It has come to my attention that a certain young man of my acquaintance turned seven today. Seven. Do you remember when I announced I was pregnant? (And that brilliant April Fools Day joke when I announced he was a twin – one of my finest moments!) Do you remember that infant? That burbling, drooly baby? That pudgy toddler? That captivating preschooler? That wide-eyed Kindergartner? They have all faded into memory, history, and the pictures I still intend to scrapbook. Maybe. Someday. And in their place stands a shoulder-high, clear-headed, compassionate child: closer to puberty than birth.
Oh, my son Grey. My brilliant and beloved child. How to capture at this point in time who you are? You can play complex games using strategy. You go totally emo whenever you’re tired or thwarted. Today you did not blow out all the candles on your birthday cake. You left one for each other child who came to the party – so they could blow some out too. You let your brother open your birthday presents because he is three. Every day when we pick you up, you say in a sing-song voice, “What’s for DIN-er?” And, tired from a hard day and hard learning, you will melt down into complete grumpitude if the answer is not to your liking. You listen to Kiss 108 whenever you can, and know all the words to all the top 20 hits. At night, when I ask you what you want to ask God for, you answer, “Peace, no war, kindness, compassion, responsibility, respect and citizenship.” You eat all the marshmallows out of Lucky Charms and eat none of the charms. You love to read Order of the Stick and Calvin and Hobbes. You try to do your homework fast instead of well. You wept bitter, wracking tears when your cat died. You always try to talk me into staying in your room and snuggling you when I put you to bed. Often you are successful by opening up the black box of your day and telling me about the rich, complex life you live at school and afterschool. You label anyone who wrongs you a bully. You love your brother and help and tolerate him far more than an older sibling should be expected to – even when he steps on your toys and bothers the bejeesus out of you.
And man, do you love Legos. Screens are losing their hold on you (kind of) as Legos and books take more of your mindshare. All you wanted for this birthday, with your allowance, in general was Legos and more Legos. You are – without a doubt – better at assembling Legos than I am. One of the key ways you’ve been getting in trouble lately is by bringing Legos to school because you are desperate to share with your fellow afficionados. Today, you made one small Lego set in twenty minutes. Right now you are in your room doing a massive set intended for kids twice your age. It was the set you picked out. After long and careful thought, you did not choose Lego Monster, or Lego Star Wars, or Lego Castle, or Lego Super Heroes (which your brother did pick), or Lego Ninjago (which I thought you would), or even Lego City. You picked
You said it was because it had girl mini-figs and you didn’t have any girl mini-figs. It’s hard to tell a story without girls in it. I never, in all the things in the store, never would have guessed that you wanted this one.
Oh, my Grey. You are full of surprises. You’re no perfect child – by any means. But the goodness and kindness of your heart make me the proudest parent I could be. The keenness of your mind and your surprising emotional insights make you an interesting person to be around, even at seven. I love you. I can’t wait to see who you grow to be, my Grey.