Friday, March 29, 2024

August Turns 8

Dear August,

Happy 8th birthday. My boy full of imagination, the goofiest and silliest, the mushiest of hearts.

Nothing makes you happier than a sunny day and somebody to throw a football to you. A happy-go-lucky pacifist who plays up with Oskar or down with Maren, the glue holding our sibling set together.

Your years have progressed from an all-consuming interest in Batman, to Luigi, to Harry Potter, and now football, always with costumes or uniforms to accompany. We call them your “eras”, and when you’re in one you’re in it big. Your football knowledge has gone through the roof, with you sputtering facts about trades and strategies and players, your mornings spent reviewing film or YouTube videos of the greatest interceptions or worst fumbles. You’ve rewatched the biggest NFL come back of all time more times than I can count, always sitting on the edge of your seat for the result.

This year in school has been an exercise of figuring out how you learn best. Your little body was not meant to sit in a seat for 8 hours a day and we’ve worked in different ways at home for you to be successful. All of the credit and accolades should really go to the kids like you who have to work for it where it doesn’t always come intuitively, and I’m so proud of you for all the time we’ve spent together to make it click.

You are a friend to everybody but still have your favorite handful, and it’s so evident that you found your people when you are with them. The silliest inside jokes and made-up games that nobody else understands: this is the happiness of which 8-year-olds are made.

A lover of sports, you’re still sometimes shy to play them, especially intimidated by anybody who may be older than you. Any frustration of losing is outweighed by you playing well. You’re starting flag football for the first time now, and your ear-to-ear smile after catching a Hail Mary pass in the endzone at practice might just well make your entire season. You finished your first basketball season and by the end, had come all the way out of your shell and had celebration dances after every bucket that had the crowd rolling. You’ve also come so far in soccer, and watching the transition from clusters of kids on a field to the strategy of positioning and passing is so fun. You’re a leader on your team and love putting the ball in the back of the net (and then doing the griddy).

Possibly my favorite new hobby of yours is playing guitar and the way that your dad, Oskar, and you now play music together in the basement. Your dad’s phone is full of videos of the three of you jamming out to a song together, which is something he dreamed about when he had two little boys under two.

This year took you to Disney World, Finland, and Scotland. You loved all of it, especially meeting Pluto and walking the street that inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter in Edinburgh. All of our non-vacation weeks are really just spent counting down to the next one that we can go on together.

You still love a good, long sleep and usually doze off to the most obscure songs playing on your Alexa. You’ve gotten into the Goosebumps books series, always gasping at every cheesy cliffhanger, begging us to read on. Before bed every night you have me do a “daily spin”, a pretend gameshow wheel that I trigger by bopping your finger. I get a different sound effect every night depending on where the imaginary wheel lands, and truthfully, I can’t go to sleep without knowing whether I got a bark or a whoosh of wind that night.

You’re so excited to celebrate this birthday with a football party in our basement. The curated plan is to watch all of the YouTube highlights you’ve queued up over the last months with pizza and popcorn in hand with your small group of very best friends. Your gifts from us are all things sports—a jersey you’ve been wishing for, trading cards and a back-of-the-door basketball hoop. Toys are slowly falling to the wayside, the sign of a boy who’s growing up.

August, it’s impossible not to love you. You’re such a ray of sunshine, a friend to everybody, and have the biggest heart with the world's best laugh. The littlest things make you the happiest, and I hope that never changes.

Happy 8th birthday to my forever baby boy. I love you to the moon.





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