TEN. T-E-N. One-Zero - double digits. This is Big Boy Territory, and over the last year, I have seen him make that transition. He's happy to remind me that he now has
Danny continues to be the kid who is everyone's best friend. He gets invited to birthday parties of children he's only met once or twice, because he's that much fun and that nice. My three-year-old niece, Alyssa, offered to trade her new baby sister for Danny (since I don't have a baby, and she doesn't have a brother, this seemed fair to her) - suggesting we return the baby when she's two. My sister suggested we clone him, so we can have six Dannys - he countered that we should have five Dannys and one Alyssa, because she's pretty cute. While profoundly disinterested in my newborn niece (she doesn't do anything), he spent hours on end during our trip entertaining my sister's two other little girls, mostly by pretending to be some sort of marauding animal or another. He has endless patience with small children, a generous spirit, and a high tolerance for frustration - he will be a marvelous father one day.
He is, as always, a gifted athlete, and has begun to join me on my morning runs. He can easily keep up with me for a couple of miles - he could probably go longer, but at that point, he's ready to switch to his bike and ride with his younger siblings. He is utterly fearless - he went down this slide at WaterWorld. Twice. (Number of times Mama went down aforementioned slide: zero) His passion and his talent for art continue to amaze us all - mountain lions and other ferocious animals are the current favorite subject matter, and his technique and eye for color and composition is well beyond his years. He's a strong reader - his favorite books are mysteries and non-fiction about animals.
Danny has such a strong and steady presence - there are no words to explain what gift he is to this family. We recently marked five years together, and I can say without hesitation that he has shaped us all for the better. His calm and generous nature, his attention to the feelings and needs of others, his ability to forgive and be forgiven - I have learned more from this young man than I think I will ever be able to teach him. His courage and capacity to love have served as a model for me - I strive for what seems to come so naturally for him. He is an astonishing human being.
So, to my dear, strong, beautiful son, I see now how quickly my years of daily mothering - sharing your space and daily life - will pass by, and how soon you will be the strong, beautiful grown man you were meant to be. I am grateful for the time I have been given with you. I thought I would be dreading the arrival of your teenage years, but I see now how wonderful it will be to see you spread your wings and find your way in this world. There are not words to describe how proud I am of you.
All my love, forever and always,