Dear Eli,

This has been SUCH an exciting year for you! From starting Kindergarten to graduating out of Tiger’s into big boy Taekwondo, to learning to read… this year has definitely been a year of growth.  In spite of all the growth, I’m happy to report there are some things about you that have stayed perfectly, wonderfully, exactly the same.

Mostly… you’re still one of the fiercest and kindest people I know.

You live core values like they’re the easiest thing.  You exude honor and integrity and kindness in almost all of your interactions. Your empathy is awesome, and it’s not just me that thinks this… you got the “Integrity” award at school this year.

Example 1: In March I was sad, and angry, and missing my parents, and explained that when I told you I didn’t want to hear your fart story (at least you asked!). In response, you sang me the Daniel Tiger song, “sometimes you feel two feelings at the same time! And that’s ok!” I loved that you knew what to say. How to gently remind me. At 6! How do you even know that!? Your Daddy and I aren’t that good – this is one of your God-given gifts.

Example 2: Early December, you told me a knock knock joke. So I tried the banana/orange joke with you. As soon as you realized what I was trying, you gave yourself a huge facepalm…. “UGH…I haaatteeee that joke!!!” I laughed and told you of course you do, it’s one of those jokes that’s funnier to the person telling the joke.  You paused, and then asked me, “do you want me to tell YOU that joke so you know how *I* feel about it?”

Seriously.

You are quiet in new spaces and around new friends, but once you get to know them you prove to be a funny and attentive companion.

Your friendships have blossomed this year. Our next door neighbor, C, has started a band with you and big brother and to be completely honest, you guys are just THE BEST. Always coming up with new songs, always trying to harmonize, always TRYING. Your relationship with Aedan continues to be a joy to you. He is a great friend, and always teaching you something new.

At Taekwondo, everyone, EVERYONE dotes on you. Whereas Benjamin is the outgoing, funny kid… you’re the kind one. You’re the one that people seek out to be around. You have a calming presence… even though sometimes you also shake your first at me and say “I WILL DESTROY YOU!”

We’ve had to try to balance you being the “baby” of the family with the fact that we want you to grow up big, and strong, and responsible. We don’t always get it right – but for the most part you make it easy, because you are a pretty responsible little kid. The other day you mentioned that you needed to return a library book, and you knew exactly where you’d put it. Bravo! Even I tend to lose library books if I’m not careful!

Your reading and reading comprehension has EXPLODED since starting school. Your teacher, Mrs. K, is married to one of my police officers, so periodically I get to hear about how much fun you are in the classroom. I love when you help me read bedtime stories (even Lord of the Rings!)

It hasn’t all been roses and butterflies, this year. This year… especially the last half, was marked by the loss of several family members, including our dog Lucky.

In June, we said goodbye to the dog who was with us since long before you were a twinkle in my eye. It was so hard. You initially appeared mostly unaffected – not nearly as overtly emotional as your brother – but in quiet moments, you reflect on missing him, or you ask me questions. Although I had to chuckle – at one point, knowing Lucky was about to die, you asked me if people eat their pets. Apparently, in your mind, you were contemplating if that was a good idea or not. You were very pleased to hear that we do not eat dogs, or pets, and never will.

Coincidentally, you also learned this year that eggs are not human eggs, but chicken eggs. Thank goodness for that clarifier!

We also lost Great-Grandma Ables and my Uncle Rick.. almost back-to-back… towards the end of the year. We are still processing and healing from those losses. Even though you are young, you are keenly aware that death is not the end, and have faith (as I do!) that one day we will see them again.

You are always thinking. Always wondering. Always contemplating. There’s so much that goes on behind the scene of those happy, fierce eyes.

You are such a blessing. Not only to me, but to everyone that comes in contact with you. I share stories of you frequently… not just to brag, but because the world needs more people like you.

You’ve still got a lot of growing to do… but in the meantime… I hope you stay just a sweet, just as wonderful, just as much YOU as you can.

I love you my sweet, wonderful, loving Bouk’m!

Love,
Mommy