So it is. Though I have no idea how that is possible. Time is funny like that and seems to be getting funnier with each passing year.
Usually these letters flow. I know what I want to say and the words appear on the page as my fingers sweep across the keyboard. This time? This age? This letter? I have no idea how to put into words everything you’ve done, everything you’ve become.
Brave. Boisterous. Helpful. Honest. Curious. Caring. Silly. Sarcastic. Empathetic. Earnest. Adventurous. Active. All the things…
I have stories and memories that go with each of those words and thousands more.
When I stop to think of how far you’ve come, I’m not only proud of who you are but I’m in awe of all you’ve accomplished: the adventures you’ve had, the projects you’ve willingly tackled, the personality you’ve honed, and on and on.
How? How have you done so much?
Oh yeah. It’s been ten years. Ten trips around the sun. Ten may not be the biggest number but it sure can feel big at times. And for me, this year, this moment, it feels huge.
Happy Birthday, my Little Prince. I hope you have a fantastic day and year ahead.
This isn’t goodbye. Not really. I’ve tried that before and somehow or other I end up back here. I just don’t have the creative spark right now. I had hoped that forcing myself to publish something once a week all last year would help me be excited about writing again, have it be less of struggle to get that Wednesday post out there… and some months it worked, but most months I had to force myself to publish something I wasn’t always happy with just to meet the deadline.
So, I’m giving myself a break.
If I follow you I will still read your posts and comment and support your writing as I have always tried to do. The desire to read your words has never faded. You are all amazing.
And now that I’ve written this I will likely pop up once a week anyway just to prove myself wrong.
It’s funny the things that have hit me hardest since you passed away: boxes where your food dish should be, seeing your sister wander the house as if she’s looking for you, the special food we bought for you that we no longer need, not seeing you waiting at the door when we get home from an errand… I didn’t expect those to hurt as much as they have. Not having you jump into my lap while I’m resting on the couch at night? Yeah, that pain I did expect. The tears while typing this? Yeah, I expected that too.
But this letter isn’t about the pain of your death. It isn’t supposed to be anyway. It’s supposed to be about love and gratitude. So, let’s start over a bit.
Sara, thank you for all the snuggles and head bumps. Thank you for the moments of pure joy as you zoomed around the house chasing toys as a kitten, as you yelled at the birds in the garden, as you adventured onto the patio in search of that perfect ray of sunshine. Thank you for every moment of happiness you brought the Queen and I for the thirteen years you were with us.
We fought for you as hard as we could in these last couple months and we’re so very sorry it wasn’t enough. We know you were fighting too.
We will watch over your sister. You can be sure she’ll be getting extra pets now from all of us. You can be certain we will cherish every moment we have with her as we cherished every moment we had with you. She is going to miss you too. How could she not. You were her constant companion for the last 13 years too.
We loved you and we know you loved us fiercely too.
I think of all the moments with you, the one that will forever stand out the clearest in my mind, is when the Queen was giving birth to the Little Prince. You were by her side through the whole thing, refusing to budge, undaunted by the strangers in the house, undaunted by the noise and commotion. She was your human and you were not going to leave her side no matter what. You were such a sweet cat. You loved your human and she loved you.
You will be missed, little girl. Your cries, your cuddles, your purrs, your happy run to the food dish at meal times. Your snuggles on the couch in the rare moments these days when we actually got to sit down. Your presence at our feet at night when the kingdom would finally settle down and sleep. Your talkative nature, always letting us know where you were and when something wasn’t right. Your cleverness, sneakiness, determination to steal food from your sister when we had our backs turned. You never really came to terms with the diet we had to put you on five years ago even though that diet likely is what gave us those five good years with you… This list could go on and on. For 13 years you were part of our family.
I don’t really know how to end this. Death is something I struggle with. I guess that’s good, right? It would a bit concerning if I didn’t struggle with it.
I haven’t written to you here in a while. It seems fitting to break that silence today, though.
I won’t keep you for long, I know how busy you are. You have a kingdom to run. And what a fine kingdom it is. I help in my way, of course, but I’m just a jester. There’s only so much I can do. We both know the amazingness of the kingdom comes down to your own amazingness. You are devoted and selfless, creative and driven, and you work, work, work to constantly improve us, both the kingdom and its inhabitants. You care in a way I can only strive for. Your passion is unparalleled.
Your passion is one of the things that drew me to you all other years ago. Your passion for all things, for living this life to its fullest, for adventures. That passion has transferred to your family now. We aren’t the same kids we were when we met but the passion remains.
I’m not entirely sure where I was headed with this letter, except to say that you are seen. Your tireless work is seen. Your love is seen. You are seen.
I hope we do enough to show you how wonderful you are.
So this is six? And how is that possible? How are you six already? Time is surely playing some trick on the Queen and I… Surely that’s the only explanation. I would shake my fist at time but, alas, the moment has already passed.
Six. What a great age. You have such a fun year ahead of you. Finishing up kindergarten. Starting first grade. And? What else are you going to start this coming year? What adventures will you go on? It’s a mystery for now. Soon to be solved.
And we say goodbye to five. The year you became a lego master like your big brother. You really took to your swim lessons over the summer and are turning into a fish, also like your big brother. You got back into bike riding. You leaped ahead in math. You got into the Worlde and Quordle craze. And, and, and. And it was another year absolutely full of adventures. Too many to recount. Too many to remember, actually. It was a blur.
I know we had our struggles, too, of course. Five was a tough age. We got through them, as we do, as we always will. I’m sorry for the times I yelled when I could have found a gentler way to parent. I’m sorry for the times I couldn’t understand your needs faster. I’m happy to report that the days ahead will get easier. Just like you, I’m constantly learning. With each new day I’m better understanding how to be the best dad for you that I can be.
And so, I’m excited for six. I think it’s going to be a great year.