To Edward on His Sixth Birthday

Hey Buddy. What’s up? Well, you are, for one thing. You were up until 2 am because you were so excited about your birthday today and then, despite this fact, you were still up by 6, ready for your presents. Your sister says that you always get huge presents, and that may be true. After you got your bike this morning, I looked back to see what you got last year, and the year before.

Edward 6th

6th Birthday

5th Birthday

5th Birthday

4th Birthday

4th Birthday

Yup. I think she’s right. You get large presents.

Anyway, I just wanted to say to you today that I know this was a rough year. My hope is that it will have been the worst year of your life, and that things will all be uphill from here on out. Sure, there will be ups and downs, but my wish for you is that your lowest of lows are over and done. Someday you will have a broken heart. Knowing you, and your penchant for leaping off of tall things, you may also have a broken bone. But I hope that you heal quickly from all things, and that your exuberance never fades.

I know that all of the things you have gone through this year have been rough on everyone in the family. I know I was not always the best parent, or the parent you needed me to be. I’m sorry for that. I haven’t always been the everything everyone else needed me to be either. I’m working on it. Even though things have settled down for now, and you haven’t been back to the hospital for months, I can still feel the fear on the outside of my brain, whispering at me to stay alert and on edge. I’m going to have a talk with the fear and see if I can get it to settle down a bit.

What I really want you to know is how proud I am of you, even when it doesn’t seem like it. When I am listening to the fear, or reacting too quickly to something you’ve done that you can’t control, you might not know that I can see how far you’ve come, and how hard you are working. Things are so much better now than they were, but sometimes it’s hard to see the new future when you are stuck in an old past, don’t you think? And forget the future, sometimes it’s hard to see the right now!

You said this morning that you missed being five already. I hope you are excited about being six. I know you are excited to ride your new bike, and to go to the “stove place” for dinner. But I hope you are excited about more than that. There is a whole new year ahead for you, for all of us, and I truly think it will be the best one yet. I love you so much, and I can’t wait to watch you continue to grow and to mature. But if you wanted to spend one last day being a toddler, that would be fine with me. I think we could both use a nice nap this afternoon. How about it? Yes? No? No nap? Okay, fine. I’ll go find your helmet.

Happy Birthday.

Love, Dad

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