Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Complicated Life of an Eight Year Old

I promised myself I would write about Two on his birthday and here it is three days later and I’m just now figuring out what I want to say.

He’s a complicated kid sometimes – made even more so by his perfectly cultivated surface appearance of “just a regular all-round good guy”. But there’s a whole lot going on below that surface that most people don’t see.

In contrast, with One you know from the start you’ve got someone to deal with. Who he is shines (or glowers) on the surface of every part of his being. He never dissembles, never wonders if he could put a little more effort into making himself a little more amenable to others. WYSIWYG: if One was ever allowed to get a tattoo that’s what it should be, placed somewhere everyone would notice it.

Two? He IS just a regular all-round good guy. He’s good with his friends, good at games, good at navigating the social sea of elementary school and making it look easy. I admire this trait in him immensely; it’s something he shares with his father but emphatically NOT with me. But beneath all that is a kid who has all sorts of stuff going on – good and not-so-good – and has as many things to work on and work through as his brother does, as any of us do. He’s still finding ways to adjust to his Sensory Processing Disorder, he’s still learning to love to work (or to do it anyway when he doesn’t love it), and he frequently wants to fight the world. Actually, it’s less the world, I’m coming to realize, but anyone who has authority over him. Husband and I have come in for the brunt of that over the years, and his teachers have taken their lumps as well. He’s gotten much better, but he still pushes against authority like no child I’ve ever seen. Our biggest job as his parents is and has always been to teach him when to fight and when to let go.

Two, what do I want to know now that you are eight? Keep fighting, but pick your battles better. Don’t stop being the best friend so many people know and love. Stay adventurous, creative, and just a little bit wild. Use that fight, friendship, and love of adventure to take on the world in a new, creative way that is like no one else. The world needs your passionate wild side, your love for others, and the unique way you look at things more than you will ever know. Most of all, know that we love you to the moon and back, and always will. We want to watch you become exactly who you were created to be; we’re pretty sure it’s going to be quite a show!

I love you, not-so-little Two.

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