You are nine! What?!?! This ride with you seems to be going by at lightning speed. You have reminded me that this is the last year for single digits birthdays and next year your age is double digits. Just when you think we have had a great year with you, son, we are blessed with another great year with memories to last a lifetime.
This year you completed second grade and learned so much. You like to use big words now like “onomatopoeia” and “equity” and you are shocked that Dad and I know what they mean. You continued to excel at math and you perfected your reading skills with hard work. You say that the government is making you learn to read and it should not tell you what to do because it is a free country. We have a deal that when you turn 40 if you do not want to thank me for making you learn how to read than I will pay you $500. I really hope you either thank me, forget that deal altogether, or maybe we can settle at $250. You were super proud of your first big school project which was a boa constrictor habitat shadow box. You plotted it out and I hot glued until you were content with the masterpiece. You always had stories about the jobs you had at school like bathroom monitor and lunchroom table wiper-you took your work very seriously. You played the bucket drums at the school’s spring concert and you were so excited and proud. I will always remember the Galápagos tortoises on the school fieldtrip that were WWE wrestling (a.k.a. mating season).
You and your best buddy wore your tuxedos for Valentine’s Day again this year and the local news stopped by your school to interview you both. Despite asking me 1,000 times if you could wear your tux, when the news reporter asked where you got the idea to do this you said” your Mom told you.” I asked you why you threw me under the bus and you said, “well, I didn’t want to sound weird on the news so I just said it was your idea.”
What a year of adventures! We went to Helen, Georgia and we tubed down the Chattahoochee, took a short hike on the Appalachian Trail, climbed stairs to a giant waterfall, mined for gold but actually scored an emerald that I made into a ring-and I cherish it. I played the “Chattachoochee” for you and you sing it all the way to Georgia. You discovered the song “Prop Me Up By the Jukebox” on this trip but you sing it “prop me up by the juice box.” You were convinced we made the word Jukebox up-who has heard of that?
You enjoyed your first trip out of the country to the Bahamas with us-Mimzi and Poppa joined in too. You swam with pigs, dolphins, and stingrays. You fed iguanas that made me nervous, until you helped our tour guide pull a lemon shark into shore and that made the iguanas seem tame. You have plans to live in the Bahamas and you said I could have a hut in your backyard. I can make that work.
For spring break we had an amazing trip exploring Arizona which was first for all of us. We explored the Grand Canyon by me keeping a tight grip on the back of your hoody. It was actually, the Grand Canyon’s National Park 100th birthday. When we were driving through the Grand Canyon you asked me why you “kept seeing a sign of beaver in blue jeans that had boobs.” We finally figured out you were talking about “Smokey the Bear” whose significance is absent from your generation. You renamed him Booby Beaver. You made friends with the tour guide at Antelope Canyon, and climbed volcanic remains at Sunset Craters. We hiked the Red Rocks of Sedona. You and Dad gave me an asthma attack (literally) by climbing up the buttes in Arizona. You loved the Wild West of Phoenix and all cacti sprinkled throughout the state.
We just took a quick trip to Orlando where Dad met up with us while traveling for business. We were able to celebrate your ninth birthday at Volcano Bay. We enjoyed crab legs and a quick trip to Silver Springs.
We received a free Echo Dot with a purchase this year and you have worn it out asking it jokes, the weather, and how many days to your birthday. You blast your favorite songs on it that usually come complete with show stopping performance. Your favorite is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and various songs from the “Greatest Showman.” You have the pipes of an opera singer and can hold a note forever. I do not know if you will ever develop these talents…but you certainly are capable of excelling in music and performance if that is a path you desire. During the Christmas season, we listened to “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” approximately two million times. You sing Luke Comb’s “Beautiful Crazy” lyrics and you said it reminded you of me. Your latest playlist includes “Old Town Road” and any Shawn Mendes song. We surprised you with tickets to your first concert for your birthday to see Shawn Mendes.
You keep us all in stiches with your wit and funny antics. I wish I had the time to write everything down, but I would have volumes of journals if I did. I try to savor the moment and jot down some of my favorite which include: telling me you have a ‘two pack” of abs, asking me if a serial killer eats cereal, calling your backpack compartments- apartments. You do a funny Jim Carrey “smoking” impression and your just an all-around funny and quick witted kido. When I told you about the Momo scare on the internet, you immediately deleted YouTube off your iPad because you were freaked out. Then you spent the rest of the year trying to sneak up on me and scare me with your Momo face. Every night when I kiss you goodnight, I say “you are smart, special, kind, important, and loved.” On one night you told me “and…I am sexy. Don’t forget to add that.” You learned how to fart using your hand and armpit-it seems to be a rite of passage for second grade boys.
You still love to play soccer and futsal. You had an excellent season. Dad coached your team “Orange Justice” and you all placed second in the end of season tournament. Each soccer game you would paint spray your hair orange (the team color). I love that you are not self-conscious and keep doing you! I hope you always stay that way. You have some small soccer balls that you kick all over the house all the time. You cannot brush your teeth or go to the next room without kicking a soccer ball around. We enjoy catching Louisville City soccer games together.
You like to play on Xbox while conversing with your cousin on the iPad while he plays Xbox at his house. You still love your Legos and army men. You have added some King Kong toys to the mix. I do not mind the Legos all over the place and the war zones you have setup in the playroom because I know those days are numbered. You like to draw WWII things, comics, and Abe Lincoln. You love history and told me you want to study history in college but do not know what type of job you would have. My advice was to study what you love and let the rest fall into place. I might revise this statement if you over extend your stay at college.
You still find insects and animals anywhere you go. We laughed until we cried when you rescued a giant turtle from the road and it peed ALL over you. You have started fishing and love to go with your grandfathers. You call yourself “Kid King Fisherman” and your fish stories seem to grow each time you tell them. You have become quite the card shark and have taught us many card games. You also finally mastered ice-skating this year.
You ordered a keyboard off Amazon Prime with your own money and we started piano lessons this summer. So far, you seem to enjoy learning this skill. You and your Dad have constant discussions of why you should not sit around in your underwear. Honestly, I could care less and am jealous of your innocence to just be. He is worried you will be sitting in our living room at 30 doing the same thing. When you are not hanging in your undies, you love being outdoors, swimming, and being with family and friends. Your neighborhood buddy moved across town but you adjusted and learned friendship can span a distant…even if it is just a few miles. You still love your grandparent’s dog, Moxie, and proclaim he is the best and smartest dog in the world.
You still eat the same foods but you added spaghetti, turkey and cheese sandwich (no crust), and scrambled eggs to the mix. I have a vivid memory of you sucking up spaghetti, noodle by noodle, on New Year’s Eve. You love when Friday nights are reserved for pizza night and catching up on episodes of This is Us, A Million Little Things, 20/20, and CBS Sunday Morning. You also enjoy some of your Dad’s favorite movies from the 80s and 90s.
You are starting to show signs of being a pre-teen. You have reorganized my/Dad’s bathroom drawers because you need your own for your space even though you have your own bathroom you do not use. You bought a “Enter at Your Own Risk” poster for your bedroom door at the book fair this year. You still occasionally ask us to rub your back at night. Every now and then, you will request me to sing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen or “Blackbird” by the Beatles. We are starting to see the makings of a mustache and hairy legs. At this rate, you may look like Chewbacca by middle school. I am just not sure how this stuff works with guys. You call it “turning into a man.” You lost three teeth this year, for a total of 10. You play your iTunes music as loud as you can while in the shower. You honestly take such long showers that we cannot breath from all the steam. The mystery of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are almost over. You ask me “just how well’ did I know the Easter Bunny because it seemed like we were similar.
We have so enjoyed this year as a family. I wish that time would slow down…but there is more living to do. We love you son.
My spoon is full of great memories of year eight and the million times you have said “hey mom” this year.