To My Youngest on his Sixth Birthday

Today you are six.  My youngest, my baby son is six.  This year you stretched your body and mind.  You grew over 3 inches, changing from a chubby cheeked chap to a rail thin little boy, giving me a glimpse of what you will look like as a man.  You learned how to read, quickly moving from picture books to chapter books in what seemed like a week.

Related: Lost in Books

I see in you, the description of your daddy as a young boy, your Abuelita shared with me years ago, a curious little boy peeking behind the wall at her working in the kitchen.  A little stinker of a boy who loved to tease and have fun but fiercely loyal and loving to those he selected as his inner circle. You’ve already defended your older brother from a bully by punching him in the nose, need only your best friend by your side at school and can sense when your mommy needs a hug after a trying day. I didn’t know your daddy till high school so it is a joy to experience him through you.  Since I did know your daddy in high school, I have my guard up for the years to come.

At six you already have such a strong sense of self which you inherited from both of your parents but we see it most in the way you emulate your Abuelito, strong, focused and self-sufficient. You already seem to know where you are going and what you need to do to get there. I rarely worry about you. I watch you figure things out with confidence and little trepidation.

Related: To My Oldest on his Seventh Birthday

But yet--you still indulge me with our morning cuddles. The ones where I get to hold you like a baby, smooching your cheeks, while you struggle to open your eyes for the first time of the day.  I hold on to these moments when an hour later at school you will only give me a sturdy handshake as we part ways.

I am drawn to the mystery that surrounds you, as it also surrounds your daddy and has kept me intrigued and close by for the past twenty-six years. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see myself in you as your features and disposition are so much more from daddy’s side of the family.  Then God gave you my slender feet and a few freckles across your nose to show me you are mine too.

Yes, you are so connected to those who’ve come before you but you are very much your own little person too.  You showed us this by asking for violin lessons for over a year, when you don’t come from a particularly musical family. 

We knew we were finished having children when you were born but we didn’t realize until later how much you complete our family.  You complete us in the way you balance the family with your humor, your helpfulness and determination. You keep your brother and I grounded when we take life too seriously and you give your father a much needed ally.  I watch your willingness to try out new things in amazement.  I know you are going to be okay wherever your life takes you and it’s going to be a blast watching you get there.