A year ago, when this photo was taken, her hair was longer and they were both smaller. But already they barely fit into the bath tub together. How is it that they still manage to squeeze in there, side by side, today? Somehow, they do. Not for too much longer, I think. But perhaps by the time he's finally outgrown bathtime with his sister, the baby will be ready to take his place.
In just a few days you're going to have a new baby sister, but today is your day. I know you're still disappointed that you're not going to have a brother, but I have been so impressed with how helpful you have been to your mom and Eva and me. You are a really good big brother—having a little sister is frustrating sometimes, but you are always looking out for Eva and trying to do things for her, and I am so proud whenever I see that.
This past year has been a big one for you. You started school and had a great kindergarten year. You made lots of new friends, but still kept in touch with some of your old pre-school buddies. You have made a lot of progress in learning to read and write, and I've been so proud of how hard you've worked at it, even though you don't always want to. You work hard at practicing lots of things: swimming, tying your shoes, karate. You even do a great job of keeping your room clean.
We went to Legoland this weekend for your birthday, and what I really love about how grown up you've gotten is how much fun we have together now. We had a blast going on the waterslides together, and going on rides, and looking for the little people in Miniland. I love that you get so excited about things like explaining the Star Wars scenes to your uncle, or explaining Pokemon to your grandfather. I hope that you never lose that enthusiasm.
Today is your birthday, and I hope it's a great one. Happy birthday, pal. I love you.
Soundtrack: "Trees to Stone (Instrumental)" by Fremont. Used with permission.
I've been getting up earlier for the past couple of months, which means I've been able to take Jason to school in the mornings. I like having the little bit of extra time with him, and getting to see him with his friends and in his new environment. Walking back to my car by myself after the bell rings, though, is a little... lonely, I suppose.
This morning you woke me up in order to ask me if I could get out of bed soon. Even though I was still feeling a little fuzzy with sleep, I could hear the anticipation and excitement in your voice about the pile of presents on the kitchen table. But I could also tell that you were holding yourself back, trying to be polite and patient, and it made me think of how much you've learned about self-control.
We talk a lot about the five tenets of tae kwon do that you learned in your karate class: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. You know them all by heart, but more than that, you've learned a lot about what they all mean. Sometimes you make mistakes--just like all of us do--but when we talk about them, you're able to tell us which tenet is the one to work on. Every day I'm amazed at how much you understand and how mature you've become. I'm very proud to be your dad.
Now that you're older, we've been doing more things together. I love getting to take you to the movies, and watching shows with you in the evenings like Avatar. I love getting to show you things that I loved as a kid, like Star Wars. I love putting together Lego sets with you, and reading chapter books with real stories to you. I love that you can really swim now, and that when we go to the beach you are as passionate about digging big holes as I am.
Last night as I was putting the finishing touches on your birthday video, your mom asked me how many more times I'd be making these videos and writing these letters to you. It's something I've thought a lot about and never really figured out. But for now you're still excited about it--you asked to watch the video six times before I even finished it, and you got a big kick out of seeing yourself on the screen. So I figure that at least this one more year, I'll do this.
I don't know what the future will bring or how we'll all change in the next year, but I'm looking forward to finding out together.
Happy birthday, buddy.
Soundtrack: "Boop" by Podington Bear. Used with permission.