Letter to Max at Five Years

Dear Max,

I am writing your annual letter to you early this year, since your baby sister is due two days after your birthday.

Two weeks ago, you finished preschool. You will be 5 at the end of July. I can’t believe we are almost 5 years into this parenting gig. The last 5 years have been the most amazing of my life.

However, both good and difficult times have the potential to amaze a person. Our family has endured much during the last school year. Even though Lucy’s death and the loss of Baby Bean occurred before it began, the repercussions of both were still fresh. Baby Bean’s loss was less than a month before you started preschool.

During the last week of school, you brought home a portfolio containing all of your schoolwork from this year. At the beginning of the year, you produced an indecipherable scribble when asked to write your name. Now you can see a clear “MAX”. At first, you could count to 11, now you can count to 29.

During the early days, you didn’t want to go and would cling to me at drop-off. Now, you still give me a hearty, tight, hug, but then release me willingly and go to join your teachers and friends.

We enjoyed a wonderful week of vacation before you started your summer program. I planned just a couple of activities, not enough to be overwhelming. I knew that you and I both needed our home time together. You are a homebody at heart, just like me.

The summer program got off to a bit of a rough start. They instituted a behavior chart program since last summer. You didn’t earn a whole sticker the first day, because you didn’t listen very well. You were so upset, but on the second day, one of your teachers told me you were her best listener during art class. You finally told me at the grocery store after school that you “earned a whole sticker like you always dreamed of”.

I am so proud of you for trying and succeeding. You have yet to go through an independent phase. We haven’t heard “I do it myself” from you very often, but when you decide you want something you really go for it. Whenever you play the letter-writing game on your Leappad, you become so frustrated when you don’t stay in the lines and earn your three stars. You cry and get so upset, but you always keep trying through the tears. You cry and cry and try and try. Sometimes you ask for help, which I am glad to see. I’m glad you know how to do that. And I do hope you learn how to give yourself time and take a break when you need it. I hope you will learn to harness your determination and make it work for you, instead of running yourself into the ground with it.

At this time in my life, the anniversary of Lucy’s death seems to be the fulcrum on which my year turns. In the year since our family changed forever on that day, I have enjoyed so many precious times with you. I feel more bonded to you than ever. I did my best to help you through your confusion and grief and, despite your young age, you helped me through mine. Sometimes I wished I could collapse into a ball and do nothing, but I couldn’t because you needed me. Although that was hard at times, I am so grateful to you. You have given me a reason to get up every morning since your birth almost 5 years ago and that was crucial this past year.

Max, you have been my almost constant companion for the past 5 years. As an introvert, that has worn on me a bit at times, because I just can’t be around anyone all the time, no matter how much I love them. I need alone time to recharge. But you have been pure joy, the firstborn I needed. You are a wonderful, loving, smart, sweet boy.

When I found out you were a boy, Grandma told me that “boys sure love their mamas”. That wasn’t the first time she relayed that information to me. I basically understood what she meant, but wondered what was so special about it. After all, she and I have always been close. I didn’t get a chance to compare with Lucy very much, so I don’t know if this is solely a product of your age or if Grandma is right. But you have shown me so much love during the past year. I can tell that you would choose to be with me over anything else just because I am your mom. I don’t think I have ever felt such love and pure-hearted devotion from anyone. I am the center of your world. This love is such an honor and so much to live up to. I know it won’t last in such a pure form. You will become an adult and my very human flaws and foibles will become more visible to you. Your feelings for me will become more complex.

So, I will cherish these last two months before Scarlett arrives, this last summer before full-time kindergarten, these sweet years when I am your first love.

I will cherish that “My Little Pony” is your current favorite show unsullied for you by the fact that Target only sells MLP underwear in the girls’ section, subtly (and wrongly) telling you it’s not for you.

I will cherish the pride I feel in your new reading skills and your excitement to meet your new baby sister.

I will cherish the growing comfort and security you seem to feel in the world, as evidenced by your happy participation in Show Day at Little Gym, where you insisted on doing all of your moves “pony-style”.

I will cherish the dreamy smiles you give me as you drift off to sleep while I sit next to you at night.

I will cherish every cuddle session on my lap, every time you “kiss [my] beautiful blue eyes”.

I love you a million Oreos, Max-moo, my little byoo. (Not sure how I came up with that, but I call you that all the time. I think it’s short for “Beautiful Boy”, one of the songs I love to sing to you.)

The next time I write to you, much will have changed, but I hope you will feel more loved by me than ever, along with enjoying love and adoration from your new baby sister. She is so lucky to have you, as are we all.

Love, Mama


  1. Debi Shaw said,

    June 10, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    sweet… made me tear up, cause I know what an awesome mom you are just by your letters… honest and awesome… ❤

  2. August 5, 2014 at 11:51 am

    […] two days ago. (I wrote Max’s birthday letter a few months ago in case you want to check it out: https://kittymomma.com/2014/06/10/letter-to-max-at-five-years/) July is a special month for us. Chris and I met on July 30, 2005, thanks to our mutual friend […]

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