SIX years with you. You’re kind, funny, an amazing reader, a loving big brother, and a sweet soul who makes us oh-so-proud.
The year began as we got ready to welcome your sister and you and I squeezed in a few last adventures just the two of us. I’m eternally grateful for this push I felt, because as we would soon find out, it would be the last time for quite a while that we’d do “normal” things like walk around and photograph at the botanical center or play with the hands on exhibits at the science center.
This year has been your most formative year – in every sense of the word. Of course, it was 2020 which meant we began the year not only rocking your world with a baby sister, but asked you to adapt to it all without anyone else around, the normalcy of routines and school, or even playgrounds at first.
Talk about weird times, but ever the family guy you rose to the challenge and oddly thrived in your extra close family quarters. In a lot of ways, I think the extra (EXTRA) family time made the transition to welcoming a sister that much more smooth.
We watched you move SEAMLESSLY into the role of big brother and even when Greer had her extra spicy newborn days, you loved on her and patiently waited for her to return the favor. 🙂 You’ve cheered on her every milestone with the pure joy and enthusiasm of a coach sending someone to the Olympics – we joke that you might absolutely stroke out when she finally walks ha! She thinks YOU are the greatest thing ever and it’s been fun to watch your bond, even with a five year span, grow exponentially this year.
We said goodbye to our preschool family since age 1 with your graduation from Pre-K. We were one of the lucky ones to actually get to send you BACK to finish some preschool and even experience a half way normal (albeit masked and outdoors!) graduation. I’m not sure we would have normally been so into this minor milestone but in a year where everything has been upside down, we CELEBRATE these bits of normal.
Eager to do something fresh after all our stay-home time, we upgraded your toddler garbage truck themed room to a new passion: Minecraft. Your dad and I swapped out the details and surprised you after your last day at preschool. You were so genuinely grateful and excited. Big kid room for a big kid growing by the day.
Before we knew it, you were on to Kindergarten and while it was nothing like what I’d always imagined (we literally watched case numbers day to day the week before school started to learn if our county met the criteria for school to ACTUALLY start the next week!) you, like always, took it in stride. We did our best to make it feel normal – we school supply shopped, went to get new shoes and a first day outfit, and at the last minute we got a fire drill of an open house to at least get to SEE the building you’d spend kindergarten in. We met your teacher over zoom, you wore a mask, but again, one of the lucky ones — you attended full time in person….at least to begin!
One of the ironic benefits to climbing cases was that when school shut down, and you embarked on a month-plus of kindergarten virtually from home, I got a front row seat to the curriculum, your awesome teacher at work, and most notably how wildly capable you are. I might never have had an opportunity to see just HOW much you could handle – how many apps and logins you can manage, how you can follow along with timers and clocks (remember, these are 5 year olds who can’t tell time LOL!) and yet you stayed remarkably on task and were incredibly responsible, largely in part to a teacher who prepared you SO well from day one for this likely scenario of going remote. It was an adventure, I’m glad it didn’t last longer than it did, and it was certainly tricky for ME to stay available and also keep a busy baby from distracting you (and your classmates), but it was a unique glimpse I would have otherwise never had the gift of seeing.
The school year has additional breaks to go remote, but I’m grateful for all the 90% normalcy of memories you made in person and the friendships you grew as a result.
I’m keenly aware that we had much more time with you this year that we otherwise might have. It’s been that much more of a window into how quickly you are growing up and away from little boy. One of my very favorite memories of your sixth year is from New Years Eve. We were saying peace out to 2020 and Greer and I randomly dressed up for a night in. You wanted in on the fancy pants action and we pulled together a look from odds in your closet and anything that (somewhat) fit. Love myself a party guy.
Of course there were no gatherings or open venues this year, so Papa and Mimi brought the party and I did my best to make your Mario obsession into a theme.
We had a tower of krispy kremes in lieu of a cake and in place of friends and party games, I set up gold coin boxes all over the house to find like a sort of egg hunt – for one. 🙂 Of course there was a lot of Mario Kart played with the guys and you got a major kick out of blindfolding us all to play pin the mustache on Luigi.
For one final celebration, we went to Wellman’s the night of your actual birthday. It doesn’t sound like much now but it was a BIG deal to go to a restaurant – it had been months since you’d been in one and it felt novel even to us, taking you. It felt so normal and like the best breath of fresh air to kick off your seventh year. Here’s to a fantastic next year for our main man!