We asked Leo what he wanted to do on his birthday (yesterday) and he replied: "Stay home." It's Leo's favorite place to be, among his people and his things. We pull up to the driveway every night and he says "I love my house."
Leo, you have grown up so much in the last year. You read and write paragraphs. You welcome haircuts and doctor visits (gone are the days of your hyperventilating fear of both). You've performed at a poetry slam and been part of a wax museum. And you're about to embark on a very exciting new school year, not to mention, third grade! How did that happen?
If I have any complaints about or challenges with you, it's that you know what you want to do and don't like to be told to stop doing it (hmm...sounds like...most eight year old boys?). Case in point: sometimes you love too much.
Especially these two. You simply cannot get enough of them.
It's comical to think there was a time that I actually worried about you and the babies, that you'd be jealous of them or that I wouldn't be able to give you enough because I'd be busy with them. I haven't fully reconciled that second part. I still think there have been times in the last year that you needed me and I wasn't there because of the simple fact that I am now spectacularly outnumbered. But it is what it is and I think it's safe to say that the advantages to our little crew far outweigh the negatives.
OK yes, you were feeding Lucy scrambled eggs here as if she was a begging dog.
You have the biggest heart of anyone I know and you are almost ridiculously easy to please.
I spent a good three weeks stressing about a birthday cake for you this year (your request was a "Buzz cake.") Well...this was the result (and goodness gracious I did NOT make that if you were wondering--also don't bother sending it off to Cakewrecks, I already have.)
I think it's safe to say you'd have been just as happy if I'd presented you with blue cupcakes replete with one of your Buzz "guys" on top. You're all about the frosting, anyway. Hey, you know what's good.
Waiting for "Pizza from the Man."
Yesterday afternoon you and I stole a minute where it was just us: we sat and watched the summer Olympics, just as I did the summer you were born--2004. As you stretched your tall, sturdy, lanky, eight year body over me, I marveled at how it was just a few summers ago that I held you, a little, floppy, terrifying (to me) baby. There were a lot of tears shed the day you were born Leo, and in the days after. Now? My tears in relation to you come from pride (I've yet to make it through an IEP meeting without tearing up, even when it's good news and if a teacher starts complimenting you? Forget it: I'm a puddle) and oh yes, laughter. You make me laugh like no one else I know. There is something about your birthday that always "gets" me in a way that the others' don't, maybe because your entrance into the world was so fraught, and it makes me realize just how far you (and I) have come.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, a thousand times or more: I wish I'd known then, what I know now, what a fabulous little boy you'd grow into, a boy who is fascinated by planets and the solar system. A boy who loves reading and drawing and constructing complicated Lego/train table structures, who loves his family more than anything (well, right now Buzz Lightyear is a close second, I think).
When you came downstairs yesterday morning, Erin and I greeted you with choruses of "Happy Birthday Leo!" and you jumped into our arms. "You're my hero," you said to Erin, and then to me. And we both received one of your trademark hugs (they are requested all over town, at the pharmacy, the dentist, the grocery store, much to my chagrin).
No Leo, you're mine. Happy, happy birthday, my dear, sweet, first boy.