This afternoon I was lying in bed with your sister, listening to the soft swishing sound of her breath while she slept. She was snuggled into the crook of my arm, her bare cheek against the squishy part of my shoulder, snug like a bird in a nest.
My thoughts flitted back to a time when you fit into this little nest. I still remember your downy soft blonde (ish) hair, your plump cheeks, your perfect little lips and nose. While I was lying there with her, thinking of you, I felt a little sad.
Pretty soon, in less than two months in fact, you will be 12. Twelve! T W E L V E. I am not sure how and when, exactly, that happened. I blinked and suddenly you were half an inch from five feet tall and your hair was brown. I imagine with dread a time when your wings will fully sprout and you'll jump from this nest. The loneliness of your growing up is already tangible even though it is (hopefully) still far away.
This tinge of sadness is nothing in the face of the joy you bring me each and every single day. I only have to think of you to feel better about things. Despite your new and alarming teenage tendencies, you are still the same sweet and brilliant star that entered my life 12 summers ago. I wouldn't call it good parenting, but instead quite a lot of mistakes with love to cover them up.
I hope many things for you, looking forward. I hope you'll grow into a wise, strong and kind man. I hope someday you will look back on childhood and think "I was happy, my parents loved me, I was lucky." I hope you'll remember these days with rose colored nostalgia and only a smattering of woe. I hope you'll know, always, how much better you made my life; and I hope as you dabble your toes into the tweens you'll carry your innocence and gentleness with you.
Most of all, I hope you'll always know I love you.