My sweet Tobin,
You’re officially five-and-a-half now, and you’re brimming with all the spunk and adventure that’s been stewing in you all along. We’ve had some unseasonably warm days, and you’ve been using them to great advantage. I can hardly keep you inside. All you want to do is play in the creek, run around in the yard, pump on the swings, and shoot hoops.
You are a fun and friendly guy, and I admire your ability to make friends where ever you go. We were at an event at Miles’s school a couple of weeks ago, and you dived right in and played with all the kids. At the end, I came up to tell you it was time to go, and you were in the middle of scheduling a play date with a new friend you’d made. Today when I picked you up from school, I didn’t see your good buddy Chase. I asked if he wasn’t at school today, and you said he wasn’t, nor was your other good friend Scarlett. You just shrugged and rattled off the names of a few other friends you played with. As a mother who has trouble in social situations sometimes, it is such a relief to me that you do so well with other kids. Miles had a play date yesterday, and at one point she wanted to play outside, but he thought it was too cold. You pulled on your coat and headed out with her. Of all the things I have to worry about in this world (they abound), you having friends is not among them.
Your basketball season has been a lot of fun, and you were especially happy to have Mubby and Skittergramps attend a game this week. You played so well—you hustled in your typically high-energy way, you defended, you assisted, and you even made a basket. Your team has gotten a lot better, and I know your dad is really proud to be your coach. I wish I’d been able to watch more, but keeping Callum from running onto the court is a lot of work. I saw more than I got to the other time I attended your game, because Mubby took Callum part of the time. I definitely saw your sweaty curls and red cheeks flushed with exhaustion and happiness.
The recent warm weather has given us all a boost, though it’s tinged with the despairing fact that it may well be a product of climate change. Every day it seems like there’s more disheartening news both from our state and national capitals. As a pretty privileged family, it’s easy to feel insulated from the blows that many of our neighbors and fellow Americans are feeling, but one of these days it will be us. I don’t know if it will be due to cuts to the public education system, threats to our natural resources, or just the deepening gloom that comes from reading scary news day after day. It’s taken a toll on me, I know. I’m sure I’ve been crabbier than usual, and part of that is the usual gloom that comes with winter. We’re heading to Nashville in a couple of weeks, and a trip is always a good pick-Mom-up. You’re excited to listen to audiobooks in the car and play baseball and basketball with your cousin. I’m excited to shop at Publix. I love Publix.
I also love you, more than Publix, even. I was thinking recently about crying out of joy, which is kind of a funny thing to do, but I do it at pretty much every wedding I attend. That’s usually just a watery eye and sniffle kind of thing, but I absolutely remember a time about six years ago when I sobbed for joy. I was pregnant with you, and without getting too graphic here, I had reason to fear that I might be having a miscarriage. We went to the hospital, and the medical staff hooked me up to the ultrasound machine. I had steeled myself for bad news, trying to be stoic and accepting. The blurry picture came onto the monitor. I have a great respect for ultrasound technicians, because I have no idea how they can make any sense out of those blobs. But even I could tell that the fluttering little pulse on that screen was a heartbeat, and it meant that you were okay. That moment was the purest sob-for-joy I’ve ever felt.
Medical situations are often vulnerable ones for the patient, and I’m a person who works hard to keep calm and preserve her dignity. At that moment, I didn’t worry about my dignity at all. It’s a good thing they stock those rooms with Kleenexes. I would have gotten tears and snot all over your dad’s shirt, otherwise.
You are my heartbeat, my little Tobin: a burst of sunshine and warmth unrelated to fossil fuel abuse. Let’s jump into spring together.