Seven?! How did that happen?! My little 7-11 baby. The day you were born we talked about all those lucky numbers. You were born on 11-11 and weighed 7#11oz and we lived at 1105...I think dad went out and bought a powerball with 7's and 11's on it...then he commented that he would take you to the casino someday with him. I actually think you want to be number 7 for hockey this year. I immediately asked you if you were going to change your hockey number every year you have a birthday and you went deep into thought and asked "what number was dad again when he played?" 20 bud...okay, I'll be 20 again. Yep, you want to me just like dad. You want to go with him every time he leaves for the shack, you want to skate like him someday, you want to eat your meat like him so you can be big and strong. You idolize him. I keep thinking my days are numbered every year you turn a new number, but you are and I believe will always be my big boy. You still come to me for snuggles, books, when you are hurt, when you just want a hug or to say you love me. Even though I feel like the one who is always barking at you to brush your teeth, flush the toilet, wash your hands, finish your homework, eat your breakfast and buckle up. I am not sure why those daily routines are such a surprise to you most days, but dude, I hope you figure it out soon.
This year mom agreed to throw you a kid party. I had one when I was 7. I remember it. I just cannot fathom a kid party every single year. This party solidified that theory too. No way! I have been dragging my feet for years about the big party. I mean we are just about 30 people with a family party, what more could you ask for. Well how about a Mario Kart party with 12 of your bestest friends? Sure why not! (If you just read that and thought I was nuts, you are correct). So I stayed up late making decorations, invitations, cleaning, putting together party bags, and planning games. At least I had enough sense to hire out the cake this year. Daddy was up a tree with a gun so it was just you and me to prepare. The party day came and we had a busy house for just over 2 hours. We played Mario Kart on the Wii, popped Mario balloons to gather Mario Coins, ate Mario cake, pinned the "stache" on the Mario, and had a Yoshi Egg race. That was all great fun for all involved. But more than once I found you sulking on the stairs or hiding behind the couch. I had no idea why? What is my center of attention child doing ditching out on his own party?! Two of the times I found you hiding you were in tears. When we talked about it, you were hurt that certain friends weren't letting you have turn at the Wii or somebody took your coins. I felt like I was in the Bernstein Bears Too Much Birthday book! It was just too much for you. You felt like you should have your way on your birthday, which is fine, but don't expect to get everything you ask for right now on your birthday, it doesn't work that way. You have to be a gracious friend, especially when they are hear for you and your birthday. It took him a bit to realize that and then he was fine. But it was a shock for me to see him like that. Just the other night I had him write out his 19 thank you cards and he said he wasn't going to have a kid party anymore, it was too much work!
We had the family party the day of your birthday. Simple. Cake and ice cream. Just you being the center of attention and visiting with your family. You loved it. When I asked you if you preferred one party over the other, you said, just family...it's quieter too mom! Yeah, I noticed too bud.
So Seven you are. You have physically grown this past year and emotionally. You are one of the taller kids in class, you may be the tallest on the ice too. You are figuring out your boundaries more and more every year in school. The last few have been trying that's for sure. But this year it clicked. At conferences this year, I finally left feeling pure relief...unlike the last 2 years I have left in tears and feeling frustrated. The part that I had always heard was "he knows when he's doing wrong" but it was like you couldn't stop yourself from crossing the line. You always had to put a whole foot over it, not even a toe. Mrs. Dowty said that she loves watching you try so hard to "stay green" and make mom and dad proud of you. You are smart too. You get your math and spelling down right away. You are doing things I am pretty sure I didn't learn until 3rd grade! You are reading and reading and reading. You don't always love to sit down and do it, but recently you like to read to Emmitt. He is finally willing to sit for a long-short book. We had been splitting you up for a while to do bedtime because it takes awhile to read one book, when he was used to mom or dad reading him many books. But he always comes back to sit and listen to you read. Your writing is coming along nicely. You rush and therefore sometimes it's sloppy. But I know that you would rather be outside playing or building something. You build anything. A fort, a beaver dam, a lego kit, a lion cage, the possibilities are endless. Your imagination is going to take you far. Many times I will come to the basement to find you and your brother hunkered down under a row of blankets, pillows, totes, chairs, anything you can pull out (and not want to clean up later) and I have to ask what kind of wild animal you are. It's usually something "exotic" like a heard of lions waiting for the antelope to come through the plains. Or a pack of mule deers or wolves. Emmitt still has you play the "family of animals." He is the baby or the mom and you are either the dad or the big brother. And then I will find 50 stuffed animals that are the other babies you share. Then in the next moment, I find the two of you hitting each other, scratching or taking some bat, club or stick after the other. Emmitt is typically the one who goes after you, always for "no reason" which we know is not true. But it's you who comes up crying or mad. But it's Emmitt who comes up tattling on what you did. For the most part mom and dad tell you to just "figure it out" together. Frankly because we have heard it all and don't want to listen to it anymore. But then we find you back together on the couch, your arm draped around your little brother's, him leaning against you. And we sigh and do it all over again the next day.