Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Donovan,

You've grown taller and thinner and your cheeks are losing their pillowy roundness. You care about showering in the morning and styling your hair. When I ask you a question, sometimes you'll shake your head ever so slightly with a small grimace in a way that seems more like an adult than a kid. I see all of this happen and I'm both stunned at how the time has evaporated so quickly and grateful that you're still a kid.

I've been able to volunteer in your classroom every week, both in third and now in fourth grade. I love seeing you because you always seem happy to see me, greeting me hello and saying goodbye with a hug and a kiss. I see the way the girls watch this and I want to narrow my eyes at them and say, "Back OFF!" haha I also love to see how you are friendly with everyone and that both boys and girls seem to enjoy being around you. You are an avid sportsman but also a gentleman.

School comes easily for you and excelling at math and reading is something you take for granted. I did, too! But it makes the occasional mistake feel like the biggest failure. I try to calm you down but you are convinced that you're the worst. So I let it blow over and hope you'll rebound. You do.

You're doing well at the piano. You chose "Joy to the World" and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as your recital pieces. The teacher remarked that this wasn't surprising, considering your personality. You've practiced those songs and more than a few times I've asked you to not play so loudly (that seems to be a recurring theme in your life, actually). You've replied, "I'm SUPPOSED to play them loud!" Hmm.

All or nothing, that's you. This year we've worked on truth-telling. You maintain that being honest 100% of the time is impossible. Maybe it is. We're working on it.

You've played soccer and football this year and have become an MVP. We're exploring options for taking you to a more competitive level in soccer. You attended a small BYU soccer camp when the team was visiting here and you LOVED it. One of the highlights of your year was being a ball boy at one of their games.

You loved DisneyWorld and Kauai this year. We acquired some rather nasty sunburns in Kauai, but it didn't ruin the trip. You loved every minute at the beach. I wonder how long we'd have to be there before going to the beach wasn't so exciting. A week wasn't long enough. You looked forward to these family trips with eager anticipation, often asking me to recite the chain of events on the day of departure and what we would do and who we would see. You appreciated every detail, and I relished in reviewing these with you.

Toward the end of third grade, they had an in-house field trip where a gemologist brought in various gems and minerals and did a whole presentation. You have become enthralled by this subject, sharing your own presentation with us, grandparents, and your cub scout den. I always giggle as you deliver your information with such enthusiasm. I bought you a little display case for your collection and you are always on the lookout for new stones. When my Mom came out to visit, she brought some of her jewelry so you could see what the gems looked like in their polished state. I'm excited for Christmas because you're going to get some new things for your collection.

You've read just about every Roald Dahl book by now. One night, after finishing a chapter, you closed your eyes and said, in blissful wonder, "I just love the way he describes things. It's like I can see exactly what he's describing." I loved you so much in that moment. Reading good books gives you ideas on how best to describe your surroundings.

You continue to write. This year you published "Joe & Zack: The Big Football Game." You had asked me if I could help you and I said no because it seemed like a lot of work. But Dad said yes because he's a better parent. It took a while because he had to, you know, work. Finally, though, it came. You took it to school where it made quite the impression. Your teacher had you read it to the class. You took questions afterward. Then your second grade teacher, who now teaches sixth grade, asked if you could share it with them. So on another day you brought it in and they had "Guest Author" time for the sixth graders. You read it to them and again took questions. I absolutely love these teachers who encourage and love you. It has been such a wonderful experience. I promise to help you the next time you want to publish a book.

And while you're still loud and fast and stinky, you still come to me sometimes and ask if I can just lie next to you before you go to sleep. We talk about this and that and I usually end up rubbing your back. Your hands are getting bigger, no longer small and fleshy. I tell you that soon I'll be holding YOUR hand, not you holding my hand. You think this is hilarious. Then Dad and I come into your room before we go to sleep to tuck you in one more time and to make sure you aren't turned upside down or inside out. We don't like how much room you take up in your bed. You're too big, we say. Dad thinks the solution is to just buy you a bigger bed.

Watching you grow up is a little bit sad because you no longer dress up like Indiana Jones or pronounce things incorrectly. But it's a whole lot of awesome because I genuinely love spending time with you. Recently you asked if you really had to come with me when I take the girls to ballet on  Mondays. Dad works from home, so this was a valid question. I usually spend the hour they're in class at the Costco up the street. I don't need a companion, but I told you that it was just one afternoon a week and that it was just Mom/Donovan time and we don't get much of that. You're getting older and soon we probably won't have this opportunity. And besides, we can eat all the samples and find new things to try. You thought about this for just a moment and then nodded in agreement. You haven't asked to stay home since, and I love you so much for that.

Someday we won't have Mom/Donovan time, so I want to make sure we have as much of that as possible. You are an intelligent, witty, polite, handsome, athletic, and loving boy and I am just so inexplicably grateful that you are mine. I love you, my Donolove.



Wanda said...

I love that face so much! He is such a loving boy.

Becca said...

Oh Donovan. Such a silly boy. Can't wait for his next book!