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Today You Are Eight

Dear Joshua,

Today you are eight. I’ve had eight whole years of being your mom, and I gotta tell you, those eight years have been pretty fantastic.

I mean, sure, we’ve had some seriously not fantastic moments (like that time you locked me out of the house and I broke down the door to get to you) but life is sort of that way. Things will be great and trucking along beautifully and then WHAM! Something not fantastic happens.

What matters is what you do after that. How you respond to adversity is everything.

Losing a game becomes an opportunity to learn and improve. Fighting with a friend becomes a moment to understand how our actions and words are so important. Facing tough situations means gaining chances to do better the next time.

I want you to know you can take those opportunities head on. Sometimes they’ll be discouraging, and being discouraged is okay. We just can’t sit there and dwell in it. We have to “rub some dirt on it” and figure out another way.

I hope that’s something you’re learning.

Adversity will happen. There’s no getting around it. Your dad and I can work to make this life as seamless for you as possible, but we wouldn’t be teaching you very much if we did that.

What we want is for you to be resilient. And kind. Kindness first, no matter what. No matter how hard it is.

And we want you to be safe.

It’s our job as your parents to love you to pieces and to protect you from harm. Sometimes I know that seems like we’re keeping you from fun, but–and I know this isn’t really a lesson you’re ready to learn–it’s because we’ve seen it before. Experience has been our teacher and we’re trying to be yours.

I know we can’t keep you safe forever. We’re fast approaching that period in your life when you’ll shift from asking us questions to asking your friends. I hope you’ll always trust us enough to know that you can come to us with anything, even when it’s really uncomfortable.

When I turned 35 last week, I didn’t feel any older than I did a decade ago. But when you turned 8 this morning, the last decade of my life seemed to whiz right past.

In one glimpse I can see your birth and your future all at once, and man, is that a bright future.

When you decide to love something, you go all in, and you learn everything you can about the topic. Your dad is like that. It’s why, even though I don’t understand a thing about Pokémon except which ones are cute, I love watching the two of you play.

You two have this shared passion for knowing…stuff. I won’t hate it if you apply that desire to know stuff to a desire to practice your handwriting, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Anyway, that’s going to be an asset one day. It already is, really.

I’m so proud of you, my best boy. Each day I get to be your mom is a good one, even when it’s not a good day.

You and your sister have been my greatest gifts and I hope you always know how much I love you.


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