Saturday, June 4, 2022

Oskar Turns Eight

Dear Oskar,

Today, you are eight. EIGHT. Growing bigger, older, and more mature every single day, and I feel like our time together and our conversations are bigger, older, and more mature too. What an incredible year of growth you’ve had this year. The pride we feel in getting a front row seat to you navigating your way through these childhood years is something only a mother could dream.

You’ve had a wonderful school year and have surrounded yourself with so many friends. You started off the year having to wear a mask due to the pandemic but were able to stop wearing one in February, also after being fully vaccinated. What a rollercoaster of a few years we’ve had, but I finally feel the worry lessening and a normal childhood returning. The way we’ve filled our home with a bunch of boys time and again really speaks to how much everybody just adores you. This is also evident any time we go anywhere because somebody always knows you and wants to talk to you. Kindness and empathy, first, always, which you’ve exuded over and above and made such a wonderful tribe of friends to navigate elementary school with. Academically, you’ve succeeded again beyond our wildest dreams, skipping an entire academic year in math and still finishing with a 99.2%. Every other subject was mastered, too, resulting in a gifted IEP and discussions about how to keep your curious and brilliant mind challenged. You’re hardest on yourself and persist until you excel. There are seriously great things ahead for you, I just know it.

Another year older and still up at 6am every single day. You tiptoe downstairs and start your day with Netflix or Nintendo, waiting for the rest of the household and world to wake up. You look so much older than you did last year, with your adult teeth all growing in and wiggly or missing teeth finally slowing down. You’re so long and lean—so long, in fact, that we all call you Oskar-long-legs because they’re always either folded up underneath you or splayed out on someone else’s chair or lap. It’s those long legs and your phenomenal speed that have made you a soccer super-star this year, scoring goal after goal and dominating every game. We absolutely love to watch you play. You’ve gained so much confidence and have been surrounded by a team of your very best friends, and I know these soccer years will go down as core memories from childhood. Big hugs after a buzzer beater to win the game or lifting up teammates when they make a big play—you’ll remember it all. You just had try-outs for a travel team, and you played your heart out to make it.

Your perfectionism has really made you a good athlete all around, and you started golf and continued karate this year, too. Needless to say, our weeknights are busy, and it feels like a tornado to get everyone’s homework done, dinner on the table, activities attended, baths/showers checked off, and off to bed. You’ve been reading Harry Potter with your dad and lots of different chapter books with me. We finished “Danny Champion of the World” and “The Witches” this year, both of which turned out to be favorites of us both. You still have your 8 yellow bunnies, the Hoppies, and line them up on your pillow and kiss them goodnight. When that comes to an end my heart will probably shatter, so please don’t ever stop.

You love scary books, Minecraft, swimming, learning about North Korea, and Green Day. Quite the eclectic little soul.

Your relationship with August is also growing, changing, and evolving, and is less imaginative play now than it is physical—playing outside, swimming, wrestling—or then, coming together for favorite shows or movies, or to play a Nintendo game together. I love that you’re in back-to-back grades because your friends have become joint ones. Seeing you get on the bus together or playing with friends together at playgrounds or at our house reconfirms what I’ve known all along: you’re best friends. And as for Maren, she’s the boss in this house and we all know it. She loves nothing more than her brothers, and watching you take care of her or make her laugh is a dream. She’s also inherited your early waking hours, and watching you two snuggle up on the couch in the mornings gets me every time.

You wished for drums for your birthday and got a set so that you could start a band with August called The Rockers. You’ll start lessons later this year, another thing I know you’ll be amazing at due to your math-mindedness. Otherwise, we’re celebrating you with a big group of all of your very best friends, swimming and eating pizza, and then heading off to Finland and Norway on the day of your actual birthday. This will be your 7th international trip, and I’m still so proud that we’ve made this work as a family of 5. We went just 6 months ago right after Christmas, so you'll get to live the winter and summer in Scandinavia within just a handful of months of each other. It’s not easy, and it’s not a vacation as much as it is an adventure, but in the end it’s always worth it.

There are no words for how much we love you and how proud we are of you, Oskar. We’re navigating the way right along side of you, and you make it so darn easy. To my insightful, inquisitive, introspective, deep thinking, analytical, blue-eyed baby boy: happy, happy birthday. You’re my favorite big kid in the whole wide world.



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