Hudson, on your 8th birthday, there is so much tell you.
I want to tell you first that I think that you might be one of the most interesting people I have ever met. You are quiet and reserved, and I can actually see you thinking. You think far more than you speak; which is a trait that I am jealous of because I am the exact opposite.
What I also want to tell you, Hudson, on your 8th birthday, is that our relationship is something that I never expected. When you’re preparing as a young adult to have children, you never really think of the fact that your babies are actually going to grow up. I never thought while I was pregnant with you… “hmm… I wonder what he will be like when he is 8 years old?” My brain skipped from imagining changing your diapers to sending you off to college. The in-between never really occurred to me. So, now that I’m here… in the in-between with you… I am astounded at how much I like you. I know this sounds weird, Hudson, but I never really imagined what it would feel like when you really started to become your own person.
I have spent the last several years cutting your grapes in half and potty training you. Teaching you how to tie your shoes and pour your own milk on your cereal, but we’re passed all of that now. Now, I hear myself teaching you about kindness, respect, gratitude and love. I’m teaching you how to care for your classmates, and protect your little brothers at all costs. I have to tell you, Hudson, that you are coming along as a human quite nicely, and I’m not sure that your Dad and I can take all of the credit for that, because it seems as though you are figuring things out far faster than we are teaching them to you. It is a given that I love you with a mad, fierce love… but it is a huge bonus that I really really like you.
Before I end this letter to you… (because… holy crap, you can read really well now, and you’re actually going to read this… ) I want to document something that happened in your class the other day. I know that you still remember this story because it was just a few days ago, but I want this memory to sear into your upbringing. I want you to lock this memory away, and be able to access it for years and years to come.
You hopped into our car the other day after school, and you promptly requested $3 for school the next day. This was the first time you had ever come to me to ask for money. You understand the concept of money, but you have shown no interest in actually collecting any of your own money yet, so this caught me off-guard. I asked you what you wanted this money for, and you said that you wanted to buy three Gobble Grams for school. One for you and one for your brothers. I smiled, and thought that you were the most adorable 2nd grader, and how could I have been so lucky to have you?
The next day, I gave you $20 because I was coming to school with you for your book fair, and I told you that you could keep the change for your Gobble Grams. You had $4 left over, and you tucked it safely into your backpack with excitement.
When I picked you back up later in the afternoon, you had a Gobble Gram with you, but you only had one. I asked you if you got two more for your brothers, and you told me no because they were limiting the purchase of Gobble Grams to only one. I immediately thought that you had purchased the Gobble Gram you were carrying for yourself… but for the first time, though, you elaborated further. You rarely ever tell me more than one or two sentences, so I listened intently. You told me that your friend had actually bought you the Gobble Gram that you had now. So, of course, I became confused, and asked if you bought any Gobble Grams, to which you answered that you had decided to buy a Gobble Gram for one of your classmates, Holly. This struck me as very odd because I had never heard this girl’s name from your class but, I kept listening, and what I heard next welled my eyes with proud tears.
You told me that your classmate Holly had received a Gobble Gram, but her older brother had thrown it over the fence, and she was really sad that she didn’t have one. So, you gave the only one you were allowed to purchase to her so that she wouldn’t be sad anymore. The other friend in your class saw that you gave her your Gobble Gram, and then he repaid the kindness to you and bought you one. If, my son, you learn nothing more during this life, I can feel confident in knowing that you have learned to care for others, and that you are going to go far in this world.
So, Hudson, on your 8th birthday, I would like to tell you that I love you. I like you. And I wholeheartedly respect the person you are becoming.
(Photo Credit: Rachel Solomon Photography)