“I’m so happy I got you to keep my world spinning around, around, around…”
I really want to say that we blinked and somehow here we are again, catapulted a year later into this moment without any solid remembrance of how we got here.
Well, that’s not all true. What is most profound about spending this last year with you has been how important the noticing of the little moments has been. You are curious about everything: neighborhood cats that you like to count on our way to the T; the location of the Bobcat in Harvard Square; the people on the train–the same ones who see us every morning and who remark how big you’re getting before chatting with you until their stop; the way the excavator cradles his teddy bear in your favorite bedtime story, Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site. You notice everything.
This perception is a gift, though probably not for you. It’s more of a gift for me. Because if you were not here to stop and notice, and to wonder, I would keep on rushing through my day, not taking a moment to be grateful that all of these amazing people and details exist. I’ve become quite clear about my boundaries: when I’m not at work, I don’t think anything about work because I work hard to give you the time and attention you deserve. In our time together, we chat, about everything and nothing (though nothing is my word here; your world is always of interest to me, but mine? Well, sometimes when I recount my day, it’s not so vivid as your stories of sand boxes and fire trucks and what you ate for lunch. You win there, kid). You are able to spend good, long amounts of time playing with your cars, of which your current beloveds are the red Range Rover, the mail truck, the excavator. You have started creating imaginary worlds: talking to your toys and your dolls, envisioning a reality that extends beyond the one in our tiny kitchen. I envy your ability to move quite effortlessly between those worlds, as that movement continuously reinforces the spirit of play, of creativity, of adventure and, most importantly, of being a child.
I fight hard to remind anyone who asks that you are a child. I think in this world that, unfortunately, does not treat all children as precious treasures, I must challenge those perceptions that want to erroneously grow you up before you’re ready; must assure you have the slow childhood you–and every Black and brown child–deserves. Maybe that is why I love taking you to the park in KY, where you are able to play in the stream as long as you like. Because there, time seems to move with a measured, decidedly languorous pace–you can be a kid there as long as you wish to be. As long as you need to be.
“Another year come to pass. Another year gone so fast. Oh how you’ve grown. Oh how you’ve grown…”
I continue to thank the Universe that you are an agreeable little boy. Wow. You are, indeed, a little boy now. I have a hard time thinking about how our lives were with you as a baby, but, thanks to pictures (sooo many pictures), I can jog my memory. While I’m a bit nostalgic, this last year has found me more delighted than not about the discoveries you’ve made, things you’ve learned, opinions you’ve formed that are yours and only yours…Elliott True, you are your own person. I am so blessed to be able to stand beside you as you make your way in the world.
How did I get so lucky that you picked me to share this life with?
A few more quick moments about who you are right now: you go to sleep at 7pm on the dot; you are an adventurous eater, but your favorite foods are salmon, beans and rice, and mangoes; when asked what your name is, you respond: “Kim Parker.” I love everything about you, but what I love the most at the moment is how you wrap your arms around my neck and give me big sloppy kisses. I also love sitting on the steps with you and either watching you play or giving you all my yogurt. You are my favorite running buddy. You’ve learned to say “Go, go, go. Almost there” on the big hill, which makes me know I can do it. I love it when you sit in my lap in the kitchen and we read food magazines and talk about recipes that would be delicious to make. I love watching you play with our Kentucky family. I love that this year we traveled to New Orleans and to Minneapolis and you went right along, open to whatever adventure we attempted. I love when you get tickled about something and you laugh, and you laugh, and you laugh, I can’t help laughing along with you, too.
What is mind-blowing is that here we are, and despite having such a spectacular year, we are fortunate to do more of it in this next one, if, indeed, the good Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise.
Me and you, kid. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Indeed, I do love you the most.
Happy Birthday, my darling boy.
How did you grow so big overnight?
How did you get so smart and bright?
Yesterday you were asleep in my arms.
Today you’re growing off the charts.
I’m so proud of you.
–Frances England, “You and Me”