My dear Rylan,
I cannot believe that you are already five years old! It seems like yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. When you were born I experienced pure joy. I used to joke with family and friends that I must have been injected with a happy juice because it was like I was on a high for the first six (eighteen?) months of your life. Maybe this was because when you were born, I finally understood what I had been born to be – your mama, yours and Damian’s.
You have had quite an eventful first five years, and you have weathered all your challenges with an enthusiasm and grace well beyond your years. You have travelled to distant places – Italy, Swaziland, South Africa, England, the United States (many times), and throughout Israel; you lived through a war in Israel; said goodbye to your birthplace and the only home you’d known, as well as the friends you had grown up with since birth, to a new country where we spent 7 months in “transition” at Grandma and Pa’s. We finally settled in Hawaii, far, far away from the grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins you had so hoped to be near to. And you have embraced this unknown place, with no family and friends, and made it home, and sought out friendships in your social and friendly way.
In the midst of all these changes you welcomed a new brother into your life, and did so with a wide open and loving embrace. While I was pregnant, every night at bedtime you would ask if you could say a prayer for Damian, and you would, right next to my belly, “so he can hear me, Mommy”, and to this day you singing that prayer is one of the best ways to calm Damian down when he gets really upset. Before Damian was born we wondered whether you would have a hard time having a little brother who always wanted to play with your toys…but this has never been an issue, because as soon as Damian was born, everything became “ours”. Even though Damian is still sleeping next to mama, you call your room “our room” because Damian will eventually be moving in with you. And in turn for all the love and generosity you have shown your brother, he adores you and everything that you do. Damian’s favourite way to start every morning is to climb up next to you on the couch and cuddle up to you.
Although I often wish I could turn back the clock just for long enough to kiss those round cheeks, tickle those rolls of chub you called thighs, and smell that sweet breastfed baby smell…I am so proud of who you have become and love spending my days with you. You are such a bright, well spoken, interested, sensitive, and polite young man (and, yes, also talkative to the extreme, with a tendency towards the dramatic, and with energy pouring out of every fiber of your being!). At five you can read and write, swim, name every dinosaur that ever existed, are teaching me facts about animals that I never knew, can recite prayers beautifully, and was the only person who jumped to help an injured teammate in soccer (and sat with him until he felt better). No mom could ask for more!
Happy birthday, my sweetie!
With all my love,
Some pictures of our birthday picnic today.