Last year’s post was horribly late due to our move, so I promised myself that this year, I’d get this done in time to post on his actual birthday! Like he knows any different. But still.
SIX. Six? Crazy. Tonight as I kissed you goodnight, I said, “Goodnight, my favorite 5-year-old!” to which you responded, with a grin, “Not for long!”
This is definitely the most excited I’ve seen you for a birthday. Dad said that you did a happy dance in the car on the way to school today, reminding him that tomorrow was the big day.
Last year I talked about your and my anxiety about kindergarten, and I am so happy to be able to record that though it was a little rough in the beginning (seems I forgot to mention that kindergarten is, ahem, EVERY DAY and this wasn’t news you were happy to hear), you’re doing so well now. You are reading with such ease I almost can’t believe it. And for a kid that I could never convince to write anything, you are cranking out writing like it’s your job. Every day I can’t wait to open your backpack to see what you’ve written…you are a VERY phonetic speller, so it sometimes takes a bit of decoding, but I love it.
You and “the brothers” are getting closer all the time. Jack Henry can actually play with you guys now, and though he still gets on your nerves sometimes, he’s doing better. I can tell that you and Luke are especially close, like you know things about each other that maybe I even don’t know. Which at first makes me happy…you have a best friend in him (cue “Toy Story” music). And then it makes me sad…because I’m kinda left out of things like that, and to some extent, always will be. And then it makes me scared…when I think about the comment you made to me in the van last week, regarding the fact that you and Luke will have 2 years of high school together, and then you and JH will have 1: “Oh, we’re gonna have some good stories.” Gah. Not ready for that, my dear.
If I had to pick one word to describe you, it would be intense. Everything you do, you do all the way. Like practice basketball: you don’t even want neighborhood kids to come over and play with you; you just want to practice. You’re a hard worker; I so hope that doesn’t fade as you grow older. You seriously kick butt at getting jobs done around the house with very little complaining. I’d love for that to rub off on your brothers a bit.
To add to the intensity description, I leave you with this: over the course of the basketball season, you became quite the Illini fan, asking us to DVR games you couldn’t watch and making us not tell you the final score. So when tournament time came along, you were pumped. We all stayed up late together to watch the Illini win the first round game, and when the second round game was again a late one, we let you guys stay up. The Illini lost a game that was winnable, and you were heartbroken. Not so much at that loss, but at the fact that the season was over. It was sad and sweet and awesome at the same time…Dad and I were so proud of our little Illini fan! And, it taught you a valuable lesson: the Illini basketball team will break your heart over and over again, and in the end, you’ll still proudly wear your orange and blue. You’ve committed yourself to becoming an Illini basketball player, which is going to be really cool since you’ll probably only be 5’10”.
Bennett, I love you so much and couldn’t fathom our family without you in it. You give us intensity and heart and unpredictability and noise and empathy and a laugh I couldn’t even begin to imitate.
I hope your sixth birthday is all you are hoping it will be!