Letter to Max at 7 Years

Dear Max,

With every year you live, my feelings for you deepen, while my words to express it do not. How do you describe that feeling when you see your child’s face? Every parent knows it. We can smile knowingly at each other, because we are both in on the grand secret. But I don’t want it to be a secret. I want you to KNOW.

I want you to know that your face is sunshine. When your glasses are off, you still look like little Max. When they are on, I see big Max taking shape. I see your Daddy.

I want you to know that my heart hurts with love for you. When you were young, that love was formless and shapeless. We enjoyed all the time in the world. Hurts, heartbreak, and tough questions all hovered safely in the future. Tomorrow’s problem. But tomorrow has come. In a little over a decade, you will be 18. The time of guiding and letting go bit by bit is upon us.

I don’t want you to know about Hitler, 9/11, terrorists, stranger danger, racism, school shootings, and death. But you do. I didn’t want you to learn at 3 that children can die, but you did.

I am glad that you know how babies are made, that love wins, that black lives matter. I am proud we can have these tough conversations and that you know you can ask me anything. I hope that will continue. I will keep talking to you whether you ask or not, because 2016 has shown us that those conversations are more important than ever and that they must be ongoing. Omitting the bad does not automatically make the present good unfortunately. Spreading a good message once does not automatically counteract a lifetime of bombardment.

We live in a great and terrible time. I feel that all of these horrible tragedies will lead somewhere good. People are realizing this will not go away without action. You are seeing history made.

I want you to be part of that history. I believe your generation is going to do better and be better than any has before. In spite of, or perhaps because of our over-parenting, you will all clean up the mess left by hate and misguided good intentions and move the human race forward TOGETHER.

For now, you are still my little boy, on the cusp of being a big boy. You are bumpy and bony, all elbows and legs, and taller than me when you sit on my lap. But your cheeks retain a remnant of baby roundness. Your smile is still sometimes full of heartbreaking sweetness and innocence. You have fluffy little boy hair that makes me want to postpone each trim as long as I can.

I want you to know that Daddy and I are so proud of the hard work you have put in this past year. The autism diagnosis was a bit hard on you at first. I know you get so tired from ABA, OT, and all the other acronyms. All of this hard work will pay off. It is so much better to do it now, rather than when you are older. YOU HAVE COME SO FAR. You can do anything, kid.

I want you to know that you are still the best big brother ever. Scarlett lights up when she sees you, runs to throw her arms around you, and says, “Hi, Max” before she greets anyone else.

Seven years ago tonight, I received my first inkling that I might finally meet you. Less than 24 hours later, you were in my arms. You made me a mom. You made that dream come true.

I want you to know that no one inspires me to greater heights of silliness and creativity than you. I love that we both love puns and fart jokes. I love that we both love to read and be home with our families.

I want you to know all about life and love, sweet Max. I want to know all about you. Tomorrow, we begin our eighth year on those journeys.

I love you so, so much, with all my heart, soul, and whatever’s left of my brain.


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