Posted on April 17, 2014


dear silly monkey –

as i sit here looking back on the past seven years, i wonder if you even realize just how many memories create the tears i shed today. or why i seem more pensive and contemplative.  i’m aware it must seem strange that your strong mama appears sad on a day to celebrate.  if you only knew why, i’m sure you’d understand.  or at least look at me less teenagery & annoyed.

you see, i can still feel the same emotions i felt the very first time i heard your heartbeat & felt you kick.  i remember the 19 hours of labor, the hour of pushing & the projectile vomit {mine, not yours}.  i can still feel the ache in my heart thinking of how you didn’t immediately cry.  and i can still feel the overwhelming instant love when i first heard your baby monkey shriek & saw your beautiful face.  all the moments between then and now… it’s like a big rush of wayTOOmuch, yet not nearly enough, all at the same time.

so often we move with the swift flow of life that we don’t take the time to stop and appreciate how we got where we are, who made us who we are, and why we love who and what we love.  so sure, it’s not the most proper of things to cry into my french toast, but i assure you – it’s totally normal for a mama who loves her baby so much!  so as to not further embarrass you (or our server), let’s get on with this…

in honor of your EIGHTH birthday, please accept these EIGHT tips on how to make your transition from SEVEN to EIGHT a bit more smooth…

1.)  eye rolling.  huffing.  all those things you do b/c you think i’m wrong & you’re right… not cool.  it wasn’t cool when i did it to my mom, and quite frankly, it’s even less cool when you do it to me. stop.

2.)  i get it.  farts are funny.  poop jokes are hilarious.  but take a minute to gauge your audience before you rip one on their lap or announce you pretty much peed from your butt.  gross.  i am NOT your audience.  i’m a girl and cannot relate.  girls don’t fart.  or poop.  and while we’re on the subject, i’m also not the proper audience for ball jokes.

3.)  be positive.  it’s ok to get frustrated and reallyREALLYreally not like something, but it’s never ok to “hate” something b/c you haven’t figured out how to excel at it.  you will get there, but only if you have a “can do” attitude and check the “i can’t” at the door.  we are only as good as the effort we put forth.  and that effort is only encouraged through positive energy.

4.)  your sister thinks you are the most rad kid on the planet.  and she’s totally right!  but with acceptance of the notion of being the best big brother, ever, comes a responsibility to teach her good from bad, right from wrong.  you have seen what happens when she tries to be just like you – she gets hurt or frustrated or upset.  if  something is off-limits to you, it is off-limits to her, too.  so don’t stand on the couch, screech in the house (or anywhere), or do any of the things that you know are wrong for YOU to do.  be a good example.  after all, when she’s old enough to point the blame, do you really want her finger pointed at you?

5.)  it’s unfortunate you don’t enjoy every book your teacher puts in your reading assignment folder.  but guess what, too bad.  life is full of tasks we don’t necessarily want to complete b/c they may be boring, or we simply have no interest in applying ourselves.  the problem is, if you fail to do what you’re told to do, based on this lack of interest, you’re going to miss out on loads of super amazing learning experiences.  stop judging books by their covers – it truly is what’s inside that counts.

6.)  the only way to move forward is to try and try again.  so when you fall, get up & shake it off.  when your answer is wrong, don’t argue to make the wrong piece fit into the puzzle, find a new approach and the right piece.  the most difficult of experiences give you the strongest of lessons.  if  life wasn’t full of trial and error, we’d see perfection everyday.  there is no such thing as perfection.  and trust me, those who claim to be perfect, or do perfect, are lacking two of the most important of individual characteristics – self-awareness and humility.

7.)  converse.  if i ask you what you learned at school, the accepted answer will never involve single word responses, such as “stuff” or “math” or “read”.  i ask b/c i’m interested, i care, and i WANT to know.  the day will never come when i so far remove myself that i fail to ask what you likely feel are stupid, mundane questions.  feel grateful you have a parent who wants to know these things b/c there are so many kids in the world who have less than involved parents.

8.)  people will always come into and move out of your life.  it is up to you to determine who is worth keeping and who is worth letting go.  there are lessons to be learned from each & every person you encounter throughout your time on this earth.  while i don’t follow majority thinking of “everything happens for a reason”, i do believe relationships are presented for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  be the best person you can be and hold tightly onto the value of TRUE friends, but don’t be blind to those who fail to do the same.  every relationship is “100/100”, not “50/50” – you give all you have b/c you have it to give and you take what you need b/c it is necessary.  this awareness will permit you to learn the differences between those who truly value WHO YOU ARE versus those who value only WHAT YOU GIVE.

in ALL seriousness… you are one awesome kiddo.  so much so that i may tend to push you a little harder than you’d like.  i want you to learn on your own and experience life the way your brain & heart determine is the right path.  of course, sometimes, my desire to encourage you steers you in my sense of direction.  it’s confusing, i know.  i mean, life can be foggy.  thoughts can be cloudy.  but just like every day is new to you, days are new to me, too.  i learn FROM you and ALONGSIDE you.  realize my attempts to steer you are only with the best of intentions, but always know you can tell me if i’m driving too fast, the wrong way, or down a road you’re not yet ready to travel.  we’ve been in this together for eight years and we’ll be in it together for many years to come.  i’m your mom, your biggest fan, and your greatest supporter.  and you know, if i had to do one thing, and only one thing, for the rest of my life, it would be love you. and i assure you, that is the ONE thing i WILL do for the rest of my life…

 i love you – so much so that i cry on your birthday.  it’s not b/c i don’t want you to grow up – it’s b/c seeing you grow into such an amazing kid makes my heart happy.  and a happy heart is the best gift you could ever give to your mother.  happy birthday, my silly monkey.   happy birthday #8!!

love, mommy