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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dear 5 1/2 year old Owen,

Dear Owen,
You are 5 1/2 years old (well, as of about two weeks ago... I'm behind in the writing scene here!). To realize that you are not just the Big Five, but half way toward your 6th Birthday... well, that's just crazy talk. I cannot believe it. I know I say this like every six months that I can't believe how fast you're growing... but lately, it's starting to hit me. It's all happening so fast and I'm wondering where your baby and toddler years went?

You are so far from a baby these days. You are surely a big boy now. You tell us all the time, the things you can do because you're big now. It's awesome hearing the pride in your voice, as you express how much you can do, with confidence. It's what we've wanted for you all along: to realize how great, smart, capable you are. Because that is going to take you places, Mr. Man.

Daddy and I always say that with your energy and determination you are surely going to be in charge somewhere someday, a leader, a boss, a person who knows his stuff, someone who gets things done, makes things happen, and someone who others look up to. We know you will own some company or make a big difference someday. We have high hopes and we know you will not let us down. We want you to be happy, to do your thing, and always help others. Be kind and respectful, Buddy. That's above all the most important part of growing up: just be kind.

You took swimming lessons from January through May. You were nervous at first, and in May you barely could jump in the water, still, you wanted us near you, ready to catch you, sometimes even holding your hands still, even after months of trying to jump into the water, you just weren't ready.

Fast forward to July and you were a FISH in water! At lakes, the beach, pools... you were so lucky to learn this summer with all the swimming we did! You went underwater the first time and were super proud of that.

Fast forward to mid-August and you were JUMPING one after another, about 15 times in a row even, into the pool and then into the lake. It was incredible to see!

You can learn from this, Owen. You can remember this lesson: with practice comes ease and feeling comfortable. You can be great. You just have to try and let go of some of those fears and nervousness. You have to be brave and strong, like we know you to be deep down. Just trust yourself, Bud. You can do it.

You are still our little guy though, regardless of the fact that just this morning when trying on clothes I realized you outgrew not just size 6 pants but also size 7! You are now into size 8 at 5 1/2 years old. What?! Thank your Dad for those tall genes!

You are still the one teaching us everything, me and your Dad, you teach us daily how to be parents, how to figure stuff out. And thank goodness you are such a forgiving guy. You never hold it against us if we get it wrong or don't have everything figured out in this parenting realm. We appreciate you showing us the ropes and laughing along with us when it doesn't always go as planned.

You're still a pretty good brother to your little sister. Sometimes you rush up to me and whisper in my ear "She's so annoying, Mom!" Yes, it's started already. I knew it would come. And that's OK, I even told you once I thought it to be true, too! BUT. You remain her big brother and you always let her join in with you when playing trucks or with the Lego people in your bedroom that are sacred to you. You share pretty well and you let her go first sometimes. Last week when you accidentally hurt her on the ride toy you were on, you cried, feeling terrible that she'd gotten hurt. You made it up to her by giving her your toy phone, something you've held onto for months! It was sweet. I know you'll always be this way: arguing, disagreeing, and yet ALWAYS there for each other and the best of friends. I think that's pretty great.

Your smile is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I mean that. It's amazing to me.

Your entire being lights up when you smile. It's the part of you that reminds me that yes, while you look like Dad, you are ME in there. It's all me, the silly parts and the stubborn parts and the happy parts. I love it. I love being your mom.

I want you to look at this picture (below) of yourself on any day that is tough for you. Remember that this is what you look like happy, enjoying life, relaxing, rested, eating smores :)

How you got so big, I have no idea!

This summer you've grown SO much!

Being 5 1/2 means you're ready for the Big K. Kindergarten. It's coming. Just two weeks away... and you're surely counting the days.

We've talked a lot about this transition. How you won't be at preschool anymore or driving in the morning with Mommy (tears!) but rather with Dad (excitement for you!). We've talked about how great this, how much fun it'll be there, how many friends you'll make. I know you will love it so much.

You still love trucks and tools and tractors. I don't think I'll ever stop writing that. You are so a boy!

You love artwork and play doh and your sand box.

Getting dirty, driving your John Deere tractor, and swimming are your favorite things in the world these days.

You love to try new foods and tease me, proving me wrong.

You do still suck your thumb when tired, and you know, that's gotta have to go at some point, but I'm OK with the reminder that you aren't so big, you're still my little one in there sometimes.

You are inquisitive, thoughtful, determined, fierce sometimes. You have passion in there that's bursting at the seams. You are confident and ready for anything. You are going to take on this world, for sure. I know it.

Dive deep, my love.
Swim far.
Run fast.
Keep exploring and learning.

I'll be right here. Waiting for you to return, outstretched arms, ready for the embrace that I know is never far away, no matter how much you are learning and moving a little away from me, entering Kindergarten, learning to do things more and more on your own.

Remember that me, Dad and Addi are here rooting for you, hoping you do all the things you love and helping you along the way.

More than anything else: I want you to stay silly and laugh as much as you do now.

Keep laughing.

Life is tough. We've learned that this summer. Life is also short. We don't know what is in store for us.

But with you around, I KNOW laughing is what we'll be doing. I want you to remember that: just laugh it off.

We celebrated your Half Birthday with ice cream cones and playground fun. You felt so special. You even asked us to sing to you, which of course we obliged. 

Ice cream and Ninja Turtles are a few more of your favorite things these days.

You know how you're doing this growing up thing? And how I'm all good with that, right? Well, I'm also right here with you. In case you get nervous or worried or if you wonder something. In case you are not sure which way to go or what to say or do. I'm here. Always.

I took this picture by accident, with my shadow over yours. I almost deleted it... but then realized this is what parenting is all about, this is what being your Momma is all about. Not too close, but not too far away. Letting you do your thing, but standing right beside you in case you need me.

That's what being 5 1/2 is going to be all about. Being there but letting you run free.

I know you're ready. Be patient with me as I learn to be, Pal.

Climb to the top and don't be afraid to shine.

Run faster. Jump higher. Ask more questions. Yes, I said that out loud, it's OK.

"I'm a worker, Mom," you just told me, as you walked by dressed in worker man goggles and a tool belt, ready to "fix" our living room.

You are still my little guy (you learned about tools at 18 months old). I love it.

Stay kind and helpful, Bud. You always want to be the one helping out, working, being there for others, like pushing your friend on the swing.

Keep trying new things. You've done soccer a few years now, but this year, wow you SHINE! You are ready for the big leagues, Bud. It's awesome to see you so into it!

Score and laugh and just be happy, my little guy.

You are the greatest.

I am so blessed to be your Mom.

Let's have fun as we had toward your sixth birthday in February. Let's enjoy every moment, even the tough ones (like learning not to sleep every day for two hours -which we're SO thankful you've done the last 5 1/2 years!) and learning to do math and write all of your letters. Let's just be happy and laugh through it all.

You do the laughing best. Thanks for showing the rest of us how to love life like you do.

Your Mama

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