It’s hard to believe that six years ago I was being admitted to the hospital to prepare to welcome you into this world. All five pounds of YOU. Our little bundle born in a cozy Auckland hospital room, took your first steps in our little bungalow in Highland Park, had your first swim in the salty seas and have taken more airplane rides than many. One of your first words was ‘guitar’ [dee-ta] and you’ve loved music since the womb.
And tomorrow you turn S I X! As I look back I can’t believe that six years have passed; the good, the bad and the ugly all woven together to create this point in time, our here and now. This journey of parenthood is like no other task I’ve ever attempted. Trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn amidst all the advice everyone gives you can be a tricky task, something that I think takes a lifetime to navigate. The dos and dont’s, they why’s and why not’s and all the in-betweens. Breastfeeding, sleep, solids, bumps and bruises, first words, tantrums, emotions, discipline, understanding, compromise, lack of sleep, schedules, babysitters, pre-school, school, daycare, family, friends ….the whole gamut. And that’s all just before you started kindergarten!? Now we have to throw in teachers, school code of conduct, bullies, name-calling, confidence, more questions, overwhelm, overtired, letting go, freedom and discovery.
As I watch you grow up I’m in awe of who you are becoming. A little boy so sure of some things and so unsure of others. You dream big of being an Engineer and a member of U2 and I do nothing but encourage you.
You are unsure what to think of those that make fun of your long rock ‘n roll hair and then question your appearance, wanting to change it for the sake of pleasing others. Oh, it’s so hard. Teaching you to shine for who you are, and grasping your confidence through those wavering moments, not changing to please others, a task I’m still trying to master myself to this day so I really hope I can teach you that it doesn’t matter what others think. Then I hear you head to the drums and play along to U2 or the Foo Fighters, shaking your head fully engaged in the music that moves your soul and I know that you have it, your confidence is there, it just needs gentle guidance and reassurance, kinda like I do. Being six can be hard….but you’re rocking it.
And being a parent to a six year old?! That’s a whole other story.
There are days where I’m not sure I can play another game of monster trucks or build another set of Lego. But I do. There are days where my patience is tested and I don’t have the answers or the energy and times when the 5 am wake up calls get the best of me. There are days where I find myself full or worry or tears or the what ifs and my mind gets the best of me. But then, oh but then….there are the days where we laugh so hard we cry over the silliest things. There are days where we play outside until dusk, squeezing in every last moment of fresh air before we cozy up in bed and read story after story. There are days where we adventure and dream of seeing the world and days where we never leave each other’s side. There are days where I watch from a distance as you chat to a friend or tell a waiter all about your school or your band and I listen to how you talk to people. Your kind heart envelops me and reminds me that life through the eyes of a six year old is sometimes the best way to look at things. The wonder, the naivety, the awe. It’s compelling and crazy all wrapped up with a big shiny bow.
And as you continues to grow you say ….”one day I’ll be seven, then eight, then nine, then ten and even eleven Mom!!” I’ll be there at your side encouraging you to dream big and be whatever you want to be. I’ll keep telling you that you are brave and bold and strong and beautiful. I’ll always remind you to be who you feel you want to be and that’s the perfect choice. I’ll embrace your inner rock star, your compassionate heart and your kind hands and I’ll never let them go.
Six years ago I was given a wonderful gift. My Jack Alexander, oh how I love you. Happy Birthday son.
You rock my world.
I love you to the moon and back and forever in between.