Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Love, more

Once again, I'm writing letters to my sons.  For their birthday.

Dear not-so-little man,

This summer you and your brother started to do the lawns of several neighbors.  You announced it was a company, started "hiring" friends to do jobs and even used money from your godmother to invest in a new weed whacker.

I really did not take this all seriously.  Until an 11-year-old called the house in July asking if there was a meeting that Friday night to discuss the weekend jobs.  I was informed by you there was such a meeting and sure enough several boys were in my front yard promptly at 5:00 pm discussing cutting lawns, pulling weeds and laying mulch.

According to the neighbors who hired "the company" you are the taskmaster of the group.  You assign the jobs, keep people focused and save most of your fussing for your brother.  I've heard many an argument between you two about who "owns" the company and who is the "boss".

However, what I also saw this summer was a commitment to getting a job done well, being courteous to customers in the hopes they will rehire you, and worrying about the conditions of neighbor's lawns while they were out-of-town but hadn't hired you to tend them.  "Should I just cut their lawn?" you would ask.

So when you are lazy on the couch, laughing hysterically over sit-coms like Reba, I think about your company.  And know you are going to be just fine.

Happy 12th birthday.  You are my not-so-little man.


Dear not-so-little man,

A few weeks ago your brother was going off the deep end about something ridiculous and became very rude to me in the process.  The three of us had two more errands, both fun, and I informed him that not only was he not going with us I was taking him back to the house to stay home alone.

The last fun errand was to get junk food for watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics (because it is our family tradition to watch athletic matches while eating horrible food - think Super Bowl).  Since your brother was not with us we were not getting him any special food.

You, however, would not stand for it.  You got a bag of chips you knew your brother liked, turned to me and declared "He's my brother and I am sharing with him."  That was fine with me. This was not your punishment so if you chose to share with him that was fine.

You were also very antsy to get home to him.  "He can't be alone" you informed me.

"More like you miss him?" I asked.

"Yes" you said quietly, looking down.

So home we went.  Because your brother's punishment shouldn't make you suffer too.

Happy 12 birthday not-so-little man.  Who won't admit that he is a big softie inside.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Happiness

Dear Daughter,

In New York City last week you were happily chomping on a chocolate chip pancake as a singing server at Ellen's on Broadway started to belt out "Notice Me Horton" from Seussical, the musical you were in earlier this month.  While you were a Bird Girl, you knew just about every other part.  The singer noticed you crooning, came up behind you and stuck the microphone into your face as you finished chewing.

She was clearly expecting you to recoil, to cringe at the thought of singing so publicly in front of strangers eating their breakfast in a Broadway diner.

She had not met you.

You proceeded to sing the rest of the introduction to the song as the wide-eyed server cheered you on.  Other servers noticed and started to clap.

But when you told the story the next day you made it sound like you were reluctant and did not sing very well.  Even though our neighbors were impressed with the story you lowered you shoulders, looked down and acted as if it was not a big deal.

It made me think of a quote by Bobbe Sommer:  

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not ‘modesty’.  It’s self-destruction.  Holding your uniqueness in high regard is not ‘egotism’.  It’s a necessary precondition to happiness and success.”

I told you to be proud of your confidence and talents.  You should not be embarrassed that you like to perform.  You enjoy it and your family enjoys watching you.

Earlier this month a reporter from our local paper was at the first big dress rehearsal for Seussical.  She was interviewing cast members when you charged up to her and said,
“Have you heard of Harper?  Well here I am!”

The reporter could not get enough of you.  I spoke to her a few weeks later and she still thought you were funny, confident and talented.
Which you are.  As you start your 8th year, please stay that way.

Happy birthday.
I love you,