Ahhhh, Magic. Happy 8th Birthday.
What a year it’s been. I’d say, a Miracle (head nod to plugging in my phone in the car this AM and Apple Music spitting out the song I rocked you to sleep with countless times during that first year of yours). We’ve watched you move from first grade to second grade; with a full summer of incredible transformation in-between.
Today My Love for you Is … Happy, Proud … and Satisfied. Fully and infinitely. Let me explain why.
We’ve watched your reading take flight.
We’ve watched you take on math with gusto.
We’ve watched you conquer lego sets beyond your years.
We’ve watched you bring your painting to life, and we’ve watched you start to bring your brother along.
You’ve started defining your likes very clearly — whether it’s stepping away from soccer and into basketball, or stepping away from dance and with greater commitment to Tae Kwon-Do.
You assert yourself. Nothing makes me happier than watching you assert yourself. And let me be clear, at the same #$%&ING TIME, nothing frustrates me more! But we’ll get to that tension in a moment.
But if there’s anything to focus on for this moment, well, it’s your swimming. Holy heck, your swimming. Watching you take on swimming with such conviction and relentlessly committing to being able to swim on your own … magic, I think that’s most emblematic of who you are.
You have this innate desire to be incredible at what you do. You’re wickedly competitive (you get that from your Mama). It’s not simply a choice to be incredible, however, it’s to be witnessed as having performed incredibly well.
Taking on swimming at camp, where we couldn’t watch you progress every day, was the perfect scenario. You were able to hone your craft until one day, at the Metuchen Pool, you were ready for the swim test (which you then proceeded to knock out of the park).
It was at that moment that I realized our job is going to be less about pushing you to do great things; our job, as your parents, is going to be doing more and making more space for you to stop and celebrate how wonderful you are.
And I’ll tell you, Magic, it’s hard. It’s really hard to be your Buhboo. It’s hard to balance all of the amazing things you do so well with all of the potential I see ahead of you. I’m still learning how to be a parent. Every day you’re learning how to be a kid, just remember, I’m right along side you, learning how to be a parent to you in that moment.
I’m still learning.
Swimming was your emblematic, personal highlight, for the completion of your 7th year. But I’ll tell you, the highlight of our time together was the breakthrough conversation we had about that point above: about how I’m trying to do a better job balancing my role as your Buhboo.
The breakthrough conversation was after your first week of second grade, where you had gotten in trouble for being so chatty that your seat had to be moved!
You took the feedback to heart. From us. From your teacher. And you changed your behavior. Magic. It was magic.
That night, after we heard from Ms Santasieri, we all spoke as a family and then I tucked into bed next to you. (I’ve enjoyed our nighttime chats, and I’m happy I’m able to make more space for you and your brother just before bed, thanks for making that ask for me on Father’s Day). We talked about that delicate balance I have to strike in your life; the difference between wanting you to be happy in this moment, and wanting you to be your best self over time.
You were not yet 8 and you were a young 2nd grader, but you understood that dynamic in your soul and in your heart. And it’s been wonderful to watch you repeat that to me in those tough times where I have to shift from purely loving you in this moment, with making sure you don’t forget all you’ve done (and all the times you’ve doubted yourself before taking the next step) and all you’re going to do (you, at your best, I truly believe, Magic, is the best this world can offer).
Which is why today, I’m locking in that when it comes to you, please know, in your heart of hearts, that I am always Happy, Proud, and Satisfied. Whatever you are, makes me my happiest, my most proud, and my most satiated.
I can embrace this because I know your competitive fire, your integrity, your passion, your focus will drive you to create a personal flywheel for yourself that the world has never seen before. And our job is to make you feel safe enough to experiment, to test, and to work through and toward your inevitable and ultimate greatness (and whatever you choose to be great at!)
I know the world also, will try to extinguish that fire, to break that integrity, to confuse that passion, to divert that focus … and I’ll be with you, every time that happens.
To remind you, that your best self is better than the world has ever seen. And then, create space and spaces for you to choose what you want to pursue next. (Create space for love and greatness, right Magic, don’t chase either, just create space.)
Your Mama and I are always and forever, Happy, Proud, and Satisfied of who you are in this moment. And infinitely supportive of who you want to be next. Why? Because as we spoke about that one night in September, your life is not about what we want for you, but rather, how you want and choose to define and pursue what being your best self means to you.
We got you.
I love you.