Dear Lucas and Kyra,
You're at Auntie's house tonight, a Valentine's Day gift for us and for you. You love visiting her house, and I hope you will always see the homes of your extended family as a happy extension of your home here. Right about now you are getting into the bathtub and, if Auntie is the superstar we know her to be, you might even spend a few minutes publishing (typing) your story, Kyra, and reading from an early reader library book, Lucas. Auntie already mentioned how amazed she is that you can read! We're amazed, too, and love every moment of your learning.
We spent the afternoon at The Lion King here in Hartford--what a glorious show, even from the balcony! Kyra, you were taking it in through the binoculars, repeating the play by play to Daddy, not so much to explain to him what was happening, but to prove to him that you understood it all. Eight must be the perfect age for a show, as I think five-year-old Lucas would have happily left at the intermission. The stage version plays down the battles and adds a fair amount to the human-relational element, so you were struggling to hang on, Lucas. You were on my lap for the whole show and, despite the fidgets, it was the longest stretch I have spent with you in a long time. I wouldn't give up a minute!
I was wishing last night for some time to spend on your baby book, Lucas--you lost your second tooth this week (now both those top two teeth are out), and they are coming out so quickly, we can't even remember the details of each loss anymore. Some day you'll open that baby book and wonder about all those gaps and holes (and not gaps and holes from the toothless pictures I should be taking!). Know that the gaps are not there because we don't notice--rather, I think we spend our full energy on the noticing in the moment, and leave nothing for the documentation. This blog post is my (weak) attempt to let you know, "We see you." Truly, we do, and Daddy and I spend some part of every day marveling at who you are becoming.
We need to find you a gymnastics class, as you love to swing between the dining room wall and chairs (parallel bars, anyone?), and at the present moment you are fascinated with all things Star Wars, thanks to your ever-expanding Lego collection. In your best moments, you and Kyra are best pals, running from the tower of Lego bins in your room to the basement for lacrosse and basketball. Of course there's also the pleas each morning to play on the computer or watch a program on television. We do notice you, and wish often we could freeze moments in time to capture an image of your toothless smile, your determination as you attempted ice skating just a week or two ago (succeeding in only 40 minutes to be a comfortable, eager skater!), and of course your concentration as you draw one of your remarkable works of art.
Kyra, the other night I pulled open your school drawer and was stunned to see a page of cursive words. Your handwriting looked so grown-up, as though I was peering at the work of a teenager, rather than an eight-year-old. You had recently tucked in the mark sheet for your "Moving to Mexico" Social Studies collage. Undoubtedly either Daddy or I had recycled the grading rubric, not realizing how important it was to mark this moment when you set out to get "meets expectations" and walked home with "excels." It's hard for me to believe that we are already at the age where we lose sleep together for homework projects. Third grade has been a big year for you. You've excelled with your teacher; you are happy every single day to be back with your best friend Lilia, and you read every book you can put your hands on. They know you almost as well at the library as we know you at home! I also love that you're learning how to play the piano and how to notate music on a score at church. I announced today that I love that you have homework from church--church homework??!! Who would have thought? As with every assignment, you take it on with your usual sense of responsibility and focus.
I hope some of your "good student" energy can rub off on me! It's time for me to get back to the paper I'm writing--a not-unfamiliar scene after you head to bed each night and on the weekends. I hope some day I can be in school when you're in school, and enjoy the evenings even more with you and Daddy. This will come at some point, I expect. For now, I'm going to soak up all I can from the days and nights that we have. You bring joy to every one of them!
I love you. Happy Valentine's Day.