Saturday, June 04, 2005

A letter to my son--on being 10

Dear Geeky Boy,

10 years ago, you were born. I had no idea what I was in for. You were tiny and seemed fragile and you cried like a goat or maybe a sqeaky screen door. It was not a pretty sound. At night when you cried, I would get up (or often Dad would) and I'd feed you and rock you until you fell asleep on my shoulder, heavier and breathing long, in and out. I'd put you in your crib on your back and you'd sprawl out. Frog boy, we called you.

But soon you were making better sounds: coos and goos and ahs. Your eyes were huge as you took in the world, always seeming to observe everything and perhaps remember it too. It was easy to take you places. Often, you would simply fall asleep. Or you'd play happily with toys and jabber to yourself.

The years seemed to pass by so quickly. I remember you used to toddle in the grass in our first house and the grass was up to your knees. You said, "yoos" and that meant "shoes" or "juice." It was hard to tell. Once, you told us your shoes were in the wall. We found them 2 years later in a desk with a cabinet that we never used. You played ball with the dog, giggling hysterically when she caught it. You liked to play in the peanuts that came with your gifts. You spent hours playing in the newspaper we had pulled out from all the moving boxes. Your face and belly were round and soft.

But you grew and your face became a boy's face and your belly thinned and your little legs stuck out from your shorts. You started to enjoy big kid things, like playing sports and video games. We played Lara Croft together for hours. Sometimes you'd play Pac-Man or Galaga with me. You learned to swim and read and play soccer. You were sweet and sensitive and never wanted anyone to feel sad or be hurt.

When we moved halfway across the country for Dad's job, you were hurt. For days, you cried and said all you wanted to do was go back to our old house. I cried for you when you weren't looking. I didn't want to hurt you either, but I knew I had and I knew I might do so again without meaning to.

Soon enough, because you're so friendly, you made friends and were happy again.

Every year, you get bigger and smarter. You are still sensitive and you're thoughtful. You really think about things. I like it when you ask questions like, "Why do we have to have wars?" or "Do you think God is a woman?" or "Why doesn't everyone drive hybrid cars?" Sometimes the answers confuse you and even scare you, but you keep thinking.

I don't know what you're going to do for a living when you grow up, but I do know that you'll always be smart and thoughtful and insightful. You'll be empathetic and caring. You'll be strong when you need to be. With those qualities, you can do whatever you want.

Happy Birthday!