Dear Griffin (aka Doodles, Buggy, Doll Baby),
Today you are six! Every parent says the time flies by, and while I always believed it, I never knew just how fast it would happen until you came along.
This has been one roller coaster of a year for us - so much has happened. By far the biggest milestone was that you started school. Watching you learn to read and write has been amazing. I can't even begin to count the number of scraps of paper I find throughout the house (and even in my purse) with your writing on it. They are filled with questions: Mama do you like hot dogs? Do you like the Cubs? They are filled with observations: Sponge Bob is funny. Legos are fun. No matter how many notes I find, I can't get myself to throw them away. Each one is a little piece of your personality.
I am proud of how you adapted to the social aspect of school. One of my biggest fears was that you would end up with my painfully shy personality, but you jumped in with both feet. In fact, you did more of a cannonball. No fear. Meet the Author night at school? No problem. You even sat in front and asked questions. Fiesta Dance Party? Of course. I only wish I had my camera as you danced your heart out to Copacabana. That is one of the many things I love about you - your complete lack of concern about what other people think. You don't look around to see if anyone is watching. You don't worry if someone is talking about you. Someday that will change...it always does. But for now, it's the most awesome thing to watch. I wish I could be just a little more like you.
This has also been the year of "imagining." You've always had a vivid imagination, but this year you took it to a new level. At least twice a day you take time out to imagine - as in, "Mama, I'm trying to imagine here." In case you forget, that's my cue to go into another room while you pretend to fight ninjas or Transformers or some other random bad guys. Sometimes you are the ninja. Imagining usually involves some fancy kicks, rapid fire sound effects, and on occasion, your "light sword" (which is really just a mini M&Ms holder). I'm not allowed to enter the room while you imagine, and you've been known to give me the stink eye if I stop and watch you.
Oh...and it is so much fun to watch you. Sometimes I think I could do it all day. Watching you imagine, play at the park, and splash around the pool are some of my favorite times with you. Since the day you were born I've said that you are an all-or-nothing kid. You did (and still do) everything with gusto - scream, cry, laugh. There's rarely an in-between. You even feel with gusto. Your empathy amazes me...and at times, it even scares me a little. You feel for everyone, even complete strangers. Just the other night as we were leaving the ER, you saw a man laying on a gurney in one of the rooms. "That poor man. I hope he's OK," you said. I squeezed your hand and said, "Me too."
Six years. It's amazing to think all we've been through together, especially during this past year. I know it hasn't been easy, but I like to think we managed to push through this together. I really didn't think we would make it past that first night in our new place. I tried to be the tough one, but it was you who came up with the brilliant idea: "Let's do things like we used to do at our other house...like sleep next to each other." And we did. And in the morning things looked a little brighter. We survived.
You have carried way too much on your tiny shoulders this past year. You are a little boy. Your world should be filled with giggles and trips to the park and fighting ninjas in your backyard on a warm summer morning. I don't want you to worry. I can do that for both of us. It's my job. Someday I hope you can understand that everything I've done - all of these decisions I've made that you haven't liked - has been with you in mind. Every single one.
This letter has taken on a much different tone than the previous ones I've written you, but this has been a much different year for us. We will continue to push through like we've done in the past - together. Sometimes at night when I'm trying to get you to calm down and fall asleep, you pull my arm over your body. I have a little secret for you...I need that comfort as much as you.
And remember - I will carry the weight of your world for as long and as far as you need.