Where to even begin? I suppose I can start off by saying that I cannot believe that you are seven years old. How did that happen? It seems like just the other day you were a tiny bundle in my arms and now you’re an energetic kid who loves Optimus Prime. (Or The Incredible Hulk. Or Spiderman. It really just depends on the day.)
We had a rocky start, you and me. I had you at nineteen, when I was just a baby myself, and I didn’t fully comprehend what it meant to be a mother. I mean, I had just stopped playing with Barbies only five years ago for goodness sake. Now, suddenly, I was supposed to take care of a human being. Sometimes I feel guilty that I had you when I was so young. Would you have still been speech delayed had I had you when I was in my late twenties? Would have you have still been diagnosed with ADHD? Was it something I did that made you have autistic tendencies?
Of course I know that the odds are likely that nothing would have changed if I had had you when I was older. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder. I only want the best for you, after all.
You are a great kid, Tommy. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I know some of the kids have started making fun of you because of your awkwardness. I’m sorry son, but you get that from me. I apologize that you can’t kick a ball with as much force as the other boys your age. I’m sorry that it seems like you have two left feet. Please forgive me for the fact that you maybe catch two out of the five balls that are tossed at you. I’d like to promise that you’ll get better at these things as you get older. But the truth is, Tommy, is that I still manage to drop things to this very day. I may be the only adult that still spills her drink. My advice is to find a person who finds these things adorable. Or find someone who works in the restaurant industry and who is used to picking up spills.
I know you have an abundance of energy. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s wrong. Yes, you need to learn to contain yourself when it’s time to be serious. It’s probably not a good time to leap up on your desk and do a jig in the middle of class, Tommy. Please don’t do that again. Yes, I found it amusing when the teacher phoned to tell me this but that’s because you came from me. Your teachers, unfortunately, will not be as amused so it’s just best that you remain in your seat and do as you are told.
I am always amazed at how you are able to put things together just by studying the instructions and practicing over and over again. Just the other day you figured out how to make a paper airplane by watching closely how your Daddy did it. Yes, it took you a few tries and yes, you may have screamed in frustration. But the point is, Tommy, that you figured it out. About a half hour later you bounded down the stairs with your airplane in your hand and you excitedly showed us how you put it together.
I am proud of you every day. I see the patience that you have with your little sister and yes, I know you sometimes get irritated when she tries to copy you. It’s just because she wants to be like her big brother. It’s a compliment, Tommy, and I can’t blame her. You are a wonderful kid with a passion for life, after all.
You are also learning to read. I remember how you used to struggle over the words and angrily throw a book down in frustration.
“I can’t do this. I can’t read!” you once screeched at me.
I simply picked the book up and placed it back into your hands. “You can read, Tommy. You just have to keep practicing,” I assured you.
And you did.
Today I watched you read your birthday card without even stumbling over the words. You read as though you had been reading for years. In fact, you didn’t even seem like it was a big deal when you set your card down. You looked a little surprised when I pressed my palm over your hand and pointed out that you read without even asking for help.
“I did do it!” you responded, your eyes bright with excitement.
“Didn’t I tell you?” I said. “Didn’t I always tell you that you could do it?”
Of course you didn’t respond. Because like a typical seven-year-old, you were already digging into your presents.
I love you, Tommy. I always will. Don’t you ever hesitate in asking me questions. Even if they may turn my face pink with embarrassment. I apologize for getting flustered when you asked me innocently how a woman’s egg turns into a baby.
I hope you have a wonderful birthday. And remember, Tommy, you can be whatever you want to be. Never ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I love you forever and always,
I also made a video in honor of Tommy's birthday.