Every year I say it. And every year it’s true.
I can’t believe you’re another year older!
They say, “It goes by too fast.” “In the blink of an eye.” And, boy, do I feel it. You are getting older and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I always thought that I would look back on your baby years and miss you, but as I sit here with the seven year old version of you sleeping upstairs, I realize that I love and cherish you at any age. You are growing into the most amazing boy I have ever met. Each year brings a newer and more awe inspiring version of you. It has been such a pleasure watching you grow.
You are kind and soulful. You have a wisdom beyond your years. We have always called you an “old soul,” which two-year-old you would parrot back, “an old sould.” You have the courage of your convictions, which is so rare in an eight year old. We like to say that it’s because you are “little Daddy.” But, I hope you know that while you have all of the best qualities of your Daddy, you are still your own person. You are free to grow and be whomever you are meant to be.
You are the spunkiest, most animated and enthusiastic kid I know! You have a willingness to try anything that I hope doesn’t get you into trouble in college! I always call you, “Charlie C: lover of life” because there is nothing you won’t happily do. Minutes before you were about to go on stage at the Mr. Oakcrest pageant, you said, “Mommy, do you think everyone in this room wishes they were me?” I said, “Of course, Charlie, but why?” You said, “Because I get to go up on stage!” I thought to myself, “this kid can do anything.”
You are the best big brother! You are so patient with Finn and the babies. I know there are plenty of age appropriate shows you could be watching, but you never complain that we watch “Barney” all day. When I banned “Phineas and Ferb” because Finn was copying some bad words, you didn’t bat an eye.
I love watching you interact with the babies. Henry is your little doppelganger. You carry him around the house on your back like he’s your little spider monkey. And Tallulah! Oh boy! She is the apple of your eye! She could show you the silliest thing and you make her feel like she is the center of the universe. (That’s exactly how I fell in love with your Daddy, so it’s definitely a charm you will want to keep.)
I know it’s hard sometimes having a brother with autism. It’s a big concept for an eight year old to comprehend, but like I said, you’re an old soul. I knew you “got it” when you were five years old and I asked if you thought Finn had autism, and you plainly said, “yup.” And you’ve been rolling with the punches ever since (even quite literally sometimes… Finn packs a powerful punch!)
I know it feels like Finn has a different set of rules. I know it feels like you always have to be the flexible one. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed. We are all learning and growing as we go. Our road isn’t always easy, but I know we are stronger for it. Things will get easier. I promise.
I hope you always know how much I love you. I know I am supposed to be the one teaching you, but you will never know how much you have taught me. Thank you for being you. You are going to change the world some day. You’ve already changed mine!
Happy 8th Birthday, Charlie.