Monday, May 5, 2014

Dear Noah :: 8 years

Dear Noah,
I've been trying hard not to be amazed that you're eight. Every year your birthday surprises me - not that another year has passed but that you're actually X years old! So I've been trying to think that this is normal - of course you're eight now. After all, you were born eight years ago and all that. But it's still hard to get my head around. It feels like you've been here forever, but then it's hard to remember the baby you were and fit that into the person you are now ... except, of course that baby turned into you. It's all very mixed up.

So you're eight and I still feel like I'm not that much older than eight. But then I think of how old my mom seemed when I was eight and she was almost the age I am now. So I know you see me as a grownup even if I don't always feel like a grownup. And then I can see in you that it's not too long until you'll be feeling this way too ... except, you'll only be 16 when you have 8 more years on you. Only 16. Ugh. I can't imagine! And yet, I'm excited to see you grow and mature.

The cool thing is, I get to see you every single day. Every 4-6 weeks you go to Grammy and Grampy's and I'm always surprised when you return, somehow bigger and more mature. But generally your growing and maturing is so very gradual because we hang out every day. Just like when you were a baby, you don't need much sleep. So you stay up late listening to Mommy or Daddy read (recently more Daddy because he's reading the never-ending Redwall series and you love it). Sometimes you stay up and we play boardgames instead or watch a movie. And like when you were a baby you still love to snuggle. So really, you haven't changed much, I suppose. Except, you talk some and you have figured out running, walking, biking, swimming - that sort of thing. Oh, and fine motor skills - that you'd like to use strictly for video game playing and detest writing of any sort ever.

You're a pretty awesome big brother, but you are passionate about your books, legos, boardgames, and your alone time (or also known as "thinking time"). You'll pick up the baby, ride down the driveway on bikes with your sisters, being sure everyone waits for the preschooler who runs in the grass beside the drive. You'll also let them all know in uncertain terms when you've had enough.
I never realized that you ate much. You're the first kid, so you set the precedent. If you eat an elephant every other day, then that's just our normal. Last summer you spent the night with friends while we did an out-of-state wedding. When we picked you up they said that they knew why we started farming - to feed you! I was a little shocked. I didn't think you ate much. But they were right. I think you'd gone through five peppers over the 15 hours or so you were with them. Apparently that's not typical.

If the world was precisely how you want it, you'd choose constant video game playing. I really don't think you'd stop for anything. No bathrooming, showers, clothing changes, eating, reading, or sleeping. You live and breathe and obsess video games. You save what little money you have for video games. You talk video games. You live video games. You are video games. So we set limits which is a big heartache for everyone. But when you are all video-game, you turn into a video-game-monster. You notice this about yourself and we all agree that you feel much better when you have a mix of life instead of all one thing.

A year ago you could barely read. Now you're sneaking away to lose yourself in the magic of Harry Potter or on a pirate ship or a treehouse or wherever. While I try to be as enthusiastic for your passion for videogames, it really warms my heart when you share your latest read in an animated fashion.
Speaking of warming my heart - when you carry the baby, hold the preschooler's hand, wrestle with the almost-kindergartner, or snuggle in with Del to read together, I just think I might melt into a proud warm mommy puddle. I always wanted younger siblings (okay, I have three - but they don't count as younger, I don't think, because they hardly are any younger) so I love seeing you enjoy your role as a big brother.

Recently I realized you're living my dream life. You're on a farm with not just one dog - but THREE with a whole bunch of siblings and a pretty free range life. But even if that's what I think is ideal - it's not necessarily what you think is ideal! So I'm curious to see if you decide to live in a city eating fast food and making a big salary. I can't really imagine my introverted, compassionate, stubborn, thoughtful kid doing that - but maybe!

I can't wait to see what the next year brings. We're all excited about the never-ending-winter finally showing signs of letting up. So camping adventures are on the brain as well as swimming lessons and eventually soccer! Our winter hibernation has been long, but it makes the summer more sweet. The older you get, the more homeschooling seems normal and I forget that it's not everyone's normal. And then at other times I am reminded that having an 8-year-old out and about in the middle of the day during the week is not the norm. But it's working for us - and mostly working for you and I'm so glad we get more time with you during your childhood.

I love you always,

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