Well, we’ve finally reached that part of the program where we’re out of fingers to describe your development. As you pointed out to me last night when I tucked you in, Molly, you’re going to need three hands to get to 11 now. It got me thinking. You both have grown so independent this year. You each have certainly put your hands to use in such strong, creative, and compassionate ways. But, you and your brother will always have my hand at your backs. There will always be a third hand to help you push onward.
Eleven years have come and gone so fast and slowly all at once. I often think back to the night you were born and nurse Betsy marching in to the hospital room to announce that “tonight seems like a good night for a birthday.” Your dad was wearing that blue monkey astronaut shirt; I don’t think he’ll ever throw it out. I was so unprepared. You think you’re ready for something only to arrive at it suddenly knowing that you have absolutely no idea what to do. It’s a humbling feeling…even more humbling to know that no matter what, I had to DO.
This year, you both DID. In the middle of a pandemic, your persistent compassion led to some big feelings and even bigger ideas about how to help others. Whether it was organizing a backpack of supplies for a young homeless man and his dog, or making signs of gratitude for frontline workers, or reading to your cousins, or cleaning up the neighborhood; you got out and did it. While the last year was one of inaction and solitude for many, you continually put yourself out there to help others.
Molly May, this past year your determination and creative vision have blossomed. Your artwork has washed across the pages with waves of color. I have loved watching you create studies of bodies and movement to hone your skills. While, yes, you often “spontaneously erupt into anime,” it’s been a beautiful exploration of your own imaginary worlds brought to life.
Your dives into pottery & guitar have provided more solid and structured study. My favorite part about these last few months in both studios for you is watching how much you have loved the process of learning. Though you might have an independent streak a mile wide, seeing you so fully embrace being a student and finding enjoyment in that is magical.
While the arts have brought you a sense of accomplishment and so much joy this year, school has brought some new challenges. You’ve always done school, and done it well. It’s that stubborn smudge you carry. So, it was something of a surprise to see you struggle so mightily with math. You are not one to acquiesce to not knowing. Molly, just remember; there is such beauty in the struggle. It’s the things that are hardest that teach us the most. House rule number three, never give up. You’ve got this.
Wyatt, this year has been filled with an electric sound. I worried when I pulled you out of band because I know learning an instrument gave you a sense of community along with the music. But, I’ve been so proud of your exploration with the electric guitar…even if you are the only boy in the band 😉
Your weekly bike rides with your friends have brought such smiles to your face. Watching the joy bloom as you’ve ridden off on your own for your first parent-free neighborhood rides took the sting out of my fear. You’ve been trying big on for size more often than not this year, and I’m learning to stretch those independent muscles right along with you…beginning that long, slow process of learning to let go.
Wy, your kindness has spilled out around you this year. You’ve always been my kid whose big feelings are a blazing light above you. This year was no different. But, what was different was the reckoning you had with yourself over them. I know sometimes those oceans of emotions get the better of us…but that swell of feeling is what makes you, well, you. Remember that your kindness is deep, and your compassion wide. House rule number two, be kind. You are and we are all so much better off because of it.
I will always look at you both and see the baby bellies and corkscrew curls. I will always hear the squeaky shoes accompanying your toddler stomps. I will appreciate the people you were, the people you are and the people you will become. House rule number one: be honest. We haven’t always gotten along; that’s not the way life works. But, I have always loved you more than I’ve ever loved anyone in my entire life. And, you never have to worry that you’ve run out of hands. Mine will forever and always be at your back.
Love you so very much. Happy birthday!