HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweet Cash! You are now EIGHT which is not only my favorite number but my favorite age in childhood; the time when innocent wonder and creativity is at its peak and hasn't yet been stifled by pesky self-consciousness. You’re not concerned with what the outside world thinks, haven't become distracted by the opposite sex and most importantly, still wear your heart on your sleeve - all of which aptly describes YOU my love!
Even though we did our usual "birthday photo shoot" a few weeks ago and got some great shots, this simple iphone photo taken during our trip to the Jersey shore is my absolute favorite - perhaps of the whole year! I merely asked if I could take a snapshot of you "looking so handsome on Mommy's birthday" and was given the ultimate gift; for in this moment, I see the purity and sweetness of your soul.
An example of this kindness also shined through in the card you gave me, writing that you “loved me with all your heart" which right there was enough! But then the part about me still loving you even when you're mean to Grey … well, you instantly made the card a classic to be treasured for a lifetime.
There’s no doubt you have your moments of frustration and instigation in your role of older brother: “Mommy, I know that in the future I’m going to be a good brother, but for now Grey really annoys me.” And everyone knows that comes with the territory. Even so, you still look out for him in the best possible ways, understanding better than anyone how to talk to him. You know all of his likes and dislikes, and to my amazement, asked for Nintendo Switch games for your birthday that require at least TWO players so "Grey wouldn't feel left out."
As you get older I’m watching you do the same in school, trying your best to include those a little more shy into your play. And not surprisingly you are the one whose tears well up during a ballad, who says "it makes me sad when you cry Mommy" while gently rubbing my back, and who reminds us to include Grandma when we talk about going to Sewickley. "It's Pow Pow AND Grandma's house! Don’t forget Grandma!" That’s just your essence sweetheart - compassionate, thoughtful and all-embracing.
In other news this month, Grey started his first year at Manhattan Country School which is so exciting! Hurray Grey Bear! As we were heading to school the other morning, you firmly declared: “It’s not Cash’s school anymore, it’s Cash’s and MY school now!” which made us laugh. But you’re absolutely right and we celebrate this transition that you’ve handled with great confidence!
I don’t think anybody was more excited than your buddy George who you’ve come to know over the years while dropping off Cash. Far more than the head of maintenance, George is the emotional touchstone of MCS who greets each child every morning at the front door with hugs or high fives — and in your case Grey, a playful game of hide and seek. Every morning you run to the same corner on the side of the building until George says in his deep Slavic accent, “Is somebody hiding?” as he pretends to look for you. When he “finds” you and tries to catch you, you squeal with the same excitement as if playing it for the first time. But I’ll never forget that one time you switched it up and hid behind a signpost thinking it was the greatest hiding spot — with your big backpack, curly hair and most of your limbs completely visible — making everyone including other passersby crack a smile.
Some big gigantic wishes and prayers are devoted to you boys this month:
Sweet Cash, may your eighth year be filled with wonder, love and uninhibited creativity! And Grey Bear, may you have a terrific first year of “big boy” school at MCS filled with exploration, joy and countless games of hide and seek!
I love you both so much!
Always & forever,