I think it is very indicative of this season in our lives that I log on to write Annie's 8th birthday letter on the early morning hours of August 3rd only to discover I never actually rolled out yours last FEBRUARY.
My bad, good sir.
You know, there are all those songs written about life passing quickly, or those well meaning Grandmas in Target looking at my shopping cart of kid chaos over the years and telling me "don't blink" (not to be taken at face value because --yikes-- how horrific would my eye sockets be right now) but it would seem that perhaps they- in fact- might be on to something there. Life is moving faster than it seems I can maintain pace with. Guess I better up my training, because this gal sure isn't dropping this sport yet... in it for the long race.
NGL-- this has been a really sweet year for us, Gabe.
You made every sport you went out for, knew the coaches, the team, your value and felt ready to lend your role (in whatever capacity) to grow your teammates to victory. I see you walk to the car on my days driving sports carpool and all these kids I don't know are slapping you on the back or yelling your name across the parking lot to say goodbye and that's not even my favorite part. As you are walking to the car, I notice the quieter kids, not in sports, the ones leaning against the wall still waiting for their ride long after school has ended, paying little to no attention to the loud athletes yelling across the parking lot, glance up from their phones, instruments or sketches... and calmly say "Hey Gabe" wait for you to kindly respond back with a "hey" - which you always do - and then return back to their work. It is not lost on me that you have this profound gift to see all people as they are and make them feel known. The absolute best part about it all though, is that you are totally unaware you even do it. You aren't gathering high fives, collecting people or campaigning some crowd... you aren't after some higher snap score or to be separated into the haves and have nots... you are just kind. Authentic. True.
You ground people in their space and make them feel like they belong. I see this play out in our family each and every day. Lucy is like a magnet that feeds off of your energy... Molly seeks you out for grounding when she is feeling most anxious ... Annie circles you like a little moon in orbit often giving way to your catastrophic gravitational pull and climbing you like a tree. Honestly, she would make a terrible moon and explode herself in like one days' rotation... but still.
To see you in a year where you are on top, 8th grade, comfortable... is such a beautiful space to see your gifts shine. I hope that even as all the new of this first year of high school come into view, you find ways to remember and cultivate this feeling in your new space, lean in to your gifts and know that the universe is infinitely more beautiful just with you in all our orbit...
Happy Birthday, Buddy. Love you so.