Happy eighth birthday! It’s become my tradition to write you a letter for your birthday each year, so I’m doing that again today.
It’s been quite a full year for our family since your last birthday. Micah started going to a different elementary school than you. Our family went to the courthouse to see Lydia officially become your big sister. We took our first family of five vacation together to Estes Park, Colorado. Uncle Dennis came to hang out with us in the summer at an Airbnb. And we had friends and family over to our house for the holidays this year. I have so many good memories from this past year. I hope you will be able to look back on this year and have good memories as well.
It’s fun for me to look back on the past year and think about how you’ve grown and matured, to think about what your interests have been and what activities you’ve been a part of. This past year you’ve been taking dance classes every Friday. You love to show off your moves, especially the “coffee grinder.” You played soccer last spring for the first time. You took tennis lessons in the summer. You also started taking piano lessons this year, something I hope you keep pursuing. The other week you played the theme song to the show Gravity Falls and started to play it by ear on the piano.
You are outside as often as possible, no matter the temperature. You and Micah come up with all sorts of imaginative games to play outside together in our back trees and around the house. Whenever possible you like to play with our neighbors, Harper and Finley. You enjoy hanging out with any of the kids of our village. It’s always fun to see you running around the backyard with a gang of kids, exploring and playing all sorts of games. It’s good for my soul.
You love to climb on anything and everything. As I went back through the photos of the past year, so many of them are of you up in trees or in playgrounds or on lampposts. It’s definitely a defining detail of your seventh year.
You also love to ride your bicycle. Just the other day, Bell ran off her leash and down the street. You immediately sprung into action and jumped on your bike and took off down the sidewalk in search of her. It was so cute seeing you pedaling as quickly as you could in a desperate search for your dog. You eventually found her down the street and brought her back. You were so proud. So was I.
Most of this past year I felt fairly emotional. It was hard for me to grieve Uncle Matt dying. I am still doing that. But when you notice I am sad, you are always so sweet to me. I love that compassionate heart of yours. You had your own challenges to work through, too. Micah had a lot of hard behaviors this year, and that affects you in so many ways, too. But you are such a good brother to him. Yes, you two have your squabbles and fights, but all brothers do. You two are best friends. I love to hear you playing together, excited to show each other something, happy to laugh about something together.
I love our family of five. I love what you add to it. You are energetic and funny. You love science and facts. You are extremely emotionally intelligent and aware. When you argue with me or mom, your arguments are more sophisticated than the teenagers that live in our home. Sometimes your wit puts me back on my heels. I love that about you.
Twenty-five percent of your life has been lived in a pandemic. Most of your memories of your young childhood will be in the pandemic or (hopefully) post-pandemic times. Masks and distancing and isolation still are a big part of this past year. But maybe this year going forward it won’t be such a defining part of our lives. Covid-19 is still impacting the world in significant ways, but right now things seem to be getting better overall. We all hope it continues that way.
Second grade was an important year for me. Some of the friends I still talk to on a daily basis I made when I was in second grade. You talk frequently about your friends at school, too. You invited them to your birthday party this year. You make friends easily. When we go to a park or playground, it’s just a matter of seconds before you’re hanging out with a group of kids as if you’ve known them for months.
This next year I look forward to seeing you continue to grow and learn. Lydia will be graduating high school here in a little over a month. The two of you are about the same distance in age that my brother and I were. I think about that sort of thing a lot. You’ll undoubtedly have a busy and fun summer and then it will be time for third grade!
I’m already excited for all the photos I’ll get to take of you this next year. I have a lot from this past year that show so much of your personality. I love it.
Happy eighth birthday, Ezra!