Our Jacky turned seven years old this week.
Fall 2010. The morning after losing the second front tooth.
Boy, have I learned a lot about you this year, Jack. One thing I’ve learned is that, after a full year of first grade behind you—and after a painfully shy babyhood—you are really good in social situations. You excel at making friends. You are friendly, accommodating, polite, and thoughtful. At the family birthday party, you blew out your candles and said your wish out loud. You said, “I wish that my entire family stays healthy.” I saw a few family members’ jaws drop. But not mine. Because at your best, you are selfless.
You’re also a charmer. How do I know this? Because of the stack of love letters you received from—ahem—several girls this past year at school. You’ve told me about the ones you like, and the ones you love. But don’t you worry. I’ll keep your secrets about who is who so you can play the field as long as you need to.
There are also some things that haven’t changed.
You are still… not wearing clothes much. Snow, rain, sunshine—it’s always the same. You enter the house, throw pants, shirt, and shoes in a pile on your bed, and hang out in your undies. I’m still under the impression that you will outgrow this little quirk of yours. I was under that same impression last year. Guess I’ll check back next year.
The paragraph above should explain several upcoming photos.
You are still… creating.
You are still… loving dress up.
You were very proud of this warrior mask. So innocent. You even taped it to your face! I didn’t have the heart to tell you what it reminded me of. I didn’t want to spoil your fun or choke your creativity. The politics of it are for another time.
Modeling a scuba-diving balloon creation given to you by our neighbor.
(More of Marc’s amazing balloon stuff here.)
(which leads to)
You are still… acting.
Whether you’re portraying a robotic dinosaur:
It’s always entertaining. Bravo.
(Just in case anyone wonders, that’s magic marker on Jack’s chest. It’s an Ironman thing.)
You are still… not swimming.
You are still… reading! More than 100 books during the school year. Lots of summer reading too. I’m so very proud that you enjoy it. Chalking that up to me and your dad, reading aloud, reading aloud, and then reading aloud some more. Backs patted.
You are still… loving your brother.
* * * * *
I remember when you were a baby, Jacky. That painfully shy babyhood. You were so, so very shy. You held on to me so tightly when we were meeting someone new. So tightly. I didn’t want to force you. So I just squeezed back. I wondered if you would ever gather up the courage to let go.
These days, you’ll still hold my hand. But if there’s someone new to meet, you let go. You let go of my hand to meet them. And that makes me happy.
I’m starting to realize it’s me that needs to gather up the courage to let go.
I promise I’ll work on loosening my grip a bit. If you’ll promise to, if only once in awhile, hold my hand tight. Like now. Hold my hand, bean, and I’ll hold on to yours. Let’s walk together.