Just a quick little check-in this morning while you’re all busy at camp taking nature walks and playing in sprinklers and learning how to shoot with bows and arrows.*
*Archery is the Nibbit’s favorite camp activity… being as he ONLY wanted a bow and arrows for Christmas last year, I’d say at least he’s consistent, if not totally, scarily violent.
Hasn’t this summer been AWESOME so far?
I wanted to tell you that I’ve been watching you the past few weeks… really seeing you… and I’m kind of amazed by you guys!
Happy Dude, you are a really, really big kid now. You do almost everything by yourself – get dressed, brush your teeth, go the bathroom, even SWIM (with a vest, but still).
This is the first summer that Daddy and I don’t have to rock/paper/scissor over who’s going in the pool with you guys! And you know what’s happened? We usually both WANT to swim , because now it’s actually fun. Sure, you all become complete barnacles in the water but playing pool games is so much more fun than being a mere flotation device for a baby.
(Side note: I could write a whole post on Moms avoiding swimming because of body issues and fear of bathing suits, but I won’t. First of all, because it’s already been done well, like here and here and second of all, because this summer, I’m just saying, “eff it, who cares, just swim” and that would be a really short blog post.)
Let me be super clear HD, you will always be the baby of this family. I still scoop you up and squeeze your little legs and tickle you too much. In fact, I’ve been doing it more often because I know my “scooping you up” days are numbered. Your brother and sister still pick up your slack when it comes to cleaning up dinner dishes or toys. And you’ll always get away with things a tiny bit more than they did. And that’s just what it means to be the baby. Take it from me dude, next time you feel sad that you can’t go on the camp bus with LO and the Nib because you’re “only free-and-a-half,” remember that you’re lucky to be the youngest.
But the more you play the same games as the big kids, and ride your new big boy bike and put on your own shoes and explain things to be with your little earnest face searching for the proper words (“how does that say it again?”), the more I see the baby days slipping away.
Nibbit, let me talk to you for a second. On April 25, 2013, I wrote you this letter. You and I, we were in kind of a bad place back then. And by that, I mean, you were really acting like a jerk and I was spending a lot of my time trying not to completely lose my … it.
Well, what a difference 15 months makes. Aside from the many references to “poopy diapers” you make each day, you have become quite the delight, which really gives credibility to the phrase “this too shall pass.” Because let me tell you, I was NOT sure that “that too was going to pass.” At some point, I started questioning whether it was, indeed, a phase or if you were, in fact, just kind of an a-hole. Turns out, you’re AWESOME!
Let me tell you this story. A couple of months ago, you asked for a specific Spiderman Lego set that you had seen online. I told you that you should put it on your birthday list, but you weren’t thrilled about that because as you said, “My birthday is sooooo far away!” (True.) You asked me if there was any way you could earn the Lego set so we struck up a deal. You could earn points by being extra helpful around the house; each point was worth 50¢. You needed 24 points for that Lego set and you were determined to do it. Cleaning, helping HD, yard work… you did it all.
You finally earned your Lego set this weekend (which unbeknownst to you, I had already ordered and received) and I was worried that when we gave it to you, you would be disappointed… because the box was TINY. It was so small and you had worked so hard. I thought you were expecting one of those huge Lego kits and this was … not. But Daddy gave it to you and you LOVED it. You immediately put the Spiderman car together and have been playing with it since.
You even let HD have a turn, but of course, you reminded him to, “… be gentle with it, HD… I worked hard to get this.” And then you asked me if you could keep earning points for more Legos.
Um, yeah. You can.
Lastly, I’ve been watching you, Loud One. We spent that first week of your summer together with no plans and I loved every minute – hiking, making art, getting a manicure, baking… you are seriously good company now.
I’ve been watching you read big books by yourself and loving your first book club meeting. I’ve watched you write more elaborate stories, fleshing out characters and perfecting illustrations. I’ve watched you analyze your birthday party options to maximize celebration time. (I respect that.)
And I’ve watched you try so many new things this summer with no hesitation. “New camp? Sure, I’ll try it. I won’t know anybody? No problem, I’ll make new friends.”
And then I see you with those new friends… at a birthday party or at the beach, fearlessly collecting crabs and snails in a bucket, which is NOT unusual, but interacting with these peers in a way that seems so different to me – it’s a “I’m figuring out who I am and I don’t need any intervention from you, Mom” kind of way.
You’re all growing up. I can’t stand it! Just kidding. (Not really.)
You know, we all have to do this, guys. We all have to figure out who we want to be – for ourselves and for the people we want to surround ourselves with. We make choices about what we say and how we act and those choices dictate the types of relationships we have with our friends and family. That’s not to say you should EVER be someone you’re not, for the sake of someone else. It means you SHOULD be your best self and as a result, you will attract other best selves and therefore, you’ll always be surrounded by good, honest, kind people who will have your back.
That barely makes sense to me, so if you’re reading this before you turn 42, I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to you, but just trust me.
In the meantime, let’s keep loving summer. You guys keep playing Wrestle Baby, although now that you’ve added kicking and slapping to the mix, it’s only allowed upstairs where I can’t see it. Keep playing spies and ninjas and sports guys and superheroes and pet store. Keep swimming and jumping off diving boards and higher diving boards. Keep playing made-up games involving crashing cars and brave knights. Keep drawing and writing and making art. Keep exploring the backyard and the beach and keep learning to ride bigger bikes. Keep up all the good kid work.
And most importantly, keep being good to each other.
Love you to googolplex,