Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To My 1st on (actually one day after) Your 10th

Dear John,

Yesterday you crossed over into double digits.  I'm still 28 of course, but somehow you are ten.  Never again after this year can you count your age on your hands.  Toes will need to be involved, and I have seen your toes, and this is not a good thing.

This is my 10th letter to you.  The first one included a minute count of how long I had known you (525,600 minutes) and a Broadway tune.  I fear this one may not hold a candle.

We have been celebrating your birthday over the last two weekends -- one fun day with friends at Nashville Shores and another weekend with The Paternals, one of whom made an apple pie (your request), which you scarfed almost singlehandedly in a matter of two days.

I really don't have a plan for this letter.  I want to write down some things that you're doing these days and might let that be my overarching theme, lame as it is.  You love that word lame, by the way.

Right now you are obsessed with Legos, soccer, and your "Clan" that lives in my phone.  I get automatic messages all day to update how your clan is doing while you're away.  "Xiangyong1988 has just raided your village!"  or "The troops are ready to attack!" or "Our arsenal of supplies is almost empty, chief, WHERE ARE YOU?"  I'm quite sure this sucks my battery down, but I can't bring myself to delete the app because you enjoy it so much.  (And also, I can get you to do basically anything if I threaten to delete it.)

You waxed political yesterday, comparing America's wars in other countries to youth travel sports teams -- they never fight it out on their home turf.  I thought that was pretty brilliant, but on the other hand you've been bringing home Ds and Fs in social studies, so who knows?  (Side note:  I secretly like that you're getting bad grades because it forces me to practice Spanish in order to help you get better.  I am so proud of my new knowledge of 4th grade geological terms en Espanol -- suela, meteorizacion, formas de rocas, etc.).  I will enjoy it much less when the homework is in English, so please do try to improve and/or consistently attend a Spanish immersion school.

You're still taking piano lessons although this will probably be the last year.  I told you last year that you could quit when you get to middle school because you would be playing a band instrument at that time.  You have your heart set on the saxophone.  I guess I have to be OK with that.  It's just that you're good, JB.  You have an ear for it.  I think your foot for soccer and arm for baseball are great too, but those have nothing to do with me, and son, here's the deal: Soon you will learn that it all has to do with me, unfortunately.  I want to see you shine BOTH in activities that I pursued AND in things that I could never fathom.  I want to live vicariously through you.  I want you to do all of the things I did, and out-perform me.  It's not even a lot to ask, love.  It's just you at your best.

Too bad there's that whole HOMEWORK thing.  It is really holding us you back.

Let's discuss our time in the car, JB.  What is this calling cars thing?  You and your brother do it both individually and collectively while I drive you all to various extracurriculars.  "Oooooh!  Call that mustang!"  or "Oh yeah, call that monster truck."  or "OOoh yeah baby -- that motorcycle is mine." (An important unnoticed fact here is that we live in a city where we see sports cars, motorcycles, and monster trucks driving around daily -- how many other cities can brag about that?)  My most important question is this: Why is it important to call cars/trucks when you're the only one who sees/wants them (e.g., when it's just me and you in the car and Sam is with your dad? --  I drive and wonder about these things.)

John-John -- you know that we love you by now.  But do you also know that we like you most of the time too?  You have matured into a lovable, hard-working, funny kiddo about whom we are more than proud.

I am especially interested in your athletic talents (but would also love it if you tried, say, theater or ballet), but all of you is pretty cool at this point, JB. You seem to be learning yourself and applying that knowledge to good decision making about the choices that you/we make.  I feel proud to be part of Team John, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

You are loved, liked, respected, (catered to, not that it matters), and honored ...

With all my hugs and love,