My Dearest Baby Boy,
I talk to you in your sleep. After ten years of being your Mom, I still get stage fright when our conversations turn to deep, meaningful things. When you are sleeping, the anxiety of saying the wrong thing goes away. I am the best Mommy in the world when you are dreaming.
When I was your age, I loved life. I can still hear the grinding crunch of the pencil sharpener as I turned the lever round and round. Feel the smooth edges against my fingertip as I examined the freshly sharpened point it made on my #2 yellow pencil. Feel the puff of air leave my cheeks, blowing off the wooden residue left from its fresh sharpen. I loved to write with a perfect point.
Ms. Cappio was my 4th grade teacher. She loved life too. I can still smell the chalk dust she wore like perfume. Feel her auburn hair brush against my cheek as she reached up to hug me every day. Yes, she reached up to hug me.
I was always taller than my peers in elementary school. By 4th grade, I was taller than my vertically challenged teacher. I didn’t know my height was anything to feel awkward about. Life mystified and excited me.
By 5th grade, I felt differently.
Tonight, you are 22 days away from being a 5th grader. As I lay beside you with my awkwardly tall body and life chiseled brain, I can’t stop watching your perfect body in slumber. Every messy, sad part of me, covers each perfect part of you, in my fervent wish for your brain to stay self loving. Keep your innocent, inquisitive, strong willed, emotional, mystified, happy brain forever. Please.
Some day, someone will tell you that your body is too big. That your emotions are too intense. That you love too freely. Give too easily. Show too much. Hide too little.
A stranger may look into your deep, hazel eyes, and make you question why you feel their emotional struggles as deeply as your own. Do not let it shake you. Do not love yourself any less for it. Please, let it be all these things that make you love yourself even more.
Remember your 4th grade brain.