It’s hard to believe you are only seven – after all you are in the second grade, and you have, to hear you tell it, already suffered a lifetime’s worth of indignities.
And yet, it’s impossible to believe that you are already seven. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I was walking around the apartment muttering about your refusal to make your entrance into the world?
You came into the world inside an intact bag of waters. Daddy says it was like unwrapping a present, peeling back the sac to reveal you inside. And once you emerged, you began screaming, and you didn’t stop for six months.
You have always been sensitive. Everything matters. You feel things so deeply. You can burst into tears or smiles and laughter with precious little provocation.
All year long, you count the days until your birthday. In the last few weeks, the excitement has been at fever pitch. “I can’t possibly practice piano,” you announce. “My birthday is in two weeks and four days.”
“I get to pick what we watch,” you tell your sister. “My birthday is in one week.”
“We should go out for dinner today. My birthday is on Thursday.”
You professed an intense desire to eat at the overpriced kosher grill in town. “What are you planning to order?” I asked you. You thought about it and said, “Well, cake for dessert. That’s for sure. It’s my birthday.”
“Yes, but before the cake, what will you eat?”
“I don’t know. The usual. A hot dog.”
Bear in mind, S., that you said this while eating hot dogs for dinner last night, after you had also enjoyed hot dogs for lunch at school. I say this not to excuse the fact that we will not be going out for dinner tonight, but merely to remind you that you were not, in fact, totally deprived as a child, though the following might make you think differently.
After you fell asleep last night, we opened the package from your uncle and scattered four Webkinz on your bed for you to discover. We set out the earrings from your aunt for you to find at breakfast. And you were quick to explain that your uncle had actually purchased one Webkinz and three small Webkins or KidKinz or whatever they are, but that you did not, in fact, receive four Webkinz. And then after you opened the earrings and the box of five or six gifts from your grandparents, you looked at us expectantly.
“Remember the bike you got on Sunday? Remember how we said that was for your birthday?”
“But that was SUNDAY. Today is my BIRTHDAY.”
Lest we forget.
But true to form, within seconds you were joyful once more, planning how you would tell everyone in school about your gifts and your birthday and how great life is.
You are amazing. The way you play the piano, the way you do math in your head, the way you ask questions and acquire knowledge, the way you love. The way you announce every night at bedtime, “One of you has to come up and tuck us in.” The way you still sneak down to our room and crawl in the bed once in a while, and the way you still ask to sleep in our bed almost every night. The way you ask Baby J. to sleep in your bed, instead of with your sister.
Only seven. Already seven. And we love you so much.
Thursday, February 28, 2008