Thursday, June 28, 2018

To My Oldest On Your 10th Birthday

My Dear Maxwell,

Today you are ten. As you keep telling people, you're "a full decade old." Ten years has come and gone in no time at all. I fight to remember the little details in these ten years: your sweaty head as we cuddled during those first few weeks as I adjusted to motherhood and you to the world. You sweet voice and those newly found words. How you once grabbed for my hand, yet also attempted to run away from me. The books we once read over and over again before bed. It all seems to have happened yesterday and forever ago all in the same moment.

One thing has remained the same: you're my go-to kid. "Max, take the trash out." "Max, laundry." "Max, help (enter anyone's name here) do (enter any task here)." "Max, walk your sister to reading group this summer." "Max, take Harrison to the climbing tree." For ten years old, you're responsible and willing to help, as you've always been. This speaks more to your character than you know and I hope you always remain humble.

The pre-teen years have hit and it's an interesting ride so far. There's been random outbursts about a lost hat (that caused us to be an hour late to family fishing day) and tears about nothing. I commend us both for handling things calmly. We're able to laugh about it (now that it's over). I suspect this will only get more interesting as we work through the next year.

Your fourth grade year at school was tremendous. You excelled in your school work, got along with all of your classmates, and you are generally sad about only having one final year at your elementary school. You excelled at piano and chess club and are known at school for being the best big brother. All of the teachers are commented about how responsible you are and how protective you are of your brother and sister. My favorite story from the school year was at the very beginning of the year when Elizabeth was upset because a little boy kept biting (yep, biting) her hair during circle time. I told Elizabeth told stick up for herself, raise her hand, and tell her teacher. Elizabeth informed me that she wasn't going to do that, so I told her there's wasn't much that could be done if she wouldn't take a stand first. The next evening at dinner, you proudly announced that you mentioned the incident to Elizabeth's teacher for her at drop off (because you walked her all the way into her classroom every day) and Elizabeth's teacher already knew about the hair biter.

I have to laugh because I always wonder why Elizabeth doesn't speak up better. I have to look no further than YOU for the answer. You've always been every child's advocate when they're upset, confused, or worried. You've always been the first person a new daycare child takes to and I'd guess it's because of this quality that other's feel from you.

You love to write and make up stories. You love books, movies, traveling, maps, building things, a good sword or Light Saber battle, music, and being "in charge" of the remotes. You continue to search for answers to all of life's questions and make bucket lists better than I do. I see a lot of me in you, which can make things both difficult and easy.

Thinking back on the last ten years, one thing is for certain: my life has been better because YOU were born. Somehow you give me reassurance and encouragement at just the right moments to let me know I'm doing something right in this whole mom business. I hope you continue to be YOU because there's nothing better in this world.

I thank the world every day that you are mine. As you grow older, less and less of you belongs to me. As sad as that can be, the world needs more of you. I hope you always give the best of yourself and know that I'm always here.

Here's to the next TEN Maxwell John! I promise you'll get to cross some exciting things off your bucket list and I'll be right there with you. 

Love you always and forever,