My dearest Miles,
It’s been one hundred months (and a couple of days, because this is my life) since my sweet baby boy was born. This is the one hundredth one of these memos I’ve written. I remember being so curious during your early weeks and months about the kind of person you’d become. Let me tell you, I had no idea you’d be the best sleeper in the house. Nowadays we have to pry you out of bed in the mornings, and when you sleep in on weekends, you often don’t get up until 9:30 or later. My little premie baby was up every couple of hours for a long time. Back then, I knew a lot less about babies than I do now, and I didn’t understand that it was perfectly normal. People kept asking how you were sleeping, and I felt like a failure because the answer was “not so great.” Actually the real answer should have been “exactly like a breastfed baby is supposed to sleep for optimum brain development,” but I didn’t know that then. I just knew that letting you cry, the couple of times we did it, felt so completely awful that we abandoned the plan.
It turned out okay. Even though you didn’t sleep through the night until you were two, you now sleep through all kinds of distractions. You can sleep through Tobin having a night terror, Callum screaming about his allergies or his growing molars, a thunderstorm, and probably an air raid, though I hope we don’t have to test that.
You are a really great big brother, especially to Callum. You love Tobin plenty too, but he’s old enough to get on your nerves, often on purpose. Little siblings are really good at knowing exactly what will drive their big siblings crazy, and Tobin is adept at that. You two have fun together, and you really are best friends, but there’s some frenemy tension going on as well. You’re focused, a perfectionist, and a lover of predictability. Tobin is none of those.
Callum, however, gets nothing but love from you. He can sit on you, pull your hair, tear your homework, and puke on your shoes, and you still are so sweet to him. The age difference between you helps, since you’re old enough to understand his mostly-innocent motivations, and he’s young enough to be very forgivable. He loves going to pick you up from school, and on weekend mornings, when you finally wake up, he thinks that joining you in the top bunk is about the coolest thing ever.
This month held a pretty fantastic event: the annual Lucas Elementary Team Spelling Bee. You competed last year and did well, but your ultimate dream was to be on the winning team. We worked hard studying the long, challenging word list. We drilled the tough words over and over, and you got really good at the whole “state the word, spell the word, restate the word” format. We talked about strategies for interacting with your teammates, about being a leader when you knew you were right, but being kind and helpful about it at the same time.
You and your teammates made it through the first round, then the second round, and finally it was down to two teams in the ultimate spell-off. I smiled when I heard two of the words on which we’d worked particularly hard: giraffe and exercise. The spell-off was written, so we didn’t know how you and the other finalist team did until the judges evaluated your work.
The judges announced the winners: Team H. I don’t know if you didn’t remember that you were team H or if it just took a moment to sink in, but you sat expressionless for a bit. Then it hit you. I can’t remember a time when you were happier. You shrieked, you jumped, you pumped the air. You congratulated your teammates and shared in their joy. You worked hard and you earned your victory.
I hope I wasn’t too obnoxious in the audience. As a fellow spelling nerd, I was pretty thrilled for you. You were so excited you almost forgot to have a cookie afterward. I don’t know if your name is engraved on the school plaque yet, but you’re very proud that you’ll be immortalized on your school walls. I hope Lucas is still around in twenty years or more and you can take your own kids to see it.
You only have a couple more weeks of school before summer break begins. You’re signed up for a few classes and you’ll have some relaxing time too. We’re starting to work on our list of summer wish-list activities. So far most of yours are food related. You want to go to Hu Hot Mongolian Grill, Flavor Ice, Panda Express, and McDonald’s. We’re also looking forward to pool and splash pad time, some sprinkler use in the back yard, and maybe a long weekend in St. Louis. We’re still working on sorting out the details on that one.
Do you think I’ll still be writing your memos in another 100 months, Miles? Will you find it embarrassing when you’re sixteen and ask me to stop? Will I listen to you or ignore your protests? Can you really be half way to sixteen?
Let’s give it another hundred months and find out.
I love you one hundred months, one hundred lifetimes, one hundred percent.