I love you so much, and thank God you are my boy.
You are such a delight to not only your father and me, but to your siblings and other friends who surround you as well.
As I write these words, your birthday is coming to an end... you're sound asleep, and there are but a few hours of October second left.
I'm thinking back to earlier this week when you and your brother and sister and I were all at the playground together before bedtime. We'd hurried through practicing piano and reading and even dinner so that I could take you kids to the playground for a few minutes before bedtime stories. "You've got 10 minutes, kids!" I shouted.
I knew you so desperately wanted to play before we settled in for the night. But as I sat there at King George playground watching you monkey around on the monkey bars, swinging across them backwards -- I've never seen any other child ever do that before! -- I couldn't help but reflect upon your life. You are such a gift, Josh. You delight in any challenge set before you, and even though you've never seen anyone else do it, you swing backwards across monkey bars.
I called you over to where I sat on a bench, quietly watching. "Josh, c'mere!"
You saw me and heard me. You ran over. "What's up, Mom?" I pulled you close and up onto my lap. "Buddy, I've never seen anyone go backwards before. How long have you been doing that?It's so cool."
You chuckled. "You've never seen me do that, Mom? I've been doing it forever!"
Then I looked at you, intent.
"Joshua, you're a couple days away from 7 years old. I can't believe you're almost that old. Can I tell you something, buddy? I'm sitting here watching you, and reflecting on your upcoming birthday and on the years I've been given with you and I"m just so, SO thankufl -- "
I looked in your face. You were smiling. And I also detected mild panic. Then you hopped down from my lap and started slowly backing away, but still looking at me."
"Mom, it's just that we only have 10 minutes here to play. And I KNOW you love me, but I really want to play, and I don't want to waste my 10 minutes sitting on your lap listening to you tell me something I know,"
I couldn't help but smile. Though I'd cuddle you all night, you were clearly making best use of your playground time.
"Go, Josh. For sure. Play! Swing! Go backwards! You know I love you though, right?"
He kept walking backwards to the structure, but looking at me while I talked.
Then he made the shape of a heart with his hands.
It's the thing he and I do. Our quiet symbol. A Heart with our hands.
"Yes, of course I know, Mom. I love you, too."