on being nine

My dear Little Prince,

How?  How are you nine already?  That boggles my mind.  You’ve been part of our lives for going on a decade now… 

And what an adventure those years have been.  Travelling.  Learning.  Exploring. 

From figuring out all the wheeled objects, all of them, to snowboarding and surfing.  From your love of reading, often staying up later than me to just finish that one more chapter, to the speed with which you pick up new math topics.  And your love of art.  And your creativity and imagination. 

You wrote a book and gave it out as Christmas presents this past year.  At 8 years old.  I mean…  How very cool is that?

Plus, you’ve written and drawn how many comic books now?  The number keeps growing. 

This year you have just absolutely exploded with talent at all the things you attempt.  All while still being great with your two little brothers.  And getting your braces off.  And continuing to be good with your glasses.  And.  And.  And.

Really, you are a wonder.

Which just leaves me in constant awe and wondering…  What will you do next? 

I know, I know… I’m too hard on you at times.  I expect great things from you and I push you towards that, often forgetting that you are still so young.  You just act so much older than you are most of the time.  So, I’m sorry, as I tell you often, that I can be so demanding.  I’m working on it.  Just as you are working on growing and learning, and learning and growing, and here’s a little secret for you…  that never stops.  You will always be learning and growing, or you’ll be doing something wrong.

I’m not worried about that, though.  Your curiosity is insatiable.  You move from one topic to the next, following the answers of your initial questions down rabbit holes of information until you understand something, and then you move on to the next.

All these stepping stones on your way to changing the world.  You’re on your way, that’s for sure.  And you’ll get there in the end, of that I have no doubt.

Can’t wait to see what the next year brings, and then the decade after that.

Love you, kiddo.

Love,

Daddy / Matticus / The Jester

on being five

My dear Littler Prince,

How is it possible that you are already five?  It doesn’t seem like that could be.  How has it been five years already?

It’s funny, though, at the same time I also want to ask, how has it only been five years?  The way you keep up with your older brother, not just in games but in the way you talk and interact with everyone in your life, it seems like you are so much older sometimes.  How has it only been five years?  How are you doing all the things you are doing?

I can still picture you as a newborn, your hair red and wild, and that look that said, “Get ready world, I’m coming for you.”  The world wasn’t ready for you then and it still isn’t.  Your energy and your passion and your determination and your curiosity are going to take you far.  That’s indisputable.

It leads to clashes now and then, of course, when your strong will runs into your older brothers strong will, or mine, or the Queens.  That’s okay.  When that happens, we aren’t trying to keep you from following your passions, we’re just trying to manage the day or keep you safe, or other boring but essential adulating things.  And, the good news is that as you continue to grow and learn the clashes will get fewer and father between.

So, another year gone?  It wasn’t filled with as many big adventures as our years usually are.  Soon, we may start embarking on those again, but for now we contented ourselves with smaller adventures closer to home.  You took the training wheels off your bike this year.  You took an interest in words this year, asking how to spell things, creating words of your own, really playing with language.  You sat at your older brother’s elbow for most of his schooling too.  (That’s all the curiosity mentioned above coming in.)  There were hikes and local, but new to us, camping trips.  There were water balloon fights in the summer.  There were puddle stomping sessions.  There were Lego building marathons.  There was so much squeezed in that one year that it wouldn’t be possible to capture it all here.  I hope you’ve got some good memories that you’ll hang onto for years and years. 

I know I do. 

And, I know I’m curious what the year ahead has in store for you.  It’s going to be another busy one.  Every day an adventure in its own right.

And, no, the world still won’t be ready for you, but that’s okay.  You’re going to shape it how it needs to be anyway.

Can’t wait.

Love you.

Love,

Daddy/Matticus/The Jester

On Being One, Third Time’s The Charm

My dear Littlest Prince,

You’re One!  One year old.  One full trip around the sun.  And what an amazing year it has been!

You’ve learned to sit up and crawl and walk.  And jibber jabber.  Oh man have you learned how to jibber jabber.

The Queen and I aren’t entirely sure how we wound up with three boys who never ever ever stop talking.  But, here we are.  You probably picked up it up from your big brothers.  You never stop watching them.  Some of my favorite moments have been watching you watch your big brother while he in turn is watching his big brother.  All of you learning from the original prince.

Oh, what a marvelous adventure this thing called life is.  You are learning that already.  You go exploring and, yes, you accomplish a large amount of that by shoving stuff in your mouth: rocks, sticks, shoes, food occasionally, more rocks, sand, toys…  That’s all normal.  Well, maybe not the shoe thing, but I won’t judge.  Some people are into shoes.

You also love to pick up things and carry them around or throw them.  You grab what you want, toddle around for a minute and then chuck it.  Feet and ankles beware!  You’ve got quite the throwing arm already.  And often we have to go exploring to find where you’ve hidden things: mustard bottles in the cookie sheet cupboard, shoes in with the dried cranberries, toys under the oven.  Well, actually, the toys are kind of everywhere.  That isn’t all your doing though.  Three boys and two cats…  The toys are everywhere.

So it goes.  So it is.  Everything as it should be.

What a year.  All that screaming from when you were first born, so much louder than your brothers, so much more inconsolable than they ever were too, seems so distant already.  I haven’t forgotten.  I’m not sure I ever will.  But, the sharp edges have already worn off.  You still scream of course and, often, the loudest.  But, it isn’t as bad.  I’m sure that will continue to improve and one day we’ll look back and be able to sigh with a smile over the hard early days of your life.

In the meantime, you keep doing you.  Smile.  Laugh.  Cry.  Learn.  Grow.  Blow those kisses and wave to the passing cars.  Watch those big brothers and rush to keep up with them.  I’d tell you to slow down and take your time but I don’t really think that’s an option.  You already want to be where they are.  I can’t see that ever changing.  I hope it doesn’t.

I love you, my Littlest Prince!

Love,

Daddy

Matticus

The Jester

So this is 40

My dear Jester,

Yes, that’s me.  Yes, I’m writing a letter to myself.  I did that last year too.  I think.  I guess I could look it up but it really isn’t that important.  Anyway…

So, this is 40…?

*Looks around and nods.*

Okay.  This is 40.

Why shouldn’t it be?  You’ve had quite the adventure. 

Married.  Three kids.  Two cats.  Home owner. 

Six cities.  Ten jobs.  More roles than that.  More managers than that too as it turns out.

You’ve been to the top of more mountain passes than you can remember.  You’ve snowboarded on seven different mountains.  You’ve been to (at least) sixteen different states.  You’ve been to four different countries. 

You’ve been a DJ, a beach bum, a blogger.  You’ve been a raver, a husband, a father.  You’ve been a friend, a brother, a son.  You’ve been lost, mentally and physically.  You’ve been a part of four published books and you have words in at least that many still waiting to be published. 

You see?  Adventures a plenty.  Why, you could write a story for each of the sentences above.  The time you watched the sun rise over the mesas on a backpacking trip in New Mexico.  The time you were in whiteout conditions on the slopes in Colorado.  The time you thought you might like to try and become a professional beach volleyball player.  The time you watched your first son being born, your second son being born, your third son being born.  The time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The second time you looked down from the top of Whitney.  The day you brought your kitten rescues to their forever home.  The day you stood on the side of a mountain and vowed love and adventure to your Queen.  And on and on and on.

Adventures.  A.  Plenty.

So, why the letter at all?  Are you confused about the number?  Are you just bragging about all you’ve been able to accomplish so far?

*Looks around and shrugs shoudlers.*

You don’t know and that’s okay.

I’ll tell you this, my dear Jester, you better hang on tight because there is still so much to do, to see.  There is still so much to learn!  The next 40 years are going to be a whirlwind of adventures.  They won’t all be good, of course.  That’s the way it goes.  That’s as it should be.  But, there will be more good than you can imagine.  And, I know your brain.  I know you can imagine quite a lot. 

So, be patient.  You need to work on that.  Hug your kids.  Kiss your wife.  Pet your cats.  Take the trips.  Put in the hard work when it is needed.  Fix the sinks.  Take care of the house.  Go camping.  Go backpacking.  Go on bike rides and walks.  Go to the beach.  Watch the movies.  Listen to the all the music you possibly can.  Struggle.  Triumph.  Cry.  Smile.  Love every single second of it all as much as you can.

Because why not.

And let me know when the number ticks up one more.  I want to hear what stories you’ll have to share then.

Have a great year,

Matticus

And then he was two, too

My Dearest Littler Prince,

How are you two already?  Where has the time gone?  And why is that we constantly find ourselves asking unanswerable questions about the passage of time?  For, surely, while these days have been lived, and lived well, there is no accounting for where they have gone…

You have come into your role as little brother in these past few months.  You know how to get under your brother’s skin and you often do so just to watch his reaction.  You laugh at his antics and egg him on, much as he does to you.  You hold your own, that’s for sure.  You adore him, too, of course.  You immolate the way you see him playing.  You parrot words back to him.  You ask for him first thing in the morning and then follow him around.

There has been a word explosion recently.  Counting.  Colors.  Names.  Your pronunciation of things still has a ways to go but you have no qualms about calling things out and asking for what you want and need, even as the Queen and I struggle to decipher the toddler code.

Oh, toddlerhood.  The triumphant return of the toddlerocracy under the rule of a new tyrannical toddler…  This is also a role you are quickly adapting to.  Demands and tantrums and making sure your whims or at least heard if not always catered to.  You had a good teacher in this, of course.  The Little Prince ruled the toddlerocracy well.  You, having taken over the prime position, will also do well.  Perhaps it is wishful thinking on our part, the Queen and myself, the Jester, to hope that your rule is shorter than your brothers…

I am excited to see you grow.  I am excited to watch you learn.  I am excited to see what the future has in hold for you, you bruiser, you jumper and climber, you explorer of all the things.

We used to say (and still do) that your brother doesn’t have a quiet bone in his body.  So far it seems that you don’t have a gentle bone in yours.  Not that you are mean and certainly not that you intend to be destructive.  You just are.  You are strong and boisterous and have no clear definition of personal space and that leads to bruises, mostly on the people around you.  You don’t need a splash zone so much as a bump zone.

You’ll get there.  You’ll get the hang of this life thing.  I have no doubt about that.  You are thriving and it is a joy to be along for the ride.

Love you,

Matticus, The Jester, Daddy