My boy it's your 5th Birthday....here is what I want you to know.
My sweet boy, it’s your 5th Birthday, and there are a few things I want you to know.
First of all, how has it been five years already? I remember the day of your birth like it was yesterday, and now you are 5. This is a pretty important reminder of how quickly things go by and how we must always appreciate the time we have and embrace every moment of it.
Your Dad often jokes that you are my favorite. I am sorry to break it to you, my boy, but mommy doesn’t have favorites. However, your birth had a very special tone different from meeting your sisters. This isn’t because you are my favourite; your birth represented renewed hope and proof that even when we think things will never be possible for us, we have no idea.
When I met your big sisters, I was convinced they had fallen into my life because I was never meant to have biological kids. I wholeheartedly believed this, and I was at peace with it at that time. I had lost hope of ever having biological children; I accepted the words of several doctors, and because of that, meeting your Dad and your big sisters was a pretty special gift.
By the time your little sister came, I was already completely blown away by the power of hope, and she was more proof of what the Universe will do for you if you trust the process and keep holding on.
I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant with you that I would have a baby boy. I don’t know why; I just felt it. Mommy has learned that when I have those feelings, I need to believe them because they are always right. ALWAYS.
There is a downside to that, though. It has been many years of distinguishing between gut feelings and unnecessary anxiety. I am getting far better at this, but it will always be a work in progress.
I want to share something with you on this 5th Birthday of yours. My boy, life can be disappointing, terrifying, confusing, unfair, and sometimes exhausting. I am not saying this to scare you but as a prelude to sharing what you have taught me thus far in your five years of life.
You, my boy, have experienced all kinds of disappointment and struggle already, and how you handle it every single time is truly beautiful to watch.
One example of this is your birthdays. I don’t know what it is about your Birthday, but boy, some hard times have directly fallen on your day.
On your second Birthday, our sweet Kota was wrapped up in that blanket near the fire pit for the entire day as we played and celebrated around her. Little did we know, she was in the process of leaving us due to her fall down the stairs the night before. I was in the middle of writing your birthday note that year when I heard her fall.
She died the day after your Birthday.
Your fourth Birthday was spent in Medicine Hat as your Grandpa Percy was not well. We had to cancel your birthday party that you were so excited about so we could head home and be with the family. You spent the day of your 4th Birthday not at your party but at your cousin’s birthday party.
I know you won’t remember this when you were able to read this letter, but the look on your face when you saw all those gifts was pure joy. It broke my heart when you asked me if they were all for you, and I had to tell you none of them were. But you just shrugged it off and had a fun day.
You didn’t fuss or say it wasn’t fair; you just went about the day. Mommy, Daddy, and even your big sisters were so proud of you; you have no idea. Auntie Heather and Uncle Tyler were, too, so they planned a very last-minute celebration for you the next day, and you deserved it more than you will ever understand.
This year, your 5th Birthday, you were excited to play with horses and have the best Birthday ever. We were supposed to go to a ranch hosting an RCMP appreciation event. They had loads of things set up for kids, which would be how we spent our day celebrating you.
Unfortunately, Austyn took a roll of hockey tape to the eye in her ringette change room, and once again, our plans had to be changed. Mommy was so upset, not at Austyn, of course, because the poor girl was in rough shape, but because I just wanted it to be the best day for you, especially because of the previous year.
But honey, it didn’t faze you. You understood entirely that we shouldn’t go because Austyn was hurt, and you kept saying when she got home from the hospital, all you wanted to do was snuggle her. I don’t know if you did that, but you sure wanted to.
Once again, you said you had the best day ever, as you always do, even though we did nothing.
But here’s the thing, my sweet boy, to you, it was everything, and mommy is trying to remember to try and see the world through your beautiful 5-year-old eyes because you see things the way we all should.
You see things with this perspective that we lose as we get older. As we start to have unrealistic expectations. You know, the ones where you think things should always work out. You always hope they will, but you adjust faster than anyone I know when they don’t.
This has been a big month for you. You started kindergarten and hockey.
Here’s what I know about those things and how you show up for them. You may not fit into these neat and tidy little molds that kids are expected to fit in at this age, but my boy, you are one hell of a shining light. You might not be able to show your teacher that you can hold your pencil correctly (which I still don’t understand because your sister has video proof that you do it just fine), but you can sure draw a pretty awesome pigeon and portrait of Terry Fox when you feel like it.
You may not be the best skater on the ice, and you have much to learn, but you keep wanting to go, and each time you’ve improved. Mommy sees you out there, honey, and I have no doubt you are completely exhausted by the end. Learning to skate is no easy feat, and each time you fall, I see how hard you push yourself to get back up, even though you are completely out of energy.
You have amazed me so much this month, my boy. Your bravery to be the underdog and your willingness to show up anyway are admirable and, quite frankly, a joy to watch. I hope you can always have the courage to show up, even when it’s hard, because this is when the magic happens. Perseverance pays off, my sweet boy. Please believe me when I say that. It’s okay to make mistakes and have setbacks; it’s a part of learning, and often, these ‘mistakes’ and ‘setbacks’ are just re-directing us to something better than we have imagined.
Tomorrow, Mommy writes the first of two exams this week. These exams are the last piece I need to get my registration as a provisional psychologist. Honey, this has been a long time coming. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t exhausted. I am my sweet boy. So is your Dad.
This past year has been one of the most challenging years for your Dad and me. Our first year of marriage has been quite the test. Don’t worry; we are okay, and none of this will come between your Dad and me, but it’s been a tough year.
There are things we want in this life, but they come with sacrifices. They come with big decisions that can be challenging. One thing we know for sure is we will not settle for something less than what we know we deserve. Mommy wants what’s at the end of this path so badly for me and our entire family.
Even though I have struggled with a bit of an identity crisis since leaving policing, maybe more than a bit, I know that I have always been meant to be on this path. Every time your Dad and I feel like we have nothing left and maybe we should devise a different plan, something happens, and the stars align.
This is because we have always kept our eye on the bigger picture and have yet to allow the hard times to take over and hijack our dreams. We have yet to give up hope.
This has required both of us to swallow our pride at times, and we have had to ask for help, and this hasn’t been easy for us. There is no shame in asking for help when needed, but boy, can it be a hit on your ego. But here’s the thing. That’s okay, my boy; take the hit on your ego because those hits will bring you closer to what you want.
Your soul is guiding you toward your dreams, but your ego will sometimes interfere in ways that can be taxing. Your ego fears failure and anything that will tarnish your self-image, but your soul sees failure as growth and an opportunity for better things. Your soul doesn’t care what others think; it is only concerned with YOU reaching your full potential.
Your ego will compare and compete with others in a way that will sabotage you and hold you back. Your ego will tell you others have more, and you will never amount to anything, but your soul will help lift you up to achieve anything you want and show you that whatever you desire can be yours if you keep going and believe in yourself.
Your ego will try to control everything, but your soul will help you understand that sometimes you need to be willing to let go and trust the process. This is something your mommy has to remember regularly. I know it’s true, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
Your ego will be completely attached to outcomes, while your soul will allow for flexibility and welcome alternative paths if it means something better will come of it. Even if not right away.
Your ego, while important, is not always helpful.
The sooner you can distinguish between things feeding your ego and those feeding your soul, the more successful you will be. This self-awareness is critical, my sweet boy and mommy will do everything she can to teach you this along the way. It has been a long learning process for me, but I am finally starting to get it.
Leaving policing, although for very important reasons, was tough on my self-esteem, but the way my soul has been fueled since then has been worth every one of those hits to my ego.
You may not be the best student in school, and perhaps you might not be the best hockey player; who knows, maybe you will be, but that is not what mommy cares about. All I am concerned about is that you are comfortable with who you are, even when faced with external factors making you feel you shouldn’t be. That is making your ego feel less than.
You may not be perfect, my boy, but you are perfectly imperfect, and I will spend every day of my life making sure you know that and helping you connect with your inner soul and higher self. Mommy knows that some days are more complicated than others, and sometimes you will be a hot mess. That’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day, and as long as I can be by your side, I will remind you of the unique qualities that make you YOU, and I will help you work through the external and societal pressures that may try to strip you down. I’ve got your back, my sweet boy, and don’t you ever forget it.
I want to leave you with this. As a teenager, I was lucky to go to Europe with my school band. We were blessed with the opportunity to visit the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. I was thinking about this the other day while driving home from work. In my head, I asked myself, how can I possibly expect people to believe there can be better days when all they know is pain and horror? How can we as professionals sit with people who have never had a healthy or loving relationship, not even as a child, and expect them to find it within themselves to trust that it’s possible?
These are the everyday experiences of people out there, my boy. You have been blessed with a family with the ‘capacity’ to love and care for you, but not everyone has this.
While I visited this camp, I remember reading the letters that were now beautifully displayed in the museum cabinets. If I recall correctly, I remember reading ones from young kids, specifically one from a fifteen-year-old. The details might be different, but that doesn’t matter. These were letters written by people in this camp, and I can’t even describe what we saw there and how horrific it must have been for these people. But my boy, these letters were filled with inner strength. Filled with words of belief and hope that there were better days to come.
I have no idea how these people found it inside themselves to believe that there could be better days with all they were going through; how is this possible?
I have learned that hope is powerful, my sweet boy. In my field, if we recognize someone has lost all hope, this is where things become dangerous. Hope is the difference between ending everything and finding enough courage to keep going. You don’t need a lot of hope; just a little will suffice, but there must be some to keep going.
Many of those people who wrote those letters probably died, but many of them lived, and there are countless books I have read written by several of those survivors, and they all reference hope.
So, my sweet boy, on this 5th Birthday of yours, know this. Life will be challenging sometimes, but your power is your ability to adjust, trust the process, and hold on to hope. You have already done that so many times in your short life.
You are a force to be reckoned with and the epitome of what happens when a person holds on to hope. Mommy almost lost it on many occasions, but I was always able to gather enough to keep me going, and it has paid off in ways I never thought possible.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. You will always be enough, and no matter how imperfect you are, you will be worthy of everything you want in this life and then some.
I love you, honey,