A Birthday Acrostic
On this, your eighth birthday, you are the lucky recipient of a different kind of letter this year: namely, a Mommy-penned acrostic. (Why? Why not?) I hope you are able to enjoy it one thousandth as much as I have enjoyed you this year.
M – math
You have become quite the math wizard this year. You can add and subtract three digit numbers in your head, you have a fluent understanding of multiplication and division, and you remember sports statistics like no one else I’ve ever met.* Your teacher has even called me multiple times to rave on and on about what a talented math student you are.
Of course I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for finding something you love and devoting yourself to it and discovering ways to blend it with your other loves and talents. But more than being proud, I’m amazed. Astounded. Delighted that you have an ability and an affinity that I’ve never really had myself.
*And this talent is, in fact, reminiscent of someone else I’ve met. It reminds me of your great-grandfather. And every time you recall a set of stats or numbers or field goal percentages with unbelievable accuracy, I think of Great-Grandpa and his similar command of numbers and statistics.
I – independent
You have always had an independent streak. Some might say that this phrase, “independent streak,” is a euphemism, and they would be partly right. Sometimes you’re kind of a stinker. Sometimes you’re a smartassed turd burglar. Sometimes your back talk is so bad that I can’t help but quietly marvel at how good it is.
Your independence goes much deeper than your smartassery, however. You also have an independent and creative mind that allows you to solve puzzles and pursue new goals and dreams with aplomb. You have an independent spirit that gives you an extraordinary and admirable confidence. And all of this independence makes you such an interesting and wonderful kid. Lots of people love you and think that you’re amazing, and I hope that you never take this for granted.
L – locks
No, not the locks that keep doors and windows and cars closed tight. I’m talking about the locks and locks of lucious curls on top of your head.
You’ve always had curly hair–at least since you were a toddler–but it wasn’t until this year that you really insisted on growing your hair out. You have a truly gorgeous mane of hair. It’s the sort of hair that regularly inspires strangers to come up and compliment you on it. I know that you love these moments because your hair is your pride and joy. And I didn’t know how much of a pride and joy your hairstyle was until you revealed to me one of your main (if not the main) motivations for growing it out:
Mom, a couple sixth grade girls came up to me at the end of the school year to tell me that they love my hair. So I’m going to keep growing it out. Because they love it.
Because the sixth grade girls love it.
And so it begins.
E – empathy
At your age, you have an uncanny ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, to wonder about how they are feeling, to recognize when someone else needs an extra dose of compassion.
Sometimes you lose your patience with Alec, but other times you find just the right words to bring him back to a game when he’s ready to quit, to offer him encouragement when he’s feeling down, to include him when he’s feeling left out.
Sometimes you wish that Eric would stop whining, that he’d be quiet for once, but other times you focus all of your attention on him and let him guide you to whatever it is that he wants to play, and though you might not know it, you make his day with these small gestures.
You have a kind heart and a kind soul that I love so very much, my sweet boy.
S – steak
Earlier this month, your teacher asked you and your fellow students to write about something for which you are thankful. I’m pretty sure that most of your classmates wrote about friends and family and health and home. But you? You pursued a slightly different path:
I am thankful for food because I love food especially evry meat. Like steak and chicken and salami. Cause they’re juicy. I love juicy. I like other foods too but meat is my favorite. The only 2 meats I don’t like are turkey and ham.
This dissertation on juicy meat made me laugh, but it didn’t surprise me. Not one bit. Hence, for your eighth birthday, your father and I are taking you out to one of the swankiest, 1950’s style steak restaurants in town. I hope the fact that I’m forcing you to wear a nice sweater over a button-down shirt doesn’t put a damper on the filet mignon–or, if you so desire, the bacon-wrapped filet–in your future.
You’ve been a really swell kid this year, and you totally deserve a juicy steak tonight.
I love you, my joyful, curly-haired, kind-hearted math whiz.