Sometime, a long time ago when I was probably too busy to notice, you became nothing but lanky arms and long skinny legs. Although your baby soft blond hair has slowly turned to light brown whenever you draw a self-portrait, you always draw yellow hair. I love that. More often than not, you are covered in the marks of childhood. Bruises from playing baseball, scabs from skateboarding accidents, mosquitoes bites that are over-scratched. I do believe that dirt has taken up permanent residence under your nails. I am forever telling you to cut them.
A boy you have become, my baby you are not. My wonderful and sweet, wild and rambunctious Simon. My boy.
Today you are eight.
In a way, you insist and demand that all attention be given to you. All day long we watch you. We watch you ride your skateboard. We watch the commercials of the things you want. We go to baseball and soccer and boy scouts. We sit on the edge of the pool and watch you jump off the diving board. Over and over you go- never tiring, never wanting to leave, always swimming like a fish. We listen to your stories. The words and noises, especially the noises, that flow so easily and non-stop out of your mouth.
Every day you wake up with a bang and are ready to take on the day, Si-man. You still love legos and building ships, boats, and battles. I have quit looking underneath your bed, but I know that a HUGE lego starwars base is raging. Guys that are fighting and fighter ships that move take up the space. I step on pieces in the living room and when I do the laundry, I find lego heads in your short pockets.
Your mouth is filled with gaps and spaces. Teeth that have come in crooked and crazy and way too big for your baby face. It’s part of your charm, little one. The other day I tried to get you to smile with your mouth closed but you couldn’t do it. We laughed and giggled and so we embrace the goofy teeth. It won’t be long until we’ll start paying to fix the mess that is your mouth. But not today.
It’s no lie that sometimes you drive me crazy. I used to think that it was my fault- that I nurtured a child that was out of control, a child that was anxious, a child that doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants. But then I realized that you are just like me. I’m a little out of control. I worry too much and I always get exactly what I want. I also realized what I would be missing without you and that you are everything that I need.
You make my world a better place, Simon. A much brighter, fuller, happier place and I could have never imagined what incredible joy you bring to the table of my heart,
My boy. Tomorrow you will begin the march towards nine.
But I won’t worry about that today. Today you are eight.