On being six

Dear Little Prince,

Though you aren’t so little anymore, are you?  With six years behind you.  With most of Kindergarten behind you.  With all of the adventures you’ve had in the last year.  Piano lessons.  Archery lessons.  Snowboarding in Mammoth.  Snowboarding in Colorado.  Growing into the role of big brother, champion of and for the Littler Prince.  I don’t have the right words to tell you how proud I am of you, but that won’t stop me from trying.

I catch glimpses of the person you are becoming and have no doubt that you will change the world.  You are fiercely passionate and, while that can get you in trouble from time to time, that drive will see you take control of your environment and shape it into what it should be.  You are a leader and will have the charisma to inspire.  You still ask thousands of questions a day, and that curiosity about the world, that drive to understand, will also work for you.  It already is as you grasp new concepts and better yourself, gain knowledge.  You happily tackle new projects.  You want to over-achieve not because you want to be better than anyone else but because you genuinely are interested in things beyond what society has deemed appropriate for your age.  Your passion and your inquisitiveness will help you succeed in whatever you choose to with your life.

You love your brother and want to see him succeed as well.  That too can get you in trouble when you try to be a parent to him but the two of you will figure that out over the coming years and will be friends for life.  That friendship will be more valuable than you know.  You are putting in the hard work now to build that relationship when he is too young to understand more than it is fun to drive you crazy.  Stick with it and he will support you in everything you ever do.  As a younger brother myself, I know this to be true.

We have our rough moments, of course.  You still have so much to learn about being a part of this family and being a part of this world.  Every single day, though, you surprise me with how much you’ve already learned and sometimes that makes me forget how much you still need to learn.  I do my best to be patient and to give you the space and time you need to figure things out and I’m sorry that I sometimes fail you.  We’ll get there eventually.  We’ll figure this thing out together.  I have no doubts about that.  We are both too stubborn not to.

So, I’ll continue doing everything I can to help you become the best person you can be and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year brings for you.  New adventures.  New knowledge.  New wisdom.  I think your sixth year will be even more amazing than your fifth.

Love you,

Dad/Matticus/The Jester

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

P.S.A.

She walked by the designated trash can for the area, taking the last drag from her cigarette, shuffling her feet slowly forward, loathe to get back to work.  Then she dropped the spent butt on the ground and smashed it with her heel, carefully lifting her long skirt to make sure it didn’t get marred by the mess she was spreading on the concrete.  Satisfied that her leavings wouldn’t start a fire, there on the pavement, she let her skirt fall back into place and carried on with her slow steps, lamenting how quickly she had gone through the cigarette and how long it would be before she could taste its sweet release again.  Those two hours would be agony.  They always were.

I watched this unfold as I got my morning round of steps in.  And then I zipped by, avoiding eye contact and the confrontation that was welling up inside of me.  Not my place.  Not worth it.  But… the trash can… the one specifically designed to collect spent butts was right there.  She had to walk by it and she chose not to deposit her trash there but to drop it on the ground instead.  What is that?  Laziness?  Routine?  And why did it bother me so much?

Though, I know the answer to that one.  He has grown out of it but the littler prince used to collect cigarette butts he found on the ground and bring them to me as treasure…

Smoke them if you’ve got them.  Seriously, go for it.  Light them up.  Take those drags.  Enjoy the feel of the smoke, the taste, the high.  Please, please stop throwing your trash on the ground.

On being five

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Little Prince,

 Now you are five…

 I think some of the earliest memories I have are from when I was five.  At least, that’s the way it seems.  And that shapes how I interact with you to some regard.  You are no longer a baby.  At times that means I am harder on you than you like and we have more disagreements than we used to.  I’m sorry about that.  I am.  I won’t change, though, and I can only hope that one day you will look back and be thankful for the hard stance I took on some of these things in my attempts to help guide you into becoming the good person I know you are capable of… just as I did eventually with my own parents.

 Not that it’s all rough.  Your dimpled smile flashes often and your wild laugh fills even the largest rooms.  You are boisterous and imaginative.  You are insightful and charming.  You can be tender and you dote on your brother, the Littler Prince, far more than I had hoped you would before his arrival.  You’ve stepped into that role happily, lovingly.  The Queen and I are grateful for that, even as you do occasionally encourage him to do things that will get you both in trouble.  I call shenanigans.  You both grin mischievously and laugh and laugh.

 Your understanding of the world beyond our home, beyond the Kingdom, is growing daily.  That makes me proud and sad at the same time.  You continue to be wicked smart, picking up new concepts and skills with ease, and questioning everything.  That means, however, that you are becoming exposed more frequently to the harder truths of being alive.  The world is beautiful but it is dangerous, too.  We find what we seek but sometimes there are unintended consequences even when our intentions are pure.  You are learning.  I have no doubt you’ll get there.

 So, I continue to be proud and excited that I get to help you grow and learn and achieve.  You have a busy year ahead.  Kindergarten and everything that comes with your first official year of “school.”  Your very own season pass for skiing or snowboarding, whichever it is you end up deciding on.  Or both, perhaps.  I can’t wait to have you on the mountain with us.  And other sports too, perhaps?  And another backpacking trip or two?  And more trips across the country?  And…

 We’ll have to see where our adventures take us.

 I’m honored to share them all with you.

 Love you,

 Dad / Matticus / The Jester

A(nother) first year in the life

Oh you rambunctious Littler Prince,

You are one. One! I can’t believe it. And yet, when people ask how long you’ve been walking I answer “forever” because that’s what it feels like. Then I’ll stop and think about it and realize it’s only been about two months. So… not forever. Time is funny like that. You’ll learn that one day. You have so much to learn. 

And you’ve already learned so much. 

You aren’t just walking. You. Are. Running. And climbing. And exploring. And, you’ll find this is important in the kingdom, adventuring.

And teething. Those one year molars are a pain for sure. They’ll be in soon, though, and you’ll be on to the next. Next teeth. Next struggle. Next triumph.

You are good at triumphs, with your squeals of glee when you get what you want and your happy grins and silly little dances. We’ve tried to capture as much of those moments as we can but when you outgrow them some will be lost. And that’s sad, but they will quickly be replaced by new shenanigans. And that is as it should be. 

I’m excited for you and the year ahead. The Queen, Little Prince,  and I will do all we can to make it a good one. 

Love you, 

Daddy 

Matticus 

The Jester