This is who he is today. Two months from six-years-old, a pre-school graduate, eight weeks away from starting kindergarten. He wouldn’t think of not dressing up to graduate. He is obsessed with anything having to do with the creatures who live in the ocean, especially Giant Squid and Sperm Whales. He still has all of his baby teeth, but three of them are “wobbly”, as he likes to say. He is polite, saying “Excuse me” whenever he has a question for an adult. He can’t walk by a dog without petting it. He loves to show younger kids the ropes. He loves to look at older girls. He is so into Big Time Rush music that it’s all we listen to in the car. He still says “mine” instead of my… As in, “This is mine book about sea creatures.” He is so proud of the trophy he got for completing his t-ball season. He hugs his friends with all of his might. He hugs and kisses me all the time. He yells, “I love you” and “air hug” and “remember to say I love you in your head today” any time we say goodbye. He can’t stand making mistakes, he loves to draw, he’s an incredibly fast runner, and he’s got a “great arm”. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up he’ll say, “I want to study Whales and Squids and get to see them battle in the deep, deep ocean”, or “A paleontologist”. He doesn’t like vegetables, except for carrots. He loves any kind of fruit you put in front of him. His favorite foods are pizza and burgers… And anything made with sugar. He wants a sibling. He is joyful and stubborn and incredibly smart and funny.
This is who he is… Today.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since Garrett was born, it’s to expect constant change. Phases that last for a year, that I think will never end, end with a whisper. Obsessions change in the blink of an eye.
For nearly a year, G couldn’t go to sleep without a song called “No Dreams Garrett”. It was accompanied by a hand gesture that indicated a magic spell and sips of his water that turned into a potion. One night he didn’t want the song. And that was that.
For about six months last year, G was having anxiety. (Probably because I was having anxiety too.) Every day he asked if he was going to throw up. Then one day he stopped.
For nearly two years, we couldn’t pass any major landmark in our lives… The school, the diner, the store… Without G (and us) yelling out loud what we were passing. We don’t really do that anymore.
One thing that never changed was our goodbye ritual at school. For three years of preschool, G and I hugged, kissed, hugged and kissed again, then had an elaborate waving ritual with him at the window, and me walking toward the car. The windows changed as he got older, but not the goodbyes. “I love you”, “Air hug”, “See you at three” was paired with thumbs-up, waves, salutes, air hugs, and one final wave after rounding the corner then popping back around. Tuesday was our last one of those. I know next year “Real School” starts, and that won’t happen again.
I know these “endings” are harder for me than they are for him. They stab at my heart with a sharp edge, but the pain fades as the new beginnings start. And as much as I know the changes are as inevitable as my pride in seeing him grow, I pray that some things last forever:
I pray that his joyous nature will not change. I pray he will always be kind and mindful of others. I pray that he makes fast friends who are true and good, and have his best interests at heart. I pray that he has an adventurous spirit but stays cautious. I pray that we remain close. I pray he isn’t afraid to talk to me about anything, ever. I pray that he marries a partner worthy of him, that he is happy in his work, that he is confident and brave and unafraid to love.
I pray that in the years before he becomes an adult, his days are filled with fun and laughter and that his childhood is a memorable one for only good reasons.
I pray we can keep up with all of his constant changes.
I love who my kid is today. And I can’t wait to see who he is tomorrow.