I write letters to my children on their birthdays. Here is last year's letter to Aaron.
Happy birthday, son.
I think you can now say "fifth" properly, so that's pretty nice timing, don't you think?
We're going to celebrate your transition to five with some of your favorite things: friends, a bounce house, ice cream, and hot dogs. Being five is truly great.
This year you jumped into pre-Kindergarden with zeal. You love to list your classmates by first and last name (with accurate Spanish pronunciation befitting for South Los Angeles), and your teachers say that you are very engaged with learning. You enjoy doing simple math problems in your head, and identifying familiar words in books.
You love building and creating things, from painting with watercolors, to creating Lego cities, to baking sand cakes at the playground, to writing your own stories. And taking after your dad, you really like games. You're old enough for Connect Four and Guess Who?, but not quite ready for Dominion yet.
You're quick to warm up to people and make friends, with both peers and adults. You have become a pretty good conversationalist. I am often surprised at the things we can talk about with you, and how you seem to make connections in your mind about how things work.
One of my favorite parts of the day is our nighttime routine. Right before bedtime, we snuggle on the bed and you ask for a story. Often you request a scary story or a story from the Bible. Or our recurring silly story of "Goldisocks and the Three Bears." After stories, we pray and sing together. For months, your prayer has been, "God, please give me a baby brother." We talk about our highlights and low points of the day, and then lights out. I hope this nighttime ritual remains for a long time.
You love helping around the house (to the point where you're genuinely disappointed if I do laundry without you), watching the Incredibles, going to the park, eating quesadillas, visiting the library, playing with water, going to church, reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, saying things in silly ways, and playing with your sister.
When I think about who you are, I am overwhelmed by joy. You're playful, silly, curious, thoughtful, creative, energetic, and generous.
I have simple hopes for you. That you'll continue growing into the unique person you're meant to be. That you'll know that you're deeply loved, always. If those things happen, then I think we're good.
I love you.