A LETTER TO MY SON ON HIS 5TH BIRTHDAY

My Papa, Papito, My Munchkin, Leroy,

So here you are, five. And with that sentence here come the tears. How am I expected to type this if I can’t see my own words on the screen through blurry wet eyes? Happy Birthday precious boy!! It is hard to believe you are turning five years old today!

You have brought me nothing but pure joy since that very first moment. Watching you grow, absorbing the world around you, inquisitive and delighted to learn, I’m reminded each day of the treasure you bring into my world.

I thank God for you each and every day and I will be forever grateful that God chose me to be your mom.  I have learned so much from you -especially all about boys (how they love to be active and get dirty and jump in a puddle with their good shoes on even if there is a dry path to take nearby)!

With each passing year, I have no idea how I’ve raised such a smart and thoughtful boy who has the biggest heart.  You care about people.  You care about their feelings. Most of all, you care about you.  You make every effort in doing right.  You follow the rules–most of the time–and want everyone else to do the same. You remind me when we brush our teeth at night that we must do it for the full 2 minutes as instructed by your teacher in school.

When you come home from school, our living room turns into a doctor’s office, a theater or a classroom.  These past few weeks you’ve had me sitting on a blanket on the floor and raising my hands as we sang songs, and listening intently as you taught me spellings of words you were taught in school.

You make me so proud!  You LOVE to draw, add and read. Everything from fire trucks, cars, my make up, and hospitals .Your favorite foods are spaghetti, minced beef, peanut butter and honey, sour milk, sweet bananas, watermelon….

I love watching you ride your bike, play football and PS3.

It melts my heart when you hold the door open for me or offer to help me when I am in the middle of something.  Some young girl will be lucky to have you someday (but until then you are all mine)! Oh and did I mention I love your dimples? Oh yes absolutely adorable!

As all mothers do, I have goals, dreams and wishes for you. I have, as you can imagine, dozens of them, but on this 5th birthday, I will limit myself to the five I wish for most.

  1. I wish for the kind heartI see in you now to stay firmly in place.  Keep it, nurture it and handle it with care.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too sensitive. You will be the first to hold your sister’s hand when she is scared, the first to run for the ice pack when someone is hurt.   The best part of my day is the joy infused by your smile, your hugs, the tender way you put your hand on my face or suddenly say, “Mommy, are you okay?”  I couldn’t live without your affection and kindness.
  2. Don’t ever apologize for who you are, for what you want, for how hard you have worked or where you are going in life.I don’t doubt you will work hard.You have learned this from me.  Stand your ground, be proud of you.  Do not live to make others happy or to measure up to someone else’s expectations.  Be Leroy.  This is enough.
  3. Be a student.  Be a teacher.Learn at every opportunity.  Read. Be inquisitive. Ask. And when you know something and know it well, teach others.  Do not hoard your knowledge, your gifts – share them.  There is inherent beauty in being both student and teacher.  It is a gift to learn and a privilege to teach.
  4. I wish you wins and losses, trophies and empty shelves.As much as I would love to see you succeed in everything you do… as much as I believe in your gifts, I must wish you challenges.  For it is within the losses, the 3rd, 4th and 5th places, and the failures that your character will be built. It is my job, as your mom, to do my best to guide you through these moments. If everything was to be easy for you, you would be ill-prepared for the real world.  I promise you, life is not always easy.
  5. Your dreams: do them.Your heart: follow it.  Your family: treasure them. Your friends: be loyal to them. Your fears: embrace them and allow them to make you stronger.  The money you earn: respect it. Your passion: LIVE IT.

And my ‘one to grow on’ – I wish to be here for each of your moments…. to keep you on track.

Papito, you are what bliss looks like in a little boy.  You are sweet and compassionate. You are cheeky and messy, you snuggle and love me. I melt when you say, “You have not hugged and kissed me yet today, Mommy”.  I adore that you need to be burrowed into your bed at night in order to sleep.  I will never forget your fear for darkness, how you still climb in to my bed in the morning (sometimes in the middle of the night) just because I’m warm.

And nothing gets to me more than hearing you say, “I love you, my Mommy”. Thank you, sweet, small dude – for completing me.

I will always love you, my munchkin.

Xo Xo,

Mommy.

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