Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Oskar Turns 10

 Dear Oskar,

You’re 10. A decade. 10 years of us, of being a mom. I can’t remember life without you. We’ve learned and grown together, and you’ve forged ahead for every milestone. Pushing me ahead even when it sometimes hurts to let go.  Watching you grow has been the joy and heartbreak of my life. 

I feel like we’re entering tween years now, with extra emphasis on hair gel and cool stuff to wear. We have deep conversations and you ask the most insightful questions. You’re a tall and lanky kid, all legs. You read novel after novel and jam out to Green Day and Blink 182—your dad’s dream come true.

Your school year has been the most independent success story. I’ve barely cracked open a folder all year to check on you, and still, you completed every assignment on your own, off the charts in all the things, but especially math. You’re working a year ahead but barely blinked or thought twice about it, solving long division problems down the sides of pages that made me shudder.

So much of your 10-year-old identity is intertwined in soccer. All consuming for many of our week and weekend days, the amount of time you spend on a field is significant. You’ve grown so much as a player and are so incredibly effective at seeing the field and setting up the play. You understand the game and the strategy behind it at a truly deep level, which has brought you so much success. We’re soaring into another year of cup soccer playing at some of the highest levels. We’ve taken you to Philadelphia and Lancaster this year. I love watching you do what you love.

Figuring out what you wanted for your birthday was a conundrum in itself since you’re totally content with what you have. Soccer jerseys and soccer balls were where we landed, to the surprise of no one.

You have a few best friends that mean just about everything to you. Watching the richness that these friendships have brought to your life is something I hope you feel and have for all of the middle and high school years ahead.

You love to play football outside with your brother and dad and have won Super Bowls together countless times in our front yard together. The epitome of boyhood is calling you all in when it’s dark and you’re covered in mud, but really my heart swells because of it.

You’ve been playing drums for over a year now and have absolutely soared, playing along with your dad in the basement like you’re in a high school band. Your musical talent is one of my favorite parts about you and I think you’re pretty proud of the drum solos you can belt out too.

August is your best friend despite the inevitable fighting after any period that feels a little too peaceful. Your interests in soccer, football, video games, and TV shows you watch all really emphasize how close in age you are. When you have friends over, you all play together, and I hope that always stays that way, into adulthood and beyond.

With Maren, your patience is limited and your insistence on teaching her life lessons or your unwavering emphasis on rules in games drives her absolutely insane. You’re older, but not old enough, to exercise a little more tolerance for a 4-year-old who is as stubborn as they come.

The update in this letter that breaks my heart a little is that your little yellow stuffed animal bunnies fell to the wayside this year, no longer meticulously set up on your pillow when you go to bed every night.  They’re tossed to the side of your bed, the most tangible sign that you’re growing up.

You are the most thankful and appreciative kid and you really don’t ask for much, even when we ask (or maybe just expect) a lot from you. It’s not easy being the oldest, leading the way for a brother and a sister who look to you for just about everything. We’re surprising you with a trip to the beach with our family, but really, this one’s for your birthday. It’s been your dream to go to the ocean and I really wanted to make it happen for you on such a big day. I hope it becomes a core memory for you.

Happy, happy birthday, Oskar Henri. The words for how much I love you do not exist.

 Love always,



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