My sweet small Dude~
Six years ago I laughed you in to the world – literally. I won’t scar you with too many gory details, but I will tell you that you came into the world as I laughed out loud – a great, big loud, guffaw…. and I had the pure pleasure of pulling you up onto my stomach. I was the very first one to touch you as you were born.
You have brought me nothing but pure joy since that very first moment. Watching you grow, absorbing the world around you, inquisitive and delighted to learn, I’m reminded each day of the treasure you bring into my world.
As all mothers do, I have goals, dreams and wishes for you. I have, as you can imagine, dozens of them, but on this 6th anniversary of that laughing moment, I will limit myself to the six I wish for most.
I wish for the kind heart I see you in now to stay firmly in place. Keep it, nurture it, handle it with care. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too sensitive. You are the first to hold your sister’s hand when she is scared, the first to run for the ice pack when someone is hurt, the first to panic when hockey players fight because the brawling for no reason is perplexing to you. You think to tell other parents their child did well in a game. The best part of my day is the joy infused by your smile, your hugs, the tender way you put your hand on my face or suddenly say, “Mommy, how was YOUR day?” I couldn’t live without your affection and kindness.
Don’t ever apologize for who you are, for what you want, for how hard you have worked or where you are going in life. I don’t doubt you will work hard, but I can already see signs that you are quick to apologize, to back down. Don’t. You have learned this from me and I wish I could take it back. Stand your ground, be proud of you. Do not live to make others happy or to measure up to someone else’s expectations. Be Cooper. This is enough.
Be a student. Be a teacher. Learn at every opportunity. Read. Be inquisitive. Ask. And when you know something and know it well – teach others. Do not hoard your knowledge, your gifts – share them. There is inherent beauty in being both student and teacher. It is a gift to learn and a privilege to teach.
I wish you wins and losses, trophies and empty shelves. As much as I would love to see you succeed in everything you do… as much as I believe in your gifts, I must wish you challenges. For it is within the losses, the 3rd, 4th and 5th places, and the failures that your character will be built. It is my job, as your mom, to do my best to guide you through these moments. If everything was to be easy for you, you would be ill-prepared for the ‘real’ world. I promise you, life is not always easy.
Your dreams: do them. Your heart: follow it. Your family: treasure them. Your friends: be loyal to them. Your fears: embrace them and allow them to make you stronger. The money you earn: respect it. Your passion: LIVE IT.
Seek joy. Every single day, find something that makes you happy and do it. Be it big or small – an act of kindness, listening to a song you love, calling a friend, watching a ball game with your dad - it quite simply doesn’t matter. What matters is that you spend a portion of each day smiling and laughing. This is how you came in to the world, it is only fitting that keep the tradition going.
And my ‘one to grow on’ - I wish to be here for each of your moments…. to keep you on track.
Cooper, you are what bliss looks like in a little boy. You are dirty and messy, you snuggle and love me. I melt when you say, “I haven’t had my hugs and kisses yet today, Mommy”. I adore that you need to be burrowed into your bed at night in order to sleep. I will never forget your need for extra light, how you still climb in to my bed in the morning (sometimes in the middle of the night) just because I’m ‘warm’.
And nothing gets to me more than hearing you say, “I love you, my Mommy”. Thank you, sweet, small dude – for completing our family.
I will always love you, my buddy.