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Friday, February 15, 2013

A Letter to my Son

Dear Atticus,

You've been a good sport the last few months, kid. I've got to hand it to you: you've shared your time well with your new baby brother and haven't tried to smother him with a pillow once. You've even gone so far as to comfort him when he cries. This shows an empathy and kindness that I would guess many 2-year-olds are lacking. Keep this up. These qualities will get you much farther in life than most are willing to admit, and it makes the world a better place.

My admiration of these qualities has encouraged me to write you a letter that you will hopefully read in the future (you can't read yet, sorry. While you are a genius child, you are only two. Give it another year). I want to tell your future self who you were and how this translated into the dreams we have for you. You likely won't remember much from this age, so I'm offering to document it for you. I know. I'm an awesome mom. Please remember this as your angst-ridden 17-year-old self reads this. I'm sure this teenage version of you is glowering over a recent decision I made to ruin your life, so here's documented proof that I love you, even if I don't want you hanging out with that kid who's repeating 10th grade for the third time and smells like a Phish concert. But I digress...

Here's a glimpse at who you are at two-and-a-half and why it makes you awesome:

You love cars
Your obsession with all things with wheels shows dedication to the things that inspire you. Nevermind the fact that I'm constantly stepping on matchbox Ferraris and that if I have to hear the theme song to Disney's Cars 2 one more time, I might get in my own vehicle and drive it off a cliff (don't worry, the closest cliff is far enough away from Houston to give me time to reevaluate this decision).  Your love of cars, trucks, and trains is truly endearing and shows just how much you are like your father. His own collection of vehicles over the years shouldn't surprise you, as the apple never falls far from the tree. My guess is that this love will continue throughout your life and your eyes will always light up at a passing fire engine. I hope so. There's something very special about seeing the boy still alive in the man, no matter how old he may be.

You love music
Your discerning taste in music began early. As a music snob myself, this makes me immeasurably proud. I can't have you listening to the top 40 crap they play on the radio. I just won't have it. So we exposed you to a wide array of quality tunes from infancy, and it's paid off. You are probably the youngest child to have a full-sized drum set in your room and we are counting the days until we can enroll you in music classes so you can begin creating your own sound. My hope is that you are reading this while taking a break from band rehearsal. And as your father can attest, your first band will be terrible. I mean, really, really awful. But we will go to your first concert (which will likely be in our garage) and try to be unassuming while taking lots of pictures. But despite your rough beginnings, stick with it. Nothing worth doing comes easy. You don't have to be famous, just happy enough with your talent to allow music to be like therapy. You know I rarely play for an audience, but my guitar is a source of comfort. Let music be that for you, too.

You are remarkably coordinated
You've always been a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to motor skills. You learned to walk before your first birthday and haven’t slowed down since. You can throw and catch with impressive precision and have been refusing help on the rock wall at the playground for months now. You adore your gymnastics classes and show promise as an athlete. I will push you to try team and solo sports alike because physical activity is important. What you chose to take seriously is in your hands. I will not be the crazy mom who screams obscenities at the ref who makes a bad call against you, but I will be present to support and defend you when you need it, and back off when you prefer to go it alone. All I ask is that you remember to stay active and take pride in your health. Remember that heart disease runs in your family, so go easy on the bacon double-cheeseburgers.

You are sensitive
Your teacher says that you, and I quote, "have the soul of a poet." This is a quite a statement to make about a two-year-old, but I think it speaks volumes about who you are. I often find you quietly taking in your surroundings and cautiously determining your next move.  You have a tendency to be scared of new things, but you always give it a go in the end. This is ok. I applaud your kindness, but there will be people who see it as weakness. Don't let them change you. Seriously, that bully with the hot girlfriend might make your life hell as a teenager, but fifty bucks says he endures a series of failed marriages and becomes an alcoholic before he's 30. Celebrate your sensitivity. It's rare for a man to be in touch with his emotions, and women love a man who can cry and laugh and rage at the right moments. But don't allow that sensitivity to get in the way of living. Don't take things too personally, and definitely don't allow people to take advantage of you. It might take some time to master the balance; when in doubt, emulate your father. He is the perfect man.

You are intelligent
I know every mom thinks her kid is smart, but I'm a realist and would admit if you weren't (not to your face or the internet...I'm not a monster). But you are brilliant. You remember seemingly insignificant details from events that happened weeks ago. You notice things, like a teeny-tiny picture of a train from across a crowded store, that would have gone undetected to most people. You have memorized your favorite books and can recite them aloud. And you make connections that shock and amaze your entire family, given your young age. And this scares the bejeesus out of me because you are already showing signs of manipulation. It's too soon for this! Too soon! You must use your brain powers for good, not evil, young Jedi. And you must hone your intelligence and continue to seek knowledge. See the value of books and never use the movie as an acceptable substitution. Don't be afraid to ask questions (and keep in mind that if you ask your teacher a question that she's already answered 30 times, she will roll her eyes at your lack of attention. It doesn't mean stop asking questions. It does mean stop daydreaming about that pretty girl in Biology).

We love you, dear Atticus. We gave you a name that would be intentionally hard to live up to. Atticus Finch is the greatest literary character of all time because he represented courage, intelligence, and compassion in a time and place when these qualities were hard to find. When people learn your name, they will expect this from you, too.

As my favorite oldest son, I know you won't disappoint.



1 comment:

  1. This ist absolutely beautiful. I´m really happy for you and your lovely children.
    (sorry for my english - it´s not perfect.)