Monday, June 5, 2023

Oskar Turns Nine

Dear Oskar,

Today you are 9. Another year older, another year of those long legs of yours getting even longer, another year of turning everything you touch to gold. It feels good to write these letters at the end of the school year, a look back into where you started and where you are now—always an unimaginable leap ahead in growth and learning. It truly feels like anything you set your mind to you excel at beyond our wildest expectations and we couldn’t be prouder of the human you're becoming.

You wake up at 6am like you always have with the routine of a CEO. We always have to laugh at your militant making of your bed, checking the weather, reading your book, and working on PowerPoint presentations, a true professional in the making before any of the rest of us make it out of bed at all. And then, true to form, you're militantly right back in bed by 8:30 every night, and not a minute later, with you starting to check the time around 7:30 to make sure the schedule stays right on track.

You love school and love to learn, so curious about life and about anything you can’t make sense of, needing to know how it works and why. We always say we need to get you a t-shirt that says, “WAIT, WHAT?”, because if you overhear a conversation or anything that doesn’t make sense to you, you pause everything around you to make sure you fully understand before the world keeps turning.

You’ve made such an amazing group of friends and you care about them all so much, always giving a hug or a high five to anyone you pass in or out of school. Many of them came to your birthday party a few days ago at a big wooden playground that you were so insistent upon. I warned that an outside birthday was always a weather risk, which you then took to Alexa and researched the weather on June 3rd for the last 25 years.  The odds were in your favor, so we rolled with it. Watching you so happy, wild, and free with 30 boys who were there to celebrate you made my heart so happy. You found your friends to love who all love you right back, and one could argue that there’s nothing more important than that.

You turned into a soccer star this year, playing on a travel team that went undefeated. You were a leading scorer and developed such an amazing strategic understanding of the game—positioning and passing and setting up plays with your other teammates. Your talent didn’t go unnoticed, because when taken to cup tryouts, you were selected after the first night—a true testament to your talent. Above all else, I’m just so glad you found your “thing”, something to continue to work and excel at with some of your best friends and teammates along for the ride.

You also started drum lessons not too long ago. Your math-mindedness has made you a natural, and even your teacher marvels at your patience and determination to get it just right. "I've never met an eight-year-old who has this level of focus", he told me one day. Us either.

In November you had a horrible break to your upper arm at school during recess, requiring a rushed trip to Children’s Hospital, a late night 3-hour surgery, and pins to set the bone in place. Watching you in so much pain was one of the single hardest things I’ve ever had to endure. The recovery was long and slow, and even after your cast came off you still required 7 weeks of physical therapy to regain your strength and mobility. You gave up a lot of what you loved for a long time, and I’m so thankful that the whole ordeal is now finally behind us. It made for a memory we’ll never forget.

Your favorite things are pizza, Green Day, and playing outside with your forever best friend and next-door neighbor Frederick. You started putting gel in your hair every morning before school, a tangible sign of getting older. You’re working your way through the Harry Potter series with your dad and the Mysterious Benedict Society with me.  Your birthday gifts are an assortment of various things we’ve picked up along the way that reminded us of you—a big comfy pillow, a concert t-shirt, a watch (since you always need to know the time), a music stand, some of your favorite books, a Pitt banner, and a Ratatouille pin to add to your Disney pin collection—your favorite ride from your favorite trip we took this year. We’re heading out again to Finland, the Åland Islands, and Scotland in a few short weeks, adding countries 6 and 7 to your passport. Traveling the world feels like my dream coming true every time we set off on another adventure together.

You’re a role model to August, a helper with Maren, and the kind of son that everybody dreams of having. You’re a leader, naturally gifted at everything you try, but also the kindest and most empathetic person who tells me all the time how lucky he is. We are pretty unbelievably lucky, too.

Happy birthday Oskar. We love you, we love you, we love you.



01 09 10