A Letter to my Son on his 9th Birthday


To my wonderful son,

See that gray hair on my head? Yes, child, YOU gave that to me, likely during our last round of math homework. You are so used to things coming easily to you that when something is a struggle, or confuses you, you get FRUSTRATED. Really, really frustrated. With yourself, and with me, who is seemingly incapable of explaining this new method of math EXACTLY like your teacher can (which is understandable, as I have no idea what in the heck you are learning.)

And, in the course of this not understanding me, or the work, you get mad. I get frustrated. We YELL at each other. And then we each take a time out.

But I love that you really want to “get it”. And in the end, with perseverance (and some counting to “ten”) I KNOW you will get there.


Today, on your birthday, you were given a unique gift. Today was your third grade conference with your teacher, in which, as she put it, she got to embarrass you with a glowing report. She commented that in your review, you were hard on yourself, giving yourself “7s” where she would have given you “10s”, being hard on yourself since your expectations are so high. (The “9” you gave yourself on handwriting is questionable, particularly since your lovely teacher had to turn the report to you and ask what you wrote, but I appreciate the self-confidence you showed there.) She thinks you are a pretty great kid, and I have to agree.

She also told us how amazed she has been with how well you’ve adapted to your new class, new learning methods, and how quickly you’ve made new friends.

Moreover, I can see a newfound confidence that I didn’t see in the UK. You are stepping out of your comfort zone, playing sports at recess that you haven’t had much exposure to, and instead of getting frustrated when you lose, you are shrugging it off with a “well, I’ve only been playing it for a few weeks, I shouldn’t be good.”

Which is a brilliant attitude.

You are a thoughtful boy, in both what you say and do, and in your observations of others. You surprise us at times with how deep you can be at such a young age. You are kind and sensitive (until it comes to your little sister, but even then you do surprise me at times). I know how much you miss your friends, and how hard you try to hide it. You are a pretty complex little creature, serious and sensible at times, and a total goofball at others. You have a wicked laugh that is completely contagious.

My darling boy, you are growing up too fast. Almost reaching my chin, shying away from hugs or any other public display of affection – ¬†you are still happy to have me come along on school field trips and not too big to snuggle at bedtime or when you can’t sleep after a bad dream. I guess I’ll cling to that as long as I can get it.

And you still have your killer frankendoo. That hasn’t changed since you were a wee babe.


(That, my lovely, you did NOT get from me. You can thank your dad for that.)

What you will get from me…is all my love, endless hugs (even though they embarrass you), and my never-ending support. I think you can do ANYTHING you set your mind out to do.

Happy birthday, Boo.

We love you to the moon, and back.


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