To the boy who screamed into my world six years ago today and changed everything: Happy birthday, I love you, you’re amazing. To answer your questions:
1. Every minute of every day.
2. Because we didn’t realize your initials would spell “O.J.”
3. To Pluto and back a million hundred million hundred times … plus one.
4. No, it’s not the Lego Hogwarts Express, and I’m sorry to break that to you.
5. Go ask your father.
Of all my children, you got here first, and you’ve been showing up on time for things ever since. Your preschool teacher said you’d be President some day; I think you’ll carry in the family footsteps and be an engineer, or a teacher, or a professor. You have an analytical mind, my son, yet you love people, and sharing (sometimes, I regret to confess, ad nauseum) your interests with others. Right now, age six, you are a lego constructor extraordinaire, obsessed with instructions, features, and surprising architectural elements like breakaway walls so prisoners can escape. You all of a sudden know how to read. You asked me this afternoon if it was all right if you had a girlfriend at school. You love to wear T-shirts and you cock your handknit hat at an angle in order to look “like a dude.” You use phrases like “deadly awesome” and if I didn’t know firsthand how left-brained you are, I’d think you were a surfer reborn. You’re my right-hand man, useful beyond your years while we adjust to Miss Molly, able to leap Mackies with a single bound, patient and, for the most part, kind. (You are six, after all.)
Thank you for the last six years. You don’t know this, but I still check on you every night, touch your forehead, pull up the covers. I imagine I’ll keep doing it until you move out of the house. But remember, you promised me you’d always live in town. I just might hold you to it.
Thank you for being who you are and for teaching me all you know.