Dear future love of our little boy’s life,
We tell our children they may or may not choose to marry someone when they grow up. But if they do choose marriage, they should wait at least 20 years before settling down completely to adult responsibilities like spouses and children. And writing this to you now is not my way of announcing I have some terrible, terminal illness. Rather, this boy, whom you may one day fall in love with, is strong willed, sensitive, endearing AND really challenging us as parents. So, I’ve started to imagine how these traits will translate as an adult friend and life partner. The result is this letter to you; thank you for reading, even if at this writing, you are only in elementary school.
Today, he is 7 and loves his turtle pillow, puppy blanket, snakes, bug catcher, sharks, the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, cheese doodles, and all things related to birds of prey. One day, he will love you. God willing, I’ll still be of sound mind when he brings you home to meet the parents, but given the state of our world and how quickly life changes, I thought I would cover some ground this way just in case.
Today, at 7, he says he “maybe” will go to college, just maybe, but only one which is next door to our house, currently called the University of Next Door. He cannot imagine living away from our family and home; in fact, the other day, his little sister and I were daydreaming aloud about what it would be like to move to a bigger place, and he anxiously interrupted, “But, Mom, we are little house people.” And so we are…
His 7 year old bedroom is painted yellow, and his ceiling is peaked instead of cubed with four regular walls. He treasures an American flag painted in hand prints from preschool, a poster of the Ringling Brothers Circus, a GIANT brass eagle, an even bigger eagle tapestry, and various forms of his name sent from different countries in Asia from when his auntie lived in Hong Kong.
When he isn’t “thinking something over” or serving time (which is happening more now than ever) in his yellow, eagle adorned bedroom, chances are he is climbing a tree in the back yard, biking our neighborhood daring to be dangerous at any available moment for shock value, manhandling bugs in his bug sucker upper or fishing in our pond. This kid loves to fish, and I hope he will continue as he grows up as it was the first activity he and his dad, who uses a wheelchair, were able to bond over. Well, the first one after napping of course. He was a really good napper as a baby and still plays so hard outside he often asks to go to bed, sometimes even before the sun goes down. However, one of his first sentences as a toddler who would not sleep past 4:45 AM for many years was, “The sun is up, so I am up.” And once he was up, he was really up.
Fortunately, at school, he is very well behaved, listens well, and adores his teachers. His charm and blue-eyed twinkle make him very lovable. Although, there was that one time he got into some trouble for screaming, “Shit” at the top of the playground snow mound, not at anyone– just to hear himself yelling, “Shit” as loud as he could. However, we have moved beyond the swear words (and middle fingers) we hope, now embracing reading and music in addition to math, his first academic love.
I can assure you he is a deeply passionate little boy about EVERYTHING and currently hides nothing; his emotions especially nowadays run very hot, sometimes disrespectfully so, which is why he is spending so much time in his bedroom, exiled from fun. It’s more for his own protection than anything, or I’m afraid I might kill him. But this little fellow already gives the BEST hugs with his strong frame and man sized paws; I can only imagine how fiercely he will love you and his friends in the years to come who will share his love of adventure or “not being safe” as he calls it now; who will be loyal and loving and laugh a lot. I know he will be a good friend and partner one day.
Seven has been the hardest year yet– way tougher than 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1 when he tricked us by being the happiest, chubbiest, most loved little boy on this earth. But if I survive his childhood and adolescence, I may just get to love a really wonderful man and watch him fall in love with you. If we’ve done our jobs well enough as parents, with a whole ton of luck thrown in, then, as a partner, he will demonstrate respect through his words and actions; be an empathetic listener; share the load of responsibility; find balance, gratitude, and humor in work and family; and spend a lot of time outdoors with you finding adventure, and maybe, when or if the time is ever right, create a family of your own.
Until then, I’m going to continue to count to ten, take deep breaths, and remember his strong will and sense of adventure cannot kill me; I repeat, cannot kill me. Breathe.
Your future love’s mother