Burke, this evening at 10:36 you turned eight. Even now, as I listen to your unrestrained laughter with friends in the other room, I can scarcely believe it. Eight years. Just. Like. That. Most mornings, you still meander into our bedroom to snuggle, letting out a deep mumble of “good morning,” and I hold you near to me as though you are still that tiny six pound baby I’m meeting for the first time; only now your limbs stretch almost as long as my own and there’s no sign of stopping them yet.  Some days I glimpse your teenage face peeking through, and at once I want to laugh and cry. But today you’re eight — as in more than the days that make up a week or the size labeled on my shoes — and I want to wrap you up in these words so I can do what time itself won’t allow — savor your childhood sweetness.  At seven, you developed a love for basketball and football and wearing your fuzzy hat. Sometimes you even sleep in this hat because as you tell us, it keeps your head warm, although I think you just like the way its soft fur snuggles you. You still love to read and have jumped into the Tolkien world along with your brother, at times voluntarily memorizing some of the poems or dwarves’ songs, and I’m grateful in these moments that you don’t feel criticized by your peers for your curiosity or passions. You of course have more than enough of both. Burke, you have always taught me how to observe the natural world with patience and tenderness, sometimes by gently holding a bumble-bee or laughing at the squirrels playing in the trees; you climb trees and run shirtless daily exploring. Sometimes you get so upset your voice reaches the highest pitches as if trying to break everyone else’s hearts over your own. I couldn’t possibly recreate it. Yet other times you cannot contain your guttural laughter. You love telling jokes, and lately have been creating your own. We must at times seems confused because you always cue us with smiles and laughs to show us when it’s our turn to laugh. Ha! Turning eight  — as in eight blinks and you’re already halfway to driving. What will you discover this year? I don’t know, but let’s find out tomorrow. Today, we stop to celebrate your birth with donuts and a backyard fire and a s’mores cake and friends sleeping over and Return of the Jedi playing on the living room wall and blueberry pancakes to end it all tomorrow. Then we’ll see what else there is. I love you, my “dessert-atarian.”

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  1. Holden Caulfield had a hat kind of like Burke’s. Sometimes we all just need a little softness about our heads to mute the world. Happy 8 years of life Burke.

    1. Haha! Just perfect, Patti. Is it alright if I just have you write their birthday letters in the future? I’ll send you notes.

      And thanks for the birthday wishes; I’ll be sure to pass them along.

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