Seth: Today you are seven. SEVEN! As you are still and always will remain MY baby, though not A baby, I continue to marvel about your growth. How is it possible that my baby correctly uses advanced vocabulary? Reads fluently? Does algebra problems for kicks? Loses his gosh-dang teeth?!? Acts alternately like a teenager and a crotchety old man?
That is but a cursory summary of your sixth-year accomplishments. You had an outstanding year in kindergarten–though some of your first foray into day-long education really surprised me. At home, you are all swagger, blustering about with copious words about why you are awesome with the obvious implication that we are not as much. You don’t seem to care what we think about you and the things you do most of the time. I learned this year, though, that you do care. Immensely. You want so much for people to like you, but this came across especially at school.
“Ugh, everyone loves <classmate> because he is so cute and small. He’s the most popular kid in my class. I want to be the most popular kid!” you opined one day on the ride home. Huh. This was…completely new to me, as a parent. Your brothers didn’t care so much so soon. You do, and so I am aware as we guide you along through another year of the need to emphasize what is unique about you, but also how it is okay to not have the superlative “most” in front of any adjective used to describe you. You can just be you, and that is more than enough.
Because–let’s face it–you are a heaping, overflowing cupful of Seth. You are just SO MUCH of you. You are boisterous, you are opinionated. You are insistent, and strong-willed, and loving. You are seriously the funniest kid I’ve ever been around, and I know I’m biased but a lot of people seem to agree that you are on the road to stand-up. You’re a born performer, constantly mugging and requesting I take your picture. You thoroughly enjoy demanding a spotlight upon you as you command center-stage.
Your heart is huge, and you love love LOVE the ladies. Your character flirts insatiably with my character in our family D&D campaign, and it’s a transparent stand-in for how attached you are to me. I know it will embarrass you one day, but I promise I won’t hold you to any of the marriage proposals you’ve issued me. I don’t know if I can say the same for your many girlfriends at school. Will you tell them, or shall I, that you are in fact already married to “your bride” Eleanor, the giant teddy bear, with whom you share an adorable passel of plush, stuffed children? You’re such a heartbreaker.
Besides other kids, and girls in particular, things you loved this year include: snuggles, carbs, Abraham Lincoln (still!), all things kawaii, playing Yugi-Oh with your brothers, and thinking you were actually 12 years old like Max. Things you didn’t like were being too young/short for things your brothers did, loose teeth (particularly wiggling them; you just let them fall out eventually on their own), not being heard, homework, the dark, meat, and most vegetables.
And while you’re loud and brash, that belies a sweet and tender heart that only a few are privy to see. You might fight us into bedtime, but then you crave a cuddle while you collect yourself once again. You fight tooth-and-nail with your brothers, your head hot as fire, but dissolve into regretful tears in the aftermath. There’s a famous Shakespeare quote that goes, “though [he] be but little, [he] is fierce.” You might be scratching and scrapping like Hermia, with a temper to match, but your ferocity goes beyond the physical. You are a force of nature, kid…you came into this world like a lamb, and have evolved into a lion. We hear you roar. You’re my tender-heart-beneath-steely-resolve baby, and it’s an honor to see all your many facets as you continue to shine.
I could seriously go on with the pictures forever, the way you’ve demanded we act as your own personal paparazzi, but I’ve got to wrap this up while it’s still your birthday. Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.