An Open Letter to My Sons on Their Sixth Birthday



I spent the better part of the afternoon on my hands and knees bleaching the bathroom floor. There are people coming over tomorrow for a birthday party and there is pee all over. Age six and aim is not your strong suit.


Your memorial day birthday coincides with the conclusion of kindergarten. For some reason this seems so much older to me. First grade is for big kids.

This has been a year of adventures. Of growth. Of learning.

Reading, writing, math. Rolling off to school every morning with your backpacks. Fighting every evening to get your homework done.

You are your own little men – growing up and discovering the world. It is amazing to watch the universe open up to you as you learn how to read – words suddenly beginning to make sense around you.

Yet as we’ve started the official education experiment it’s become apparent that maybe we haven’t completely left prematurity behind. While your antics continue to distract me, leaving me no time to reflect on the cluster of fear thrust at us all six years ago, we are still fighting.

School is not easy. The mind is never calm.

Your ability to thrive in the face of any adversity continues to impress me. I don’t know that I could deal with such obstacles with such aplomb. Energy and struggles don’t thwart you for a moment.

Search – my little athlete – Prince Charming impressing classmates and parents alike. You focus on the the game of baseball, thinking every throw through. Life is simply a Lego build for you.

Destroy – my artist – Mally the Munchkin folding origami and rocking out to the radio. Your insight into those around you leave you questioning everything. The world is a puzzle, a compilation of scientific questions just waiting to be answered.

Six years ago I was worried about sunlight and an eventual ability to bring you home. Today it’s continuing experiments around what activities interest you most. Prematurity is no longer a persistent thought.

Today you asked what that outfit was on the hallway wall. I told you it was an outfit you once wore as babies; the onesie was the half the length of my forearm. Tonight you grabbed “The Hungry Caterpillar” and climbed into bed where you could read it yourself. Our superhero nurses always did know you two were ready to take on the world.

You are both individuals. You are creating your own way in this world. And you’ve done that since the beginning. The baby years no longer consume all my thoughts this time of year. Because you’re big kids now.

Childhood won’t last long. I hope you continue to experience all the wonders of the world.

May you smile. May you laugh. May you love. May you learn.

The adventures will change. Our stories will evolve.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to watch you grow.

Game on. Here’s to all that’s coming next. I have no doubt you will continue to amaze.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
 – Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost


Filed under Birthday

2 Responses to An Open Letter to My Sons on Their Sixth Birthday

  1. Roxy

    Happy Birthday, Search! and Happy birthday Destroy!
    I just clicked on the first birthday open letter(never read that post before) and….wow. The babies you read to “The Hungry Caterpillar” are now reading it by themselves? They really are big boys 🙂 I wish them the best!

    • I cannot believe how fast they’re growing up. Stay tuned for the upcoming Then vs. Now picture post 🙂 And thanks for sticking with us on the story of our journey.


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