I am writing to you on the eve of your sixth birthday. We (and by that I mean ME) have managed to recuperate from your sixth birthday party. Daddy wondered if we could have suffered PTSD—that’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—-after the event. I think you have been scheming and planning it since about 360 days ago. A week after your fifth birthday party, Daddy slept out in a tent with you and let you watch Star Wars.
And later that same Memorial Day weekend, you watched the Trilogy, the classics. Next came the later movies—-numbers 1, 2 and 3. And of course the Clone Wars couldn’t be forgotten. These are all things that seriously mean nothing to me. I just don’t get Star Wars. But you?!? You adore it. You are obsessed with it and so, like many other things in our family’s life, we got on board. We were characters from Star Wars for Halloween.
It was incorporated into our Christmas card, with a political twist.
Then came February and your Valentine’s were obviously….Star Wars themed.
And then your sixth party—-Star Wars wasn’t an option (although you began to think Lion King after attending the musical with Mommy in December in San Francisco).
This whole Star Wars obsession is quite the metaphor for you, sweet boy. You certainly don’t pussy foot through life. You commit yourself. You become singularly focused. You study. You draw. You build, create and plan.
You attempt to bring others along for the ride. We’re still working on how to let this leadership bug shine in the right way—-people don’t really want to follow a dictator-like leader. So, our prayer for you, Alex, is that you use these passions, loves and creativity to bring others alongside you. To look outwards and see those who need to find something that lights them up. Maybe point them to it? To exude joy and share that.
It hasn’t been an easy year. We butt heads like the true Taurus we both are. We both are stubborn and like to assume our way is best. So daily, we get to practice patience with each other. Opportunities to stop, slow down, listen and truly seek to communicate and hear each other’s HEARTS. That is hard work. It isn’t fun and often we storm off in frustration.
I know that patience is not an easy skill to learn. We talk about it a lot. It can be as simple as waiting for a treat until after dinner. Or enduring until the grandparents’ next visit. Maybe patience requires slowly moving through a chapter book to hear what ends up happening to Henry Huggins or enduring until Star Wars Episode VII finally premieres. Today the sermon at church was on patience and they included one of my favorite quotes from Henri Nouwen from his book Bread for the Journey.
How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is no like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.
The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior, which means “to suffer.” Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.
So, buddy….let’s say that you and I pledge to work on this patience skill, even when it means suffering. I know that the secret to sucking the marrow out of life and every moment, “tasting it to the full” and growing into “strong plants” takes slowing down, enduring together and being present in the moment.
Year Five has been a RIDE. You started Kindergarten, learned to sound out words and began reading. You have made many new friends this year, entered a new school setting and met a teacher you adore and love. We got to test out your new sleeping bag from last year’s birthday on our camping trip and enjoyed numerous trips to the beaches in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. You became a SF Giants affectionado and enjoyed rooting for the team as they won the World Series last fall. You became a confident and eager bike rider, a LEGO devotee and obviously, a boy with a one-track, Star Wars mind.
Addition and subtraction started to rule conversation. I began to see your love for process—–not for completing the perfect LEGO creation and stopping, but rather, enjoying the building itself, the visioning and constructing.
You have made many new friends this year, entered a new school setting and met a teacher you adore and love. We got to test out your new sleeping bag from last year’s birthday on our camping trip and enjoyed numerous trips to the beaches in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. You became a SF Giants affectionado and enjoyed rooting for the team as they won the World Series last fall. You became a confident and eager bike rider, a LEGO devotee and obviously, a boy with a one-track, Star Wars mind.
As year six unfolds we look forward to the adventures ahead—-knowing they will be all the louder, more memorable and growth-filled with you along for the ride. Know that even in the harder moments, dear first child of mine, I love your heart and zeal for life more than you know. It gives my life foundation and meaning and even on hard days, it is a gift to be your mom.
Happy Sixth Birthday, Al-Bug!
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