Thursday, March 29, 2018


Dear Quinn-Love,

Earlier this month, you turned seven, and somehow for the first time, it wasn't bittersweet for me to see another milestone pass. When you woke up and gleefully announced, "I'm seven!" I celebrated along with you and happily made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Finally, I no longer wonder if this might be my last birthday with you. The fear of cancer isn't as ever-present as it was for so long, though dammit if I don't have to be terrified of gun violence while you're at school now.

I asked if you’d miss being six and you said, “No,” but then quickly added, “well, maybe a little because it’s the year I became a brother.” Our lives got flipped upside down AGAIN this last year, but you couldn't have been happier to learn you'd be getting a sibling. "This is the best gift EVER!" you exclaimed when we told you over pink cupcakes. And because it's you, you actually meant the baby growing inside of me, though you were excited about the cupcakes, too. 

Watching you become a big brother has filled my heart more than I ever thought possible. You ask at least three times a day to hold your sister, and you play games like "I spy" with her in the car, making up what she might be spying based on what you've learned about how far she might be able to see.

“I’m proud of you,” I reminded you the other night.

“But I’m even more proud of you,” you said, and then added: “Even though you don’t do anything, really.”

Oh, child. I want to rage against that statement but I am too exhausted. And also it makes me laugh. I hope someday you know I've done everything I can to make your childhood as well-adjusted as possible, despite getting off to a rocky and terrifying start.

“Let’s be penguins,” you said to me as I laid down next to you a few weeks ago. “What?” I smiled. “They snuggle to keep each other warm,” you explained. And so we snuggled because it was an unusually cool winter in Phoenix and because I will always love lying down next to you listening to your thoughts, listening to you breathe. I am as reluctant to give that up as you are to give up your iPad when you're watching the Best All Time Football Plays on kids' YouTube.

It seems as if you are either watching (or playing) sports or reading all the time now. It's March, and you've embraced everything about basketball finals, calling out favored teams and star players like you've followed these games for years. I swear, you could have a career as a sports announcer right now. The other day, you asked, "Mom, what does a person do if they don't get drafted by the NFL?"

"Whatever else they want, buddy. You could be a scientist, a teacher, an artist..." I started to explain.

"Well, I guess I better get drafted because I have no idea what else I'd want to do!" you replied.

"Honey, you're seven. You have a long time to figure it out," I tried.

"I just hope I get drafted by a team I like," you continued.

"Me, too, kiddo," I conceded.

We read a bit together at night — right now, A Wrinkle in Time or the Captain Underpants series. You're devouring these chapter books, and I love seeing you get lost in these fictional worlds.

As I remind you it's lights out at night, I tell you I love you more than anything.

“I love you even more than that,” you respond.

“I don’t think that’s possible,” I say.

“But it is...” you chime.

And if it seems like this is all too sappy to be true, that’s only because someone hasn’t met you yet. You are all heart, my sweet boy.

Don’t get me wrong, you’re also stubborn about trying new foods, clingy at bedtime, and slightly over-the-top pouty when you lose at a board game. But I still think you’re perfect.

To which I'm sure you'd say, "Nobody's perfect, mom."

I won't concede on this one.

I love you, Quinn-Bug. Happy (belated) seventh birthday!


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