Ten Years Old

Dear Tad,

Today is the day that you have been counting down to for at least three weeks.  It is really your birthday, and you are really ten years old.

You have grown in height and size over the last year, and you are all limbs.  You do seem to have control over them, when you want to.  Like when you are surreptitiously punching your brother.  I see all, Tad, and I hear all.

This coming year, a lot of change is going to be forced on you.  You are going into fourth grade, which means a new teacher and classroom.  Your beloved ABA therapist will be going on maternity leave for a few months, which means you will miss her terribly for a little bit (and only hopefully for a little bit).  You have new academic challenges to meet, and I know you would rather sit around and color, or surf Google Images for sharks, than do math.  But you are going to have to make an effort, Tad.

Recently, when we were at the library, you were standing in front of the graphic novels section.  And we have a rule: any Batman comic book that you want to check out, I have to look through first, to make sure that it is okay for you.  I told you that “some of these were written for grown-ups, not kids, so you will have to wait to read some of these.”

And you said, with a sigh, “I wish I was taller.”

To you, taller means bigger, and bigger means older.  For you, taller is going to happen sooner than “older” will.  I have been reflecting on how much less grace you are going to get for your less-than-age-appropriate behaviors as you get older.  Our job, as it always has been, is to make sure that we can keep you maturing and growing.  We know that you are capable of it, so even though you will always be behind your peers, at some point, you will have a better understanding of appropriate behaviors and more maturity.  I know you can, Tad.  You’ve learned and grown so much, that I can dare to dream that you can and will do even more.

You are so loved, Tad.  I could never have dreamed when you were born, ten years ago, what kind of adventure we were starting together.  I wouldn’t have believed anyone who would have told me what was to come.  And yet, ten years later, here we are.  You are quirky, passionate, stubborn, single-minded, funny, and loving.  Your sister, brothers, dad and I all love you so very much, and our lives would be very empty without you.

Tad, age 10

Happy 10th birthday, my superhero!


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