh of relief because I knew then, adding you was only going to make our day brighter. Just today, Julia and I couldn’t help but laughing at your enthusiasm for the “fast math facts” game she and I made up two years ago. You got to play for the first time today and our little “learning room” could not contain your excitement. Now, Mrs. Barbara had warned me of your love of pretending that you didn’t know something. You just don’t like to be left alone for even a minute. Somehow, you figure things out much more quickly with me by your side. I am on to you, boy. I am on to you.
You were determined to wakeboard this summer and although you never made it up by yourself, you devised a plan to get up between your Daddy’s legs and it worked! Your grin was as wide as Eagle Mountain Lake. You picked up the neighbors bike this year and realized you could ride without training wheels. A breathless Julia ran in for me to come and watch. Then we had the incident of your first lost tooth-- both ways-- like, not in your mouth anymore nor present to place under your pillow. It is on the soccer field in Keller somewhere- or in “Helen Keller” as you tell everyone.
Your prayers are full and long, just like all your conversations. Safety is big issue with you and we have seen that prayer answered more than once. No matter what insanity we have experienced inside our walls during the daylight hours, your prayers at night make it all worth it. Your Daddy usually tucks you in, but he has the same experience as I do. Whenever he finishes praying for you, you never fail to say, “Now, let me pray for you.” And pray you do. For me, you have “hit home” several times and I have been thankful for the darkness of your room as I can exit discreetly with blurry eyes.
Something I certainly will never forget are the words you choose to “love me with”. Most I chose to keep just between you and me, but, at times, they have taken my breath away and have come at moments that can ONLY be God ordained. Just last week, you stopped me as I was coming out of my bedroom, took both of my hands in yours and said some of those "breath takers" as serious as your bed head would allow. You then gave me a big hug around the legs and I’m like, “Candy? Do you want some brightly colored high fructose corn syrup for breakfast?” You’re just sweet like that-- without the sugar. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by your thoughtfulness. Your words minister to me, sweet son.
So what am I missing these days? That’s easy. Words/expressions like han-mitizer, Casa Mayama, the MI-MAX, Pig Lots, hiture naking, Tip-Tac-Toe, Starbooks, Chick fi Leg, Hippotatas (for Pappadeaux--???), skabetti, Lightening the Queen, fuge (for huge), extruction (for construction) and down my droat. And images like little hands with white knuckle grips on a multitude of cars and trains, the cave man dance, you, at three, on a bike, shoes on the wrong feet, pajamas on backwards, you, crawling behind Julia, sleeping with your hiney in the air, an orange nose from too many carrots and your huge toothless grin. Thank God for cameras.
But now, you are six and now you are the one who never fails to turn the dead bolt when youcome in from playing, even when in need of a Band-Aid. You are the one who seeks people out to say hi and still runs to hug your grown up friends around the leg. You are the one who always wants peanuts at the game and eats them SHELL and all. You are the one who loves a new trick.....or a silly joke. You are the one who will offer our guests an extra pillow or a blanket just to make sure they are comfy in our den. You are the one with the best fake laugh this side of the Mississippi. It gets me EVERY time. You are the one who at 6 (!!) knows how to make small talk. I've even watched you "work a room". Your ability to chit chat with a stranger is remarkable. You are the one who doesn’t like to retrieve anything from upstairs if Julia isn’t already there. You are the one who coaxes me at bedtime to stay just a minute longer for the kiss that is only for “Monday” or whatever the day of the week it is. You are the one who, once in our cul de sac, will yell, “STOP!!!! Let me out! I want to say ‘hi’ to him!” You are the one who wants a “crack” left between the door and jamb at night. You are the one who still talks of living in our home with your wife..... “except for the LONG time we will have to be in the hospital. You know, Mom, the baby thing.”
And you, my sweet B, are the one who, if you aren’t melting my heart, are driving me crazy. And I love, love, love you. You are the son for whom your Daddy asked the Lord, the brother for whom your sister prayed night after night and the second promise for which I waited with hope perched in my heart. The Lord fulfilled, three weeks early and then, in the middle of the night, came you. Our heartstrings are tied together, in knots, like the ones you tie in your room when you are bored--- impossible to undo. I am so very proud of you, Jeffrey Brighton Sanders. I love you “the whole world”. Happy Birthday, B! And to answer your question from tonight, yes, a million times yes.
Goodbye Five. Hello Six!