My dearest Oliver,
It is so easy for me to think back eight years and remember meeting you for the first time – you, who first made me a mother – that it is sometimes hard for me to reconcile the tall, maturing boy in front of me with that tiny baby they laid on my chest.
You are an amazingly strong kid – so athletic, fast, and competitive. When you asked to play hockey last year we told you to first learn how to skate – you were so driven and worked hard. Now you are not only playing hockey, you are scoring goals and holding your own against kids who have played before.
I see how proud you are when you learn a new skill, when you make a great play, to be part of a team. This sport is great for your self-esteem. It is discipline, it is taking direction from a coach, it is fist-bumping your team mates when you get a goal, it is rushing the goalie at the end of every game (win or lose) to tell him “good game”. I was unsure about hockey at first, worried that it would demand too much of us, but it is so many things that are good for you right now that we all happily attend every game.
Today you earned the “herd hat” for good play – it was an extra special birthday gift.
We still struggle sometimes – all of your athletic strength is equally matched with strong will and opinions and you have a high spirited energy that sometimes carries you away. Other times, there is so much love and caring and patience that comes out of you. It’s hard to know which one we are going to get, but I see all of that leveling out as you mature.
For your birthday this year, you invited your two best buddies for a sleepover and a movie (Lego Batman). It was a high energy evening with lots of popcorn, laughs (until 11:30), video games (hockey, of course), and late-night cake.
On your actual birthday – today – we had hockey, a shopping trip to spend your gift cards (you love being able to choose), ordered pizza to eat downstairs in front of a movie, and more cake. We didn’t get many pictures but trust me – at the end of the day you told me you loved every gift you received and bought, and everything we did with your friends and family. You felt loved and you were grateful.
I love you more with every day, with every secret kiss…